Today we decided to do the On-and-Off bus that, in Sydney, has two loops: the City Loop and the Bondi Loop. After breakfast, we walked across Hyde Park to the nearby Australian Museum, caught a bus, and began a rather long day.
Not only was the bus crowded and the sun hot, but the streets were very busy and traffic proceeded slowly so it was not the best on/off bus experience. The City Loop lists 27 stops at notable locations, including Circular Quay, Queen Victoria Building, Royal Botanic Gardens, Opera House, and the Maritime Museum. However, most of the route is through side streets and the direction of sights is pointed out and not seen, e.g. the next street over…, behind that building, etc. We actually viewed a few points of interest, though– we drove under Harbour Bridge, and around Circular Quay that leads to the Opera House. And we did note two locations to which we wanted to return–the Fish Markets and the Queen Victoria Building.
BONDI BEACH LOOP
The bus for the Bondi Beach Loop was extremely crowded; in fact, the only reason we got on was that we were able to switch buses one stop sooner thanks to a thoughtful driver who suggested it. There were so many folks at the regular stop that many did not get to board.
As we drove onto the street that led to Bondi Beach (world-famous as a surfing beach–though there wasn’t much surf that day), I noticed a restaurant with first floor balcony seating (floors here in Australia, and in Europe for that matter, start counting at the first level after the ground–what we call the second floor; that’s almost as confusing as cars driving on the opposite side of the road than we do, especially when it comes to looking the other way when crossing streets).
We made our way to that restaurant (called Ravesi’s) and requested a table on the balcony. After a very short wait, a very nice waiter got us one in the middle, overlooking the street and the entire beach–it was awesome! We chose to share a great meal of grilled barramundi and a spinach salad, along with wine for me and cider for Bob.
After lunch, we walked toward the beach to get some pictures, then started to meander through town. However, the streets were way too crowded and it was really hot out, so we decided to get back on the bus and go “home.” Not surprisingly we missed the first bus, so were forced to get some ice cream until the next one came by…and we almost didn’t make it onto that one!
On the way back, there was a scheduled stop at Rose Bay, a lovely, tranquil-looking beach area (that reminded us of Mission Bay in Auckland a bit); we dared not stop, however, due to the time and likelihood of there not being any more buses.
We had invited our host friends out to dinner to thank them for their kindnesses and generosity both at their Hawks Nest country house and now in their luxurious Sydney high-rise apartment. They chose a local eatery called Sushi on Stanley. It turned out to be a hole-in-the wall with great Japanese food that locals love. The sushi was good, but the accompanying lack of walls or air conditioning not so much. Having said that, our goal is to eat like locals while traveling and we certainly did that evening.