By some magic the weather is always perfect when I arrive in Sydney. This is fortuitous because visiting my Sydney family means experiencing some of the world’s most acclaimed tourist sights – all at seniors’ rates. To get from Sydney Airport to Seaforth I take the train to Circular Quay where that greeting panorama of Harbour, bridge and the shining sails of the Opera House, etched against a blue sky, always takes the breath away. Then I jump on the dear old green-and-cream Sydney ferry to Manly for the next leg of the journey. It’s impossible to tire of the sight of sunshine sparkling across the vast expanse of harbour, of other ferries plying backwards and forwards, sail boats bobbing randomly and 360 degrees of harbourside roof tops glistening.
I love passing the Heads where the ocean swells rock the ancient chugging ferry as it eases towards the Manly wharf. I remember as a child when living in Sydney briefly, to allow my father to have an eye operation, visiting Manly Wharf with my brother and getting stuck upside-down on a ferris wheel. Those were the days when kids could do stuff on their own. Today, instead of amusement rides, Manly Wharf is home to an eclectic collection of restaurants, catering to Sydneysiders’ favourite pastime – eating out. The final leg by car showcases the spectacular views enjoyed by those lucky enough to share a piece of harbourside real estate.
The current exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales captures the essence of the Emerald City. Sydney Moderns spotlights the masterpieces of the local artists between the wars, a time when Sydney was being transformed by life-changing structures such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Works by celebrated artists such as Grace Cossington-Smith and Margaret Preston chart the early making and style of this world city.
Sydney is full of such interesting nooks and crannies. One such hidden gem is Angel Place, not far from Martin Place, where high up in a narrow laneway numerous empty bird cages are strung to represent birds that once sang in central Sydney but have been relegated to the out skirts. Recordings of the bird calls fill the laneway. I do hope the Powerful Owl is still around somewhere.