New Zealand February 1999  
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 Sydney 6 - 7 February
 
After our arrival in Sydney we had to find accommodation first. We went to the display at the airport and called several backpackers until we found one with vacancies for two nights. Before catching the bus into town we changed some money and then we were off to see Sydney. The backpacker was right in the center of town but not very nice, the room had a very bad smell and the view was gross :(. Anyway we stored our bags in the room and went out to see the harbour.  Obviously Sydney is very busy preparing itself for the Year 2000 and the Olympic Games; there is construction everywhere! Nevertheless, you can still see that Sydney is a very beautiful city and the harbour area is very nice! Of course, there is the impressive Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. These two buildings set up the most famous views of Sydney. There are also several other interesting and nice buildings along with many gardens and parks. All this is surrounded by water and lots of sailing boats, yachts and ferries. It's just like you were on a very busy island.
We went right to the Opera House to take a closer look at it. We walked around it and up the stairs right in front and of course we took some photos ..
We walked to the botanical garden which is also a very nice place where you also have some good views from the hill towards the harbour area. We spent some time in the garden and the park and strolled through the city center.
During the afternoon we caught the ferry to Manly, which is a nice place to go for eating and swimming because there is a wonderful beach there with some good surfing. In fact, the wind was too strong for swimmers that day, but we saw a whole lot of surfers. On the ferry back to Sydney we had another good view towards the city, the harbour and skyline. From the ferry port we walked along the water’s edge to The Rocks,  an area known for it's old buildings. It is located under the inner city end of the harbour bridge. The harbour area is very nice and the old sailing boat HMAV - Bounty, which is anchored there, made it a perfect picture of the good old times. :)
After dinner we headed back to the harbour again because we had booked a cruise with Sydney Ferries - Evening Harbour Lights. Of course a closeup view of the Operahouse is the first part of the trip. We traveled along the shore while the sun set and the lights came up.  It was already dark when we cruised right under the harbour bridge, but the bridge is illuminated at night and looked very good. The last part was cruising right into Darling Harbour, a part of Sydney known for amusement.
We were already very tired during the cruise because of the jet-lag, so we went to the backpacker immediately after the cruise to go to bed. The next day started very late and lazily. We visited the AMP Tower to have a look at Sydney from above. This is a highly recommended experience! It was wonderful. Sydney looks so gorgeous from above, we spent more than an hour enjoying the views.
In the afternoon we joined a tour to the Koala Park because we wanted to see some of Australias Animals. It was very nice. We didn't just see them, actually we were also able to pat and cuddle some of them. The first animal we meet was a Dingo, which was not so interesting because this is just another kind of dog - but the second fellow was a wombat and I was surprised to find how big they are. With the Koalas it was the other way around. They were much smaller than I thought them to be. Koalas are sooo cute but they are very fragile, so we were not allowed to hold them, just cuddle them very carefully. :) In the park there are lots of Koalas "running" (they don't really run, they just hang around) free, so you had to watch out for them hanging in the trees everywhere. Of course we also saw kangaroos, wallaroos (which have a large black rump), wallabies and lots of birds - the most impressive one being the Emu, although the Cockatoo and the Parakeets were also very nice birds. One small animal I liked very much was the Short-Beaked Echidna or Spiny Anteater because it looked so funny. On the way back into town the tour usually comes along an outlook towards the Blue Mountains but there was not really much of a view this day because it was hazy. What a shame :(
Again, after a short stroll through the city along George Street and a nice dinner, we went to bed early.
  

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