Thursday, April 20, 2023

Spectacular Sydney: harbor, port, restaurants, bridge, Opera House

Sydney, Australia: sparkling in early evening, from a climb atop the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge.
It's fun to look for your cruise ship in the water far below.  We've sailed here twice aboard Celebrity.

School children, neatly dressed,
head for an outing in downtown
Sydney, with busy teachers to
control and safely direct them.


If you're cruising, book one that begins or ends     in Sydney and plan a few days to explore  

The bridge is an architectural
masterpiece, offering splendid
views of the city and harbor.


SYDNEY HAS IT ALL! This lively Australian city offers one of the world's most picturesque harbors, a thriving performing arts center in its Sydney Opera House, a bustling economy, restaurants for every taste and budget, accommodating and cheerful people, great hotels, a picture perfect beloved beach and construction everywhere. 
Sydney is a town on the move, but it retains the charm that has marked it since its founding on Jan. 26, 1788. That's when the first fleet of convicts and soldiers arrived, under the  
Gay pride is big in downtown Australia, where signs promote
Gay Pride month, coming in June of this year.

governorship of Arthur Phillip. A few relics and names on a map remain to pay homage to these intrepid city founders.
Sydney is capital city of New South Wales and one of Australia's largest cities.  It is known globally for its stunning harbor front Opera House with its distinctive sail-like design and its impressive Harbour Bridge (Brits and Aussies spell harbor with the "u" as they do with "colour.")
OUR CELEBRITY ship docked in massive Darling Harbor. We peered down on it from our perch on the bridge, enjoying the view of it and the smaller Circular Quay port, hubs of Sydney's important waterside life. We love climbing the arched Harbor Bridge and visiting Royal Botanic Garden nearby. Take a pleasant walk through the pretty, bustling streets. 
If you want a higher view than the bridge affords, Sydney Tower’s 
The Sydney Tower indeed "towers" as Sydney's
tallest building and a frequently visited landmark.

outdoor platform, the Skywalk, offers 360-degree views of the city and suburbs from 1,014 feet. It is the city's tallest building and a pleasant stroll from our base at West Hotel Sydney.
IF YOU STAY in the Sydney central business area, you'll be within easy walking distance to many of the city's famous landmarks and buildings.
The city itself is an architectural wonder.  Magnificent older buildings add a stately air to the town, while hundreds of newer buildings tower  
The Commonwealth Bank of
 Australia dates back to 1910. National
symbols are the kangaroo and emu.
above the city's central business district. There, on Market Street between Pitt and Castlereagh Streets, you'll find entertainment venues, and an array of cafes and restaurants. Because we spent a week, we mingled with nicely dressed office workers and shoppers on week days. Weekends, we were among tourists heading to Darling Harbor’s waterfront bars, and thronging the promenade linking the historic Rocks area with the Sydney Opera House. Parks are popular in Sydney and the Royal Botanic Gardens offer harbor views, which we enjoyed during several picnics.
SYDNEY IS named after Lord Sydney, who was British home secretary when Captain Phillip and the First Fleet arrived in January 1788. In a letter, Phillip described the colony in Sydney Cove as having “the finest harbor in the world” in which “a thousand sail of the line may ride in the most perfect security.”
"Cookie and Keller" climbed
Sydney Harbor Bridge
for the second time.

West Hotel Sydney is a Curio Collection property of the
Hilton brand, with many elegant, welcoming touches.

