Lake Prespa and the village of Pustec, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? On our way to Gjyrokaster, Albania .

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Berat, Albania on October 12th.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Exploring downtown Sydney, Australia

We left the cottage at about 10:30am. A bit of a late start, but we wanted things to warm up enough that we didn't need to carry sweaters with us.

We walked the 2 minutes up to the Kogarah train station, and stopped in at a news stand to buy two Opal transit cards for the public transportation system here.

The cards themselves are free (unlike in Melbourne where you had to actually buy the card!) and you just load some money on them. Public transit is not cheap, so we put $20 AUD ($18 CAD, $13.60 USD) on each card (hoping that it might do us the three days we are here), and hopped on the train to downtown.

We got off at Central Station, at a cost of about $3.15 AUD each for the approximately 12 km (7.5 mile) journey.

Central Train Station.

We are always on the lookout for interesting buildings in a new city.
We think this one is going moldy!

From Central Station, we walked towards the downtown harbor area. It was a beautiful day, so lots of walking was on the agenda!

The 3 Wise Monkeys Pub.

This mall was celebrating the Cherry Blossom Festival.
This is Ruth with the Cherry Blossom Pig!

At night, this lights up.

It didn't take us long to get hungry. We had planned on finding some kind of a market food stall, but we ended up at the basement food court in an office building. We each had a beef and rice bowl from a fast food Japanese place... it was actually quite good and we were full for $11 AUD ($10 CAD, $7.50 USD) each.

Town Hall.

Beautiful stained glass in the Queen Victoria Building

Our first view of the harbour and Sydney Opera House.

Tall ship coming in to dock.

Sydney skyline.

And then of course there is the amazing Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Built between 1923 and 1932, it is the world's tallest steel arch bridge, measuring 134 m (440 ft) from top to water level.

It's very impressive!

Standing underneath the bridge.

It is totally free to walk across the bridge.

But, you can pay big bucks to walk on the upper arch of the bridge. And many people do. We would have liked to have done it, but there was no way we could justify the ridiculous (in our opinion) prices. It costs $308 AUD ($278 CAD, $210 USD) for the full transit. Holy crap... we are paying less than that to fly to Hawaii from here!

You can even pay money to go up the tourist pylon to get a better view. But even then, it costs $25 AUD ($22.50 CAD, $17 USD) to climb the 200 steps for a slightly better view. And again, we're not the normal ones because many people were paying the money.

As we climbed the steps to get to the free walking path across, another lady stopped and asked us if this was the right way to cross the bridge. We said yes, and we started a conversation with her as we went up the steps. 

Her name was Olivia and she was from Los Angeles. Her friend had paid the big bucks to do the bridge walk, so Olivia was just wandering around on her own while her friend was busy. Included in the big bucks the friend was paying for the bridge walk tour was an "admit 2" coupon for the $25 tourist pylon, and she invited Ruth to join her.

People doing the expensive bridge walk.

Olivia took Ruth's picture, but she was a little unclear on the concept.
She didn't quite get Ruth's finger aligned with the top of the Opera House!

View of the bridge from Observation Hill.

We had done a ton of walking, and it was getting into Friday rush hour. We were going to hop on a different train and pay the extra, but it was only 3.5 kms (2.2 miles) back to Central Station, so what the heck. When you do lots of walking like we do, what's another 3.5 kms?!

The return train was about a dollar extra because it was peak time.

We made it back to the cottage just before 6:00pm.

Tomorrow (Saturday) it's round two as we head back downtown to see some of what we didn't see today!

Lifetime Kids Picnic Table. Record low price.

And in Canada...


  1. In a fortunate twist of fate, I was given a free ticket to do the bridge climb when we were there in 2010. I much appreciated the opportunity, and it was certainly interesting, but overall it was much less thrilling than I had anticipated. I think it was because as an avid hiker I have a higher bar than most folk! So, I would definitely never pay to do the climb on my own dime, and therefore I really don't think you missed anything. Just walking over the bridge is thrilling enough, and it's free, as you've experienced.

