New South Wales

We arrived in Sydney at 8 a.m. on November 8. Peter Freedman picked us up at the airport and took us back to his home so we could freshen up, as it was too early to check into our hotel (the Saville Park Suites on Oxford Street). Then Peter took us down to Darling Harbour to begin exploring Sydney. It did not take long to fall in love with this great city!

On our second day in town, we hiked down to the harbour and visited an assortment of attractions. Hyde Park is located in the Darlinghurst district, very near our hotel, so we walked through it often. This is a great part of town to stay in, with plenty of good restaurants, interesting places to walk, shops, theaters, and public transportation all within easy walking distance.

Archibald Fountain &
Hyde Park

Steve (L) and Larry with
Sydney Hospital's "Big Pig"

Archibald Fountain at Hyde Park
Hyde Park scenery
Steve O with Sydney Hospital's "Big Pig" statue
Larry the O with Sydney Hospital's "Big Pig" statue


Views from the Saville Park Hotel Balcony

view of Sydney from the Saville Park Hotel balcony
view of Sydney from the Saville Park Hotel balcony


Darling Harbour

"Following that recovery period, [Peter] took us down to Circular Quay, the site of the earliest settlement in Australia, and took us to lunch at Doyle's, one of the town's best-known seafood restaurants. I sat staring directly at the incredibly beautiful Sydney Opera House as the sun emerged from the clouds, and we ate delicious oysters and drank beer and two bottles of white wine. For lunch." - Larry the O mlog

In the first photo, across the water on the left is Doyle's restaurant, where we ate lunch with our friend Peter Freedman on the 8th. That was our first Australian meal. Doyle's serves excellent seafood, and we were especially delighted with the oysters. South Australian oysters, which are flown all over the place, are among the best we've had anywhere. Afterward, we went pub-crawling on George Street, where I bought an Akubra hat (Snowy River model), which you'll see me wearing in many photos on this site. From there, we took a cab to various parts of the city, checking out pubs along the way, with Peter as our guide.

Darling Harbour, Sydney
Darling Harbour, Sydney
Darling Harbour, Sydney


Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Harbour Bridge is a popular tourist attraction. If you want more of a workout, you can climb up the bridge with a group (below right), but we settled for the regular pedestrian walkway. However, we did ascend the steps of a pylon to visit the bridge museum and enjoy the wonderful viewpoint from which many of these photos were taken. We enjoyed the street vendors in front of the Opera House. That's Larry in the Ozzie hat in the far left photo and Steve in the center photo. Most Sydneysiders we saw did not wear hats.


Harbour Bridge from the Opera House Grounds

Harbour Bridge Climbers

Larry the O near the Harbour Bridge
Steve O near the Harbour Bridge
Harbour Bridge climbers


Views from the Harbour Bridge

Circular Quay and Darling Harbour

Circular Quay

Lavender Bay Looking West

Circular Quay and Darling Harbour from the Harbour Bridge
Circular Quay from the Harbour Bridge
Lavender Bay, looking west, from the Harbour Bridge


Harbour, Looking East

Downtown Sydney

Walsh Bay, Looking Southwest

Sydney Harbour, looking east from Harbour Bridge
Downtown Su
Walsh Bay, looking southwest from Harbour Bridge


The Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House viewed from the Harbour Bridge
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House viewed from the Harbour Bridge


Famous Parts of Sydney

We saw a good bit of Sydney, thanks to our mate Peter Freedman. At left, Peter and Steve O visit King's Cross, a popular hangout for American servicemen in WWII and still a colorful district. Bondi Beach (center) is one of the world's famous beaches. We visited during bluebottle jellyfish season, and it was still springtime, so the crowds weren't out. However, the highly toxic jellies weren't in close to shore this day, and some folks braved the water. In Sydney, the Gap (right) isn't a clothing store.

