Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Sydney - The Botanic Gardens and Museums - day 2

Thursday 14th of June, the day after I arrived in Sydney, my husband left for work and I waited until after rush hour to leave home.  I walked 4 minutes to the bus stop to catch the 207 bus from Middle Cove into the city.
The bus drivers aren't probably as friendly or corteous as the ones in Perth, and if you don't stick your hand out to stop the bus they just don't stop like it happened to me, even though the 207 bus was the only bus stopping at that specific stop!!   
From a previous visit I knew that the stop before has a lot more buses stopping, and as I had to wait another half an hour for the next bus, I decided to walk 15 minutes uphill and caught the next bus that came by as they all go into the city. It saved me 15 minutes and I managed to walk my anger/disbelief away 😡 too.

I got off at Bridge St. in the city and walked to the Royal Botanic Gardens through the entry next to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, one of Australia's oldest and most prestigious music schools, operating on this site since 1916.
The building was originally commissioned as stables for the original Government House - described as "a palace for horses" it was completed in 1820 in Gothic style, and designed by convict architect Francis Greenway, as per Governor Lachlan Macquarie's vision.
The Governor was later recalled to Britain regarding the cost and extravagance of this construction.  
I wasn't aware then, but it can be visited and there are free public concerts throughout the year.
Sydney Music Conservatorium, statues in the Botanic gardens and views of the city buildings
Because the Botanic gardens are right next to the Central Business District, you get views of Sydney's high-rises, the Sydney tower, etc.
A new addition to the park is the Calyx - opened in June 2016 to commemorate the park's 200th anniversary. It took 11 months to build and houses the largest green wall in Australia, 50mt wide (164ft) and 6mt high (19,68ft), containing over 18000 plants.
The plants are watered with a drip irrigation system with over 2000 drippers, and the plant wall was designed with the help of an excel spreadsheet, with each spot numbered to assist the 6 horticulturalists with the 3 day installation.
The Calyx outside and inside
The green wall of the Calyx
The various methods of plant pollination are explained and I was thrilled to see a Honeyeater bird in the enclosed space sucking pollen from flowers.
It was difficult to photograph him as he fleeted from flower to flower and then quickly flew away as someone approached me.
Beautiful flowers inside the Calyx
The honeyeater bird sucking nectar from the flowers

 Leaving the Calyx I walked to the other end of the park and came out the gate across from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and walked along the bay. 

Here on the Finger Wharf in the suburb of Woolloomooloo sits a development where Russell Crowe bought a 3400  penthouse (originally 4 apartments) for Aud $14,35 million in 2003, which was then the most expensive apartment sold in Sydney!
From the net I understand that since his divorce a few years ago 2 of the lots have been sold to a Perth business man, the son of a former Western Australian premier.
The wharf is the longest timbered wharf in the world. Formerly a working dock it is now home to fine restaurants, fancy apartments, a marina and the 4.5 star Ovolo Sydney hotel.

The top floor of this building was owned by Russell Crowe
On the walk I saw some statues with motives linked to the sea, the magnificently located Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool and Mrs Macquarie's chair.
The chair - a sandstone rock cut into the shape of a bench was hand carved by convicts in 1810 for the Governor's wife Elizabeth Macquarie, and it's apparently where she used to sit watching the ships from Great Britain sailing into the harbour.

Lots of younger people were running or walking along the footpaths around the harbour and I wondered if all those people just didn't work... they couldn't all be tourists I think!

Rustic statues, Andrew Boy Charlton pool, Mrs Macquarie's chair, views to the Indian ocean
The inscription on the chair reads:
Be it thus Recorded that the Road
Round the inside of the Government Domain Called
Mrs. Macquarie's Road
So named by the Governor on account of her having Originally
Planned it Measuring 3 Miles, and 377 Yards
Was finally Completed on the 13th Day of June 1816

Strangely enough the date I visited Mrs Macquarie's chair was 202 years and 1 day from the inscription date.

The view from near Mrs Macquarie's chair, the Andrew Boy Charlton pool, an Indian miner bird, views of the park

I walked back to my starting point to visit the Art Gallery of NSW. Entry is free, coin donations are appreciated, but they sometimes have exhibitions that are paid for.
I didn't spend too much time looking at art, just walking around the rooms quickly, until I came to an amazing piece of art.

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Some of the exhibition rooms

The Museum guide was explaining it to some of her followers and I stuck around listening 
 - called "The English Channel 2015" the larger than life 800kg polished steel sculpture of Captain James Cook was made by New Zealander Michael Parekowhai. The captain seems to be reflecting on his legacy while looking out the window to the harbour past which he sailed in 1770. Sitting on a sculptor's working table, feet not touching the floor, with topcoat and ponytail, the shiny metal catches the reflections of the harbour and the visitors.

Captain Cook looking out to the bay
After leaving the Museum I started walking towards Harry's Cafe de Wheels with the intention of buying lunch.
Famous for its pies and peas, the business was started by Harry Edwards in 1938 as a caravan outside the Woolloomooloo naval dockyard serving the sailors, soldiers, starlets, etc.
Originally just called "Harry's" the phrase "Cafe de Wheels" was added when back then the local Council insisted that mobile food caravans move a minimum of 12 inches a day.

I got a bit lost and actually went into the direction of the city and just bought some lunch along the way. Eventually I followed the map, got back on track and found Harry's! 

Harry's Cafe de Wheels - full of memorabilia
The other side of the building at Finger Wharf, the shipyard, statues and the front of the building with Hotel Ovo
St. Mary's Catholic church, lovely Victorian terraced cottages with iron lace balconies and even a vintage car are all part of this inner city suburb. And I found a lot of murals under a railway bridge too.

