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Sydney, the "darling"est of harbors

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 24 July 2008 | Views [854]

In brief, yet quite full:

Two days of independent wandering around the city and its environs. Hands-down, my favorite parts of the city are the historic area called The Rocks, and Manly, a peninsula north of the city reached by a 30-minute ferry. (You may have heard of Manly Beach?) The rest of the city impressed me only slightly; these two places certainly were the highlights.

During my walk around The Rocks, I discovered old (well, from the late 1800s is old for Australia) buildings, hidden back alleys, a couple from the Congo running an underground puppet store, and unlabeled (and easily-overlooked) displays of original Sydneysider homes that were literally built into the rockface, hence the name The Rocks.

At first glance, Manly seems like your average beach town – strip of stores, bar, wide sprawling blue-sand-clear-water beach with tons of pretty people – but then you walk out of the central business district and everything changes. I took a walk that hugged the coast up, and eventually wound up in hilly scrub (or bush). Following a small path dodging branches and climbing through walls, I found (it felt like I discovered) two of the most remarkable views I have ever seen. The first was of Manly and several other beach heads in the distance… it looked like a line of blue turtles poking their heads out into the ocean, each a little further out than the last. Second was a marvelous view of Sydney, its suburbs, and its harbor, and from this angle you could so easily imagine what James Cook and his crew saw (and felt!) entering for the first time one of the world’s finest harbors.

Tags: manly, sydney, the rocks


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