Steve O and Peter F
at King's Cross

Bondi Beach

The Gap

Steve O and Peter Freedman at King's Cross, Sydney
Bondi Beach, Sydney
The Gap, Sydney


Royal Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens are located in the heart of Sydney, a short walk from the Opera House and Harbour and the Conservatory of Music. We found the Gardens to be a lovely, relaxing spot to take a break from hiking around the city. At the time, Peter Freedman's son James was taking music lessons at the Conservatory and doing quite well. (His daughter Lauren is also a talented musician.)

A Lovely Garden Path

(unidentified bird)

Garden path, Royal Botanical Gardens
unidentified bird, Royal Botanical Gardens


Conservatory of Music

View of Sydney Harbour

Conservatory of Music from the Royal Botanical Gardens
view of Sydney Harbour and gazebo from Royal Botanical Gardens


Opera House from the Botanical Gardens

Sydney Opera House viewed from the Royal Botanical Gardens


Flying Foxes

Flying foxes are actually large bats. They are a scourge in the Botanical Gardens (below left and center) because they are very numerous and strip the trees. In the evening, they fly en masse through the city (below right).

"A few minutes after arriving, Steve called me to the window and I saw a huge column of large birds flying high above Sydney, coming from the north and heading southwest.

"Only they weren't birds, they were the bats I spoke of in my first mlog. Like something straight out of a Dracula movie, thousands upon thousands of bats the size of turkey vultures streamed from the Botanical Gardens, where we had seen them roosting in the trees, across the Sydney dusk. For at least five full minutes, Steve and I watched them come and come, completely unchanging in density, winging across the darkening sky.

"They were big enough that their calls sounded like birds with a bit of monkey blood in them, rather than the squeaks we are used to imagining for bats. These bats, called spectacled flying foxes (I think), were still traveling the same route in the same numbers when we finally decided to walk away (being very careful that the door to the balcony was shut) and go to dinner." - Larry the O mlog

Flying Foxes in the
Botanical Gardens

Flying Foxes
Closer Up

Sydney Goes Bats

Flying foxes in the Royal Botanical Gardens
Flying foxes in the Royal Botanical Gardens - close up
Flying foxes swarming over Sydney at dusk


Rode Microphone Factory

The Rode microphone company's new state-of-the-art factory is located in the Sydney metro area, so owner Peter Freedman gave us a tour just before we went to Sydney's Telstra stadium for the Rugby World Cup final. Because Rode is using special high-tech machines, Peter asked me not to take pictures inside, except for the photo of the shrine to the Australia Wallabies rugby team (center). Coincidentally, a company named Oppenheimer is located across the street from the factory (right).

Larry the O Hangin' at Rode

Rode's Shrine to the Wallabies

Larry and Steve Make Themselves at Home

Larry the O hanging out in front of the Rode Microphone factory
Rode factory's "shrine" to the Australia Wallabies rugby team
Larry and Steve O in front of the Oppenheimer company sign across the parking lot from the Rode Microphone factory


The Man from Snowy River

During our travels around Sydney, we stopped in a bookstore, and at Peter's strong urging, I picked up a copy of The Man from Snowy River & Other Verses, by A.B. "Banjo" Paterson, Australia's great bush poet. Paterson's classic poems will give you essential insights about Australia's rural traditions and world view in a way that nothing else will. This book, which was first published in 1895, remains one of Australia's most popular, and I very much enjoyed reading it during our journey. Several characters (notably the heroic Clancy of the Overflow) appear in multiple poems, and one enjoys encountering them again, as with old friends.

The title poem "The Man From Snowy River," which was originally published in the Australian news magazine The Bulletin in April 1890, tells the story of a horseback pursuit to recapture the colt of a prizewinning racehorse that escaped from its paddock and was living wild with the brumbies (wild horses). The brumbies descended an extremely steep slope, and all of the riders gave up the pursuit - all, that is, except for the unnamed young man from Snowy River, whom the older men (except for Clancy, who had been partners with the lad's father) had badly underrated. Against seemingly impossible odds, our hero spurred his mountain-bred horse down the "terrible descent" to recapture the colt.

The movies The Man from Snowy River and Return to Snowy River were inspired by this poem.

cover of book "The Man from Snowy River & Other Verses"

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