Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sunsets and more, Down Under

I went to Australia and New Zealand for about 10 days. Unlike the trip to Istanbul where I was in one city, this one was a few days here, a day there, a couple of days here, and so on. As a result I spent more time in airports than outside. So there was limited opportunity to  sight-see. I got some in but I also needed to veg out a bit the one weekend I was there. Therefore I didn't use it to its full potential.

I spent my first day wandering around the Riverwalk in Melbourne. I arrived mid-morning and of course there was no room ready. So I checked in, and took myself and my knitting to a cafe on Riverwalk where they didn't mind me sitting for a few hours. I got breakfast and coffee and sat and knit and people-watched for a few hours before I packed up and headed further out.

There are pedestrian bridges across the river, along with vehicle bridges. I didn't cross the river at all. The river here is the Yarra river.
There are restaurants, mostly, lining the river side and the walkway is used by both pedestrians and cyclists. Behind the restaurants there are office buildings, the Eureka Tower and other residential buildings. My destination was one of those office buildings. My hotel was in a casino complex that I had to walk through daily to work. It was easier walking through the complex than going outside as I didn't have to cross any streets this way.

I walked along to the next vehicle bridge and then went up to the street level to see what was going on. I was very pleased to see a street market outside the Arts Center
I didn't actually go in as I was taken up by the market. I showed you the things I bought a few posts ago. I also walked by the National Gallery which was having a Monet exhibit. I toyed with the idea of going in but it was 4 pm and the gallery closed at 5 so I decided not to. I tend to loiter in front of art.
As I walked back to the hotel, I found some more stalls in the market tucked away. There are outdoor sculptures around the arts center and the stalls were surrounding one of them, Kids were happily playing in the sculpture which seemed to be tailor made for exploration.
More photos of the Riverwalk:

An interesting sculpture or two..

My hotel room had a fabulous view.

I flew to Auckland, New Zealand next and didn't leave my hotel except to find an ATM. I was speaking at a conference in the hotel and I had a lot of meetings to attend via phone so I ended up spending the evening in my room. Auckland is 3 hours ahead of China which is in turn 12 hours ahead of the US Eastern time zone. So I was 15 hours ahead of the US. This made all the meetings happen in the evening!

But I did get a glimpse of the Sky tower, which was quite close to my downtown hotel.
There was also a lovely St. Patrick's church down the street.
What little I saw was charming. Auckland, I will be back!

My next stop was Canberra, Australia. Here again, I didn't see anything because I went from hotel to work to airport. But I got some lovely photos from the plane flying to and from Canberra.

Next stop was Sydney, where I spent the weekend. My hotel in Sydney was right on Circular Quay, although I got a 'city view' room.
The same view by day...
A very kind colleague took me to the Blue Mountains on the weekend. Coming from a hot, humid, hazy summer Shanghai, I found the winter light and air really beautiful.

My first view of the mountains:
The wattle was in full bloom.
Our first stop was in Mt. Hay where we hiked a bit and had a picnic lunch. Mt. Hay is only reachable by a 4WD vehicle so it is a little out of the way for crowds.

This is banksia which I had seen made into crafts at the arts market.
Our lunch spot:
It was extremely windy and we had to anchor everything down. We didn't linger because we felt as if we would blow away! But I did stop to admire this interesting rock.
We hiked back to the car, and drove to another lookout point, called Cahill's Lookout.
Our last stop of the day, mostly because it was getting near sunset and things were closing, was the Three Sisters. The evening light bathed the rock formations, highlighting the colors and the strata that comprises them.
More sunset photos:

The next day I wandered around Circular Quay and went to the Rocks Market, which I remembered from my last trip decades ago. There is a lot of stuff that is imported from other places but I focused on the local craftspeople and designers. It was a fun browse.

Along the way, I took a few photos of things that I don't have to name. By day...
and by night...
I also took some photos of the Circular Quay...
and a Master Chef tent and truck
There was activity outside the tent but no customers that I could see. People were carrying boxes in. The truck, however, was serving food. In this photo, it hadn't started yet. But later, I saw people buying food. Not a long line so maybe it is a regular thing.

And with that, my trip to the Land Down Under was over.

1 comment:

twinsetellen said...

I visited Australia once for work myself - thank you for bringing back some memories!