    Crossing my fingers you enjoy Sydney as much as we do. It's one of my top three favorite cities in the world. 😊

    1. How lucky were you to get a free ticket! We would tend to agree with you, especially after watching some of the groups going up the climb. It would have been fun just for the thrill of it and to say you did it but the view wouldn't have been much better than what we saw from the bridge itself, especially when you consider the amount of money it costs to do the bridge climb. Thank you for letting us know that we really didn't miss out on anything. I was very appreciative to Olivia for letting me join her in the Pylon Lookout, we got some nice views but again we would never have paid the $25 to do it, and after being up there I have to say that I didn't feel like it was worth the $25 but obviously lots of people still do it and don't think anything of it.

      We are enjoying Sydney and we are looking forward to going on some ferries tomorrow. :-)

  2. That 'moldy' building is not attractive.
    I've always wondered what the Sydney Opera House looks like inside - you never see any pictures, though, so maybe it's not very interesting.

    1. That "moldy" building is actually a shopping centre and is called Central Park Mall plus an apartment complex known for it's hanging vertical gardens and has actually won a number of awards. I guess maybe we should have gone up for a closer look.

      The inside looks quite interesting from the pictures that I have seen on the internet but again at $42 each for a standard tour, it looks like we won't be seeing the inside. :-(

    2. The best way to see SOH is to go to a performance. West Side Story is on now for $70. We went to a Christmas concert and it was absolutely amazing and worth every penny.

    3. Never realized that the West Side Story was only $70, that actually sounds quite reasonable considering that they want $42 just to do a tour of the inside. I wish we had more time here otherwise we honestly would go and see the show.

    4. Yes, $42 dollars, just for a tour. I guess we should have looked at the prices of the West Side Story show, if I knew that the prices were that reasonable, I know we would be up in the nosebleed section we actually would have gone to see a show but we have sort of run out of time now.

  3. Hi Kevin and Ruth. I am sure you know this already. "Travel all day on Sundays on metro, train, bus, ferry and light rail services and pay no more than: $2.70 a day for Adult."

    Also my son works in the ER at RNSH. I hope you never need to go there. But just in case, you will have a Canadian contact there. Peter

    1. Yes, thank you we did know about it but I was under the impression that it was $2.80 per ride, not per day which is even better. Looks like we will be taking quite a few ferries tomorrow so that we can see lots of sights from the water. It should be a fun day. :-)

      I hope that we don't need to make a trip to the ER at RNSH but if we do, we will be sure to ask for him, lol.

  4. Looks like a great city to explore. Do not think I would want to spend any time in that moldy building or are they trying to grow trees:)

    1. So far it certainly seems to be! there is definitely lots to see here and we just aren't going to have enough time to see it all but we will have fun seeing some of the main sights at least.

      Actually that "moldy" building has won a lot of awards! it has hanging vertical gardens on it's walls.

  5. Wow, I'm exhausted just reading about your tour!

  6. Replies
    1. In our opinion... yup. But we find that most people who go on "holiday" spend a lot of money. It's their one or two week splurge to get away from their work lives, and they just don't care about the money. And this is why some people think that it's expensive to travel.

  7. Thanks for the blow by blow pictures of that impressive bridge......and yes...I won't pay ransom to cross usual, You and Ruth had just as good an experience and for a far better price!good job! safe travels!

    1. Both the bridge and the opera house are pretty amazing architectural feats and to have them both together in one single photo is pretty cool.

      Yep, we think that price is pretty crazy but obviously there are many, many people who don't. We enjoyed our view from the main level of the bridge, and especially the price. ;-)

  8. Yes, $2.70 for the whole day. Even long distance trains to out of town.

    1. That's a great price! We will be taking a few ferries today. :-)

  9. Those pictures are fantastic. I wish I had an artist eye like that.

    1. Thank you Garry! Even without our bigger camera, Kevin still does an amazing job. He is missing the great zoom on that camera though, we can't wait to get it fixed.

  10. We did climb the bridge, an unusual splurge but it was our 25th wedding anniversary and we were on a high

    1. Yep, that would have been quite the splurge! I hope that you enjoyed it. :-)


We love hearing from you! Please take the time to leave a comment...