THEN -- to the Rocks, named aptly after the massive stone on which the city was built. 
Sydney's downtown offers dozens
of skyscrapers, clean, wide streets. 
This neighborhood offers upscale eateries, small cafes with live music and frequent concert venues.  The Rocks, a pleasant maze of historic laneways, sits in the shadow of Sydney Harbor Bridge. We like this neighborhood, where locals and tourists mingle at the open-air Rocks Markets and where we grabbed reasonably priced snacks.  We also purchased delicious Indian inspired street food and admired handmade fashions. The area has some of Sydney’s oldest pubs and many of the Rocks' restaurants offer intimacy, local charm and some nifty harbor views. 
The Museum of Contemporary Art offers local and international exhibits. Buskers perform on the busy harborfront promenade so there's plenty for arts lovers.
BEACH LIFE is an important part of the routine for the locals. Every fellow tourist we met wanted to see at least one of the beaches for which Australia is famous. Sydneysiders welcome locals and tourists alike to one of the world's most famous, Bondi. One can go for a casual swim, sunbathe and visit, or surf the day away on the reliable waves which draw  
an international mix of surfers.  Fit locals swim in the Icebergs ocean pool year-round while the scantily clad simply bask in the sun.
Sydney is a healthy town. Sydneysiders take their smoothies and high-pro breakfasts and lunches in the cafes around Hall Street. The area's many casual pubs welcome locals and tourists -- from backpackers to small, well heeled tour groups. 
 While Bondi Beach has a crescent of sweeping white-sand and waves to attract surfers, walkers and joggers choose the clifftop above Bondi to hike the Coogee Coastal Walk. There, they are surrounded by dramatic scenery.

Bondi Beach with its crescent shape entices both locals and
tourists to enjoy the sun, gentle waves and pleasant hikes. 
YOU WILL need a Visa to visit Australia and it's a good idea to get on that a few weeks or even a couple months before your trip.
Be sure to secure the appropriate visa. We used the Visa Finder to explore your options.
Ensure details are correct and provide all required documents when you apply. An incomplete or incorrect application can delay the process; submitting multiple applications also  slows the process. Be careful and thorough and apply only once. Families and couples must submit one application per person, including children. The Australian Government's Global Service Centre can help.

As the beleaguered performer pursued by a stalker,
Daebreon Poiema shines and dazzles in the role of
singer Rachel Marron. She is backed by a
fabulous ensemble of talented dancers and singers.
--photos by Ken Jacques 

BEST ON THE BOARDS: "The Bodyguard" at Welk Theatre is a tuneful triple-treat for musical theater lovers. This lively, appealing production delivers with flair all the essential goods of the genre: spectacular singing, delightful dancing and talented acting.  The well rehearsed and high-energy company obviously loves their craft and enjoys what they're doing.

As Rachel's sister,
Nicki Marron, Patricia Jewel
stars in her own right
with terrific vocal numbers.
The story of a star pursued by a stalker, and the man hired to watch her was a popular 1992 film starring Kevin Costner.  In the leading role as the performer in need of security, Daebreon Poiema shines.  She shows the range of emotion necessary for the character to be believable.  Her voice is dynamic and her pitch perfect. Backing her as her sister, a brilliant singer who didn't get the breaks
Four major roles are well played by a tight,
talented ensemble. We meet, from left, the singer's
sister, young son, the bodyguard and the shadowed
singer. It's a winning foursome, supported by a
fabulous cast of energetic singers and dancers. 
or fame, is Patricia Jewel. She, too, is perfectly cast and has a bluesy voice to bring down the house.  Lance Arthur Smith plays the title bodyguard with an endearing grace and winning warmth, protecting his charge and befriending her young son.  As the singer's son, Fletcher, Faizi Mahalingam charms the audience with enormous stage presence. Don't miss this production for its enchanting storyline, stunning choreography and beautiful lights, wigs and costumes. It's an emotional ride that leaves the audience standing, cheering and moved. All the right stuff for a fun night or afternoon at the theater.
If you're driving up from San Diego, check out the digs at The Welk.

Enjoy a visit to Fiji, where this man is one of many beautiful, friendly
people we met during our recent week there. "Bula bula" means welcome.

UP NEXT: We're hopping about in the South Pacific, from small islands to the largest one, Australia. Next stop is Fiji, where the "Bula Bus" takes tourists around Denarau Island, from the marina to the hotels and more. Fiji is many islands, best known for its major isle's hospitality, beautiful and friendly people, flowers and fabulous cuisine. Enjoy the abundance of fresh fruit picked that same day. The phrase "bula bula" means welcome. Come with us to explore this friendly place where people are naturally kind and welcoming. Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh take on travel, nature, performance, family and more:


  1. Travel is the best way to meet people and learn. Thanks for your fresh perspective.

  2. Very progressive, exciting city.

  3. Lexington Globe TrottersApril 25, 2023 at 8:38 AM

    We love Sydney for its excitement and Melbourne for its class! Both fun Aussie cities.