Friday, 26 November 2010

Back in Oz

I hope Rosalie is still reading, because I’m back in Sydney. We did the Captain Cook Coffee cruise in brilliant sunshine on Tuesday, which took us from Circular Quay out to the Heads of the Bay, the two headlands a mile apart that mark the entrance to Port Jackson from the Pacific Ocean. Evidently Captain Cook landed at Botany Bay, 20 miles south, and then sailed north for home. He looked into what we now know as Sydney Harbour, named the entire area Port Jackson and sailed on.
The harbour is a huge expanse of water, mostly 16 metres deep so the biggest ocean liners can sail right up to either Darling Harbour, beyond the bridge, or if they are too tall to get under the bridge, or too long for the DH quay, then they anchor at Circular Quay, just on the seaward side of the bridge.

Almost all the way around the many inlets and bays, there are houses gazing down into the water, huge mansions, several storeys high, built into the cliff face and always crowded close together. I just couldn’t decide which one I wanted to own, and then remembered some of the lovely houses we saw, set in vast green acres of open space, on the way to Mollymook. Difficult decision!
Before I came to Sydney I found it difficult to understand the layout of the city. Now I’ve been here the equivalent of six or seven weeks over two trips, I’ve got a picture in my head. There may be four million people living here, but they are spread out around the many bays, inlets and coves. Run a piece of string around the coast from one headland to the other and you’d need 362* miles of it. The iconic Harbour Bridge stretches across the narrowest part of the waterway, roughly midway between the Heads and the Parramatta River, which marks the end of Sydney Harbour at the opposite, western end.

The bridge runs north-south across the Harbour and links “Sydney” with North Sydney. They are two very distinct areas. Sydney, on the south side of the Harbour, is the big business centre of Australia, followed by Parramatta, at the extreme western end of the harbour, Melbourne and then North Sydney.
Given that the entire population of Australia is still under twenty-two million, it is easy to understand Sydney’s importance.
*I heard many of these details while on the boat tour – many thanks to the mellow voice of David Jeffreys – and I hope I’ve remembered them clearly. If not, all Australians have my apologies in advance.


Anne Whitfield - author said...

Glad you enjoyed your trip, Jen.
I wish we had been able to meet up for a coffee or lunch.
Hopefully, next time!

Jen Black said...

There never seems enough time to visit everyone, but I thought of you as we drove down to Mollymook. Were we anyway near you?

Anne Whitfield - author said...

Mollymook is about 3 hours away. Canberra is closer at about 2 hours. Did you travel to Mollymook via the coast road? If so you wouldn't have come near us, but if you went to Canberra from Sydneyon the freeway you would have gone passed the turn off to Bowral. LOL