Arriving into Sydney turned out to be the best thing. This has happened before, where we have ended up in a place not actually planned for, but so blessed to be there. After getting the “Green Tick” of COVID negative we can really start to look around and see where we have actually come to. 

I came to Sydney with my family in 1980, when I was 12, and remember being so impressed with the size of everything. The Opera House, Harbour Bridge, it was all so foreign and exciting. 

1980, Thats me, the skinny, moody teenager in red shorts! Parked right under the Harbour Bridge, cant do that now days

I also had a quick trip here with Chris in 2016 to watch the Sharks (Sydney team) beat the Warriors (NZ team) at Cronulla in the Rugby League. That was a flying visit in the middle of winter. But when we arrived by train from the airport that night I was like a kid in a lolly shop, jumping with excitement to see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge right there! I could just about touch them, it was so close, I was so excited I could hardly think straight.


So here we are again.  World famous, these amazing icons are up there with the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty, and again, I am so excited to be here. This time we have a bit more time to explore.


  • Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened in 1932, it took 9 years to build, its longest span is 503metres, total length 1149metres She has 6 lanes and 2 railway lines, 1 footpath and a cycleway and has a clearance of 49m from the water
  • Sydney Opera House was opened in 1973, it took 14 years to complete and has seating capacity for 5738 people across her theatres and halls.

Two days with Liz in the suburbs with her wonderful neighborhood of friends, enjoying the tree lined streets, noisy birds and great wine! We walk to a spot where we can see Sydney Harbour – Yes! I’m really here. But we have work to do so off south we go; check out my 2 previous stories.

We return to Sydney nearly a month later to the warmest welcome, It is Australia Day, come on in, what’s ours is yours! So grateful for these amazing people. A big feast starting at 2, slow cooked lamb, salmon, chargrilled veg, homemade focaccia bread, all sorts of salads, and a wonderful cake for desert. Everyone pitching in and having fun. Lively conversations and laughter went right through until after dark. Empty plates, full bellies and wine bottles scattered every which way. I feel this could be akin to the American Thanksgiving celebration. We don’t have this in NZ, and it is a pity.  We counted 7 nationalities around that table, how wonderful is this?! This was such a special day, thank you to Cate and Malcolm for opening your doors and hosting this awesome day, one we will not forget!

A bit of a slow start for everyone the next day but there is a city to explore. Chris and I catch a bus into the city. We get off near the Anzac Memorial and Hyde Park. The memorial is stunning and it always gives us a thrill to see the New Zealand flag flying alongside the Aussie one. Hyde Park is lovely too, great statues and monuments, stunning gardens. We follow on to the Royal Botanic Garden. None of this is very far from each other and the walk is doing us good!

We come to the edge of the harbour and Oh Wow! There they are, those icons that scream “You’re in Sydney!” We carry on walking around the front of the Opera House, past Circluar Quay (where we arrived in 2016) and around the rocks to view the Harbour Bridge. So beautiful!

The ferry network is fantastic. Sydney Harbour is so intricate, it spreads outward with many fingers probing into the suburbs of greater Sydney. We take the ferry from Circular Quay right up to Paramatta, just because we can! 3 hours round trip, for us Mariners it is a really interesting trip. Returning, we get off near Liz’s place, and walk home.

Heading out from Circular Quay

The next day we get the ferry into Circular Quay and take a different ferry over to Manly. Can this city get any better? It is so sunny and hot. We have fish and chips on the beach with one of our Australia Day buddies then walk to Shelly Beach and have a swim. Manly is not unlike our home town of Mount Maunganui with the harbour on one side of the peninsular and the main open ocean beach less than a kilometer across on the other.

But we have to leave Sydney now, more adventures are waiting for us. We so loved Sydney, the people, the places and the weather, all fabulous, we look forward to coming back soon!

Thank you for reading my story!!