Around Sydney 2

Thursday, March 29, 2012

While in Sydney, we headed out on a walking tour one day to learn a bit about the city. 

We learned on the tour that Botany Bay (now Sydney) was discovered in 1770 by James Cook Archibald from Britain. In 1776, Britain decided they would send all their convicts to New South Wales. The convicts were allowed to wander free because there was no way to escape from this big island in the middle of nowhere. After the convicts started killing and mugging each other, Hyde Park Barracks (pictured below) were built in 1819 to lock them up at night. The only architect in town was a convict, so they let him design some buildings (such as the Barracks, a church, and some government buildings). 

The land was originally thought to be uninhabited, but they later found that aboriginals had been there for 13,000+ years. Following many bloody battles and diseases, only 1% of Sydney's population is aboriginal today.

Some things we saw on the tour:

- Sydney Tower
- St. Mary's Cathedral (largest church in Australia)
- Hyde Park Barracks
- Sydney Hospital (oldest hospital in Australia)
- The Strand Arcade at the Pitt Street Mall (which has the second highest rent for retail space, New York's fifth avenue is first.)
- Sydney Opera House
- Harbour Bridge

St. Mary's Cathedral, the largest church in Australia.
Clock inside the Strand Arcade, a Victorian style shopping arcade open since 1892.
On the right is the Sydney Tower (called "The Golden Bucket" by locals), which is 309 meters tall.
British convicts sent to New South Wales were allowed to wander free because there was no way to escape. After they started killing and mugging each other, Hyde Park Barracks (pictured below) were built in 1819 to lock up convicts at night.
Taking a tour is great to learn about the statues around town. I'm sure these had some great stories behind them but I don't remember.The Australian coast of arms has an emu and a kangaroo on it because they physically can't walk backwards, meaning Australia would always be moving forward. Interestingly enough, you can find both of these animals to eat in an Aussie restaurant.
A model of Sydney beneath our feet.
Below is the oldest part of Sydney, known as The Rocks. This is where the British convicts and soldiers first settled. Many of the buildings have survived and been transformed into shops, restaurants, and a weekend market.
The unmistakable Sydney Opera House, a world-class performing arts center and a symbol of Australia .
The walking tour conveniently ended at The Rocks outdoor market where we were enticed by an entire street of food stalls. We treated ourselves to some bratwursts, which was awesome after a few hours of walking.


  1. All these wonderful photos and I just keeping thinking about how cute those white sandals are! But seriously, beautiful photos.

  2. what a great walking tour. I love seeing and and learning about the history of each place I visit.

  3. Hi,
    I love all your posts!! Especially these ones about my home country!!
    Just something you might want to adjust ... the bird on our coat of arms is an 'emu' (an ostrich-like bird). That is a funny fact about the emu and kangaroo (that they can't walk backwards), it shows strength (for our country) as these animals can't 'back' down.
    Hope you plan to pack your suitcases and head off exploring again sometime soon.

    1. Rebecca Smith - Ah, you caught my mistake! Thanks for the correction. I love the symbolism behind the animals.

  4. Just fall in love with the second picture after Sydney's Opera: the bridge and the boat... Lovely !

  5. I think we have been taking the same tour :) Just re-lived it through your pictures!! Was it the one for donation (just went blank on the name)? It was great!!! Ah, Sydney is such a lovely city!!

    1. Kristina - Could be! Yes, it was free but tips were appreciated at the end. Love walking tours.

  6. hello. i've been stalking your blog for a while. you guys have encouraged my travel bug after discovering your posts about thailand while my husband and i were there on our honeymoon. i'm a little bit sad that you're world trip posts are coming to an end!
    oh, and our coat of arms has a kangaroo and an emu :)

    1. Carlien - Thanks for leaving such a nice note! We don't plan to stop traveling any time soon, even though we living at home now. We have to keep this blog alive somehow! :)

  7. Ah! Sydney has got to be such a lovely, lovely placce :)
    Can't wait to travel there ... when I can lol


  8. Replies
    1. Dusty Soles - What?! No way! It made for a great photo. :)

  9. Gorgeous, gorgeous! Wishing tickets to Australia were not so expensive! Do you know if there's maybe a low-season there? I really want to see Australia/New Zealand.

    1. Ana F - That's precisely why we went from Asia! Tickets are so pricey to Australia from the States. I'm not sure when the best time to go is. I would guess between seasons (fall and spring).