St Mary's church, Victorian terraced houses, a vintage car

I returned to the Circular Quay area walking back via the Botanic Gardens, this time having a look at the "Succulent gardens" area, the big pond area and past the Vivid lights displays near the Opera House that would light up from 6pm.

The Succulent garden area of the Botanic gardnes

                               Botanic Gardens - city views, the big pond, rose garden


Opera house, someone was feeding pigeons on the steps and they were all over him, the Bridge and the P&O cruise ship
Jose called to say he was running late at work so I had time to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art.
A nice mural in the foyer, but otherwise inside the two floors I saw, apart from the massive clock and a nice red and yellow carpet there wasn't much that I fancied, the art was just too abstract for my liking. There is an outdoor Cafe on the top floor with views over the harbour.

Museum of Contemporary Art building and Today/Tomorrow/Yesterday exhibtion
Exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art
Back outside, the sun was setting and I sat on a bench looking at the P&O cruise ship Pacific Eden, leaving Sydney harbour until it disappeared just behind the Opera House.
It had arrived in the morning and sadly the passengers wouldn't get to see the Vivid Lights show. The temperature had also dropped a bit and I wished I had brought something warmer to throw over my two layers of clothes.

The P&O cruise ship leaving harbour
And finally Jose arrived at wharf 5 in Circular Quay (ferry and train terminal), where we had agreed to meet up and we set off towards the Botanic Gardens, my third visit his day, to see the Vivid light show.

And here you can see on the map all the walking I did until this point starting at Bridge St, and ending at the Museum of Contemporary Art.


  1. Beautiful shots of the city! Captain Cook's sculpture is quite a show stopper.

    1. Thanks William, I think it's a great sculpture too.

  2. Magnificent city!

    This is really a great "reportagem fotográfica"!

    Que cidade maravilhosa. E como eu gostaria de estar sentada nos degraus em frente à Opera House.

    : )

  3. Obrigada Catarina. Sim o centro de Sydney e lindissimo :)

  4. Oh, Sami, this is just magnificent! I'm stunned by the Calyx wall and the location seems perfect. Imagine slipping away at lunch from the business district for a little R&R here. Your photos are excellent and really tell the story so beautifully. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    1. I can imagine that the city workers would very well go in sit in the Botanical gardens for their lunch and some rest. The Calyx wall was fantastic Jeanie.

  5. Excellent shots and thanks for the wonderful tour

    1. A pleasure SCS, glad you enjoyed the armchair trip. Thanks for your visit.

  6. That was an awful lot of walking in one day, and you saw a few things I have never seen. A great walking tour.

    1. Thanks Andrew, at the end of the day I could hardly feel my feet, lol.
      I'm sure when I visit again I'll find things I missed this time, it's always like that.

  7. I’ve been complaining about my gimpy keyboard for awhile, but my mouse has always worked great. That is, until today. I had to buy a new mouse just so I could maneuver between blogs. That’s why I’m really late visiting.

    You pack more into one day than most people see in a week. I am in awe of that calyx wall both inside and out. I also enjoyed the honeyeater bird. I'd never heard of it.

    I enjoyed the Botanical Gardens and the Conservatorium of Music. Laughed at the horse tale, too.

    The gardens were fabulous, and so was the succulent garden. Beautiful photos from the harbor and the fabled chair, too.

    So glad you shared these with us because I live vicariously.

    1. Thank you Elizabeth. Hope your new mouse behaves itself for a few years, lol.
      I thought the fancy horse stables was funny too, the calyx was amazing, all those fabulous plants and flowers...

  8. Uma bela cidade que eu gostava de conhecer.
    Um abraço e continuação de boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

    1. Obrigada Francisco, uma bela cidade para visitar.

  9. You are having a great time there on your own, lots to see!

    1. Thanks Marianne, as Jose says "he works hard while I have a great time getting to know places where he works".

  10. Can you please send me some of your energy? You've posted some amazing pictures of fantastic gardens and architecture that really makes me want to visit and enjoy! Truly wonderful! Hugs...RO

    1. Thanks RO, at the end of the day I was tired, my feet were killing me, and then I had a good night's sleep and was ready to do it again the following day, lol.

  11. Reminds me of when I walked fast around lake Ölper 3 or 4 times after an argument with Ingo ;-)
    Free concerts, wow, that´s nice.

    The Calyx is amazing!
    Awww... in 1995 we stayed in Woolloomooloo for a while, too, to sell our car in the deep garage in Kings Cross!

    Funny coincidence with the chair. And the Captain sure makes an impression, too. 12 inches a day... sounds kinda "German"... Oh, yes, those balconies are beautiful!

    Wow, you did some walking that day!

    1. Kings Cross was just down the road, never been there actually.
      A lot of walking, but there's so much to see, so I have to make the most of the days I have when I visit.

  12. Good heavens Sami, that was a huge day. I know everything here so well, I love the Art Gallery of NSW, I think I like it better than the Museum of Contemporary art. Love the Botanical Gardens too.. you actually made me look forward to our next trip... Almost 😀😀

    1. Thanks Grace, I wasn't impressed with the Museum of contemporary art.

  13. What a fascinating and brilliant wander. I must get back up to Sydney as I had no idea about the Calyx. What a great idea, rather like the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, everyone loves to visit.
    I think you are right with Sydney, it is the sort of place that would inspire me to go out for a run when I was supposed to be at work, and there is the feeling that everyone is living the good life there! Maybe you feel like that in Perth too? I certainly miss my Melbourne life massively :)
    Wren x

    1. Thanks Wren. You do the feeling of the good life in Sydney, but I prefer my quieter and less stressful life in Perth. Melbourne is a great city too, very European I find, I can imagine quite you would miss Melbourne...

  14. Goodness, you saw so much.
    I enjoyed seeing your photographs.

    All the best Jan


I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment.