I don’t think the driver knew exactly where I was going. I saw us drive past the hostel and pull in, and he was pointing to somewhere up ahead of us. So I said, “OK, thanks”, got out, and walked back to where I’d already seen it. The girl at the front desk was so nice. She gave me my key, then I went to shower and change, then collected my map and discount vouchers on my way back down. It’s nothing plush, but it’s fairly close to the city centre, comfortable and cheap. And I can see the Harbour Bridge from my window.
So I walked along William Street for a few blocks west until I reached George Street, and then I walked north towards Circular Quay and The Rocks, the historical part of the city. Got my obligatory photos of the Bridge and Opera House, then went to Tourist Information and picked up leaflets on everything I wanted I wanted to see.
I felt totally overwhelmed when I got a coffee after and sorted through them. There was so much I wanted to do, and I just didn’t know what to do first. Eventually decided to head over to Darling Harbour to go to the Aquarium, Wildlife World and Chinese Garden of Friendship.
Wildlife World was nice: all native Australian animals. Quite a small place, but they pack a lot in. Insects, which I wasn’t too bothered about. Reptiles, which I couldn’t get out of fast enough. Birds, hiding in their trees. Nocturnal, so it was dark, and some woman was taking flash photos in there. Koalas, which could’ve come over to you if they really wanted. Kangaroos and wallabies. I think that was about it.
The Aquarium was great. Loads of people were crowding around the platypus though, so I didn’t bother. The penguins were cute. I got a great photo of the moon jellyfish, which glow blue and pink. The seals were being playful. You could watch them from above or from the two submerged walkways. Two were chasing each other and one was posing for photos. the sharks and rays were great. They had this calming music on in the background in the tunnels, and the rays, turtles and larger sharks moved around slowly, gliding. It was all very serene and calming. And they had a reef section, with some very bright fish, and some weird-looking ones too.
Then I got an ice cream and walked along Pyrmont Bridge, which goes across the Harbour. Then I got a Boost juice and answered a survey, and finally went over to the Chinese Garden. Very tranquil, even though you could still hear the sounds of rush-hour traffic not far away. Then I watched a bit of the cricket on the big screen TV nearby, walked back past the hostel to the supermarket, and then to the hostel. Had noodles for supper, watched NCIS and The OC, then went to bed around 10.30pm.
I’m feeling much better about Sydney than Melbourne. The hostel certainly helps, and I’m not letting money be an issue, so I’m actually doing stuff. But I think I just prefer Sydney anyway.