Aug 21, 2011

Australia - Sydney

View from a ferry in Sydney Harbour

Sydney is the main Australian city where disembarked and settled the first British fleet on the island in 1788. Britain created and developed this new colony after the loss of its North American empire. During the first six decades, the British sent more than 160 thousands convicts to their different settlements in Australia and Tasmania. Having more freedom and opportunities in this new world in construction, many convicts decided to stay once their sentence served. 

Hyde Park Barracks was designed as a secure night lodging building for 600 men and boys but hosted sometimes more than 1.300 convicts! The building had then other functions and in 1979 became a museum recreating convict lives at the beginning of the colonization.

Hyde Park Barracks Museum


This museum, like Susannah Place Museum, belongs to the Historic Houses Trust and shows the interest that Australians pay to their own History.

Susannah Place Museum is located in one of the oldest district of Sydney called the Rocks. This area was threatened to be bulldoze in the 1970's because of insalubrity. But this urban heritage was saved by a green ban after many demonstrations of the residents. Susannah Place is a rare surviving example of a popular four houses block built in bricks. Visiting this historic home we felt like in a granny's house with the toilets in the courtyard..

British influence is clearly visible in Australia. In the common culture, the language, the architecture, etc. Looking at the cathedrals.. we could think we are in London! Also these new inhabitants of the island were not very original and most of the streets, parks and districts have their English counterparts for example New South Wales, Liverpool, Hyde Park.

St Marys Cathedral

St Andrews Cathedral

Magazine found in St Andrews Cathedral,
an example of the very Aussie habit to finish every sentence with "dude" or "guys"..

The landmark in Sydney's urban panorama: the Opera House! What was an architectural and construction challenge resulted in a masterpiece. This multi-venue performing arts centre was meant to cost 7 million dollars and to be built in 4 years. In the end it cost 102 million dollars and was built in 14 years!! Jørn Utzon, the original architect, was dismissed during the construction and was not invited nor mentionned at the official inauguration.

The Opera House dominates Sydney's Harbour 
and is backgrounded by Sydney central business district.

During our walking tour through the city centre we found ourselves in a Matrix scene. In the end there is only one question: the blue or the red pill? ;)

Martin Place fountain featured in the Matrix

Parks in Sydney offer an appreciated break from urban life. One can experience the amazing autochthonous nature with a lot of strange plants and colorful birds flying freely that we had never seen before. And Sydney hosts a colony of bats in the botanic garden. So strange to watch them perched on trees in the middle of the city in the daytime.

 Grey-headed flying-fox bats

Another way to connect with Mother Nature: taking a ferryboat for half an hour to reach the wonderful beaches of Manly. It is also the cheapest way to cruise in Sydney's amazing harbour!

Manly beachside

And for our first meeting with sharks: Sydney Aquarium! We really enjoyed this place. It presents a rich collection of marine life and a wonderful exhibit of the Great Barrier Reef. The aquarium is well conceived to untertain adults and children.


 Great Barrier Reef exhibit


Long-necked turtle



  1. Olá Luís,
    Um abraço e continuação de boas viagens ;)

    Nuno Brochado

  2. Muito obrigado!!
    Chegamos hoje a Melbourne e tem tudo corrido bem.
    Grande abraço

  3. Hello les amours,

    Juste un petit mot pour dire que Gabriel a bien reçu votre requin, il est aux anges...
    Gros bisous et merci.
    Du coup, je pense que l'Australie sera une destination de rêve pour lui.

  4. Dava-te era valor se nadasses com o tubarão! Abraço e beijo!
    PS: não comento a viagem, porque a inveja não o permite! :)))

  5. Pois andamos a ver se os viamos até porque com as limpezas no porto de Sydney, o éco-sistema voltou e eles andam ai!!! Mas durante o inverno eles nadam mais para norte... :(
    Grande abraço
    PS: vimos ontem finalmente o verdadeiro TAZ!!! :))

  6. Australia looks and sounds real good.

    However, last night in Regnéville was non pareille. The hosts received us with champagne on their sundrenched terrace and we then went indoors for some delicious foie de ......(censored) with exquisite fruity white wine. We continued with expertly grilled lamb cutlets (pré salées) and local sausages accompanied by finest red wine. I would not say that the meat was accompanied by french fries as these were one of the major attractions. The cheese plate, well you should have been there as I recall this being one of the things you miss in your current life. After that we very much enjoyed an enormous local brand strawberry tart. The coffee/tee was served with speciality chocolate. The conversation, during which you two were mentioned, was intellecual and witty througout the evening although frequently interrupted by loud laughter by all participants. Only the cat kept quiet. A very good time was had by all.

    With regard to your parents, there is no change in the status reported by you in a previous message: "they are well".


  7. Thank you for the news from Normandy!! It sounds like a wonderful evening indeed and we would have loved to join such a party!
    Let's do it next summer without fail! :)