Tag Archive | Sydney

Perfect in Winter

Exploring Australia

It may be the middle of winter, but the day we visit Palm Beach the weather couldn’t be better. 

Unless you live in Sydney you may not be familiar with the Northern Beaches suburb of Palm Beach. But if you’re a fan of Australian television soap operas you’ll definitely have heard of its alter ego, Summer Bay. Palm Beach is the setting for the outdoor scenes of the TV show, Home and Away

Located on a narrow peninsula, Palm Beach is almost completely surrounded by water. On the eastern side is the famous beach featured on television, a 2.3 kilometre stretch of white sand edged by the Pacific Ocean. North of the peninsula is the wide expanse of Broken Bay while on the west is Pittwater, a deep and wide river estuary . 

We’re staying in Gosford on the northern side of Broken Bay, and the best way to travel to Palm Beach is on the local ferry.

From the terminal at Ettalong, the ferry sails into the open waters of Broken Bay. The half hour journey follows a clearly marked route between Box Head and Barrenjoey Headland. Even from a distance the Barrenjoey Lighthouse stands out high above the water on the headland. 

At Palm Beach the ferry docks at the pier alongside Pittwater Park. We’ve already decided to avoid the busy beach area popular with fans of the TV show; instead we stay on the quieter Pittwater side.

With freshly cooked fish and chips for lunch, we settle ourselves near the water’s edge. Children paddle in the shallows, sailboats at anchor gently rock in the tidal current and we just sit, enjoying the beautiful scenery. 

It’s the perfect way to spend a winter’s day.



An Australian Point of View #1 Capital Cities

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world with a land mass of 7,692,014 square kilometres. Despite its size, Australia is composed of just six states and two territories, all with their own capital city. Every capital has its own distinctive architecture; some buildings are more well-known than others, but each plays a part in the story of its city.

Brisbane, Queensland

The heritage-listed Albert Street Uniting Church, completed in 1889, is dwarfed by the surrounding city tower blocks. By the early 1900s it was the main Methodist Church in the city and is now the home of Wesley Mission Queensland. With its Victorian Gothic architecture and its inner city position, the church is a popular wedding venue.

Melbourne, Victoria

The Arts Centre Melbourne is Australia’s busiest Performing Arts complex. Construction began in 1973 and the buildings were completed in stages, the last being finished in 1984. The steel spire is 162 metres high and is surrounded at the base by a ruffle of steel mesh reminiscent of a ballerina’s tutu.

Adelaide, South Australia

The scoreboard at the Adelaide Oval has been keeping track of cricket matches since 3 November, 1911. The heritage-listed Edwardian scoreboard is the only one of its type in the Southern Hemisphere and is still manually operated.  A tour of Adelaide Oval includes a visit inside the four storey scoreboard.

Perth, Western Australia

The Bell Tower in Barracks Square houses the Swan Bells, a collection of 18 change ringing bells. Twelve of the bells come from St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London and date from the 13th century. They were gifted to the city of Perth during Australia’s Bicentenary, while the Bell Tower was completed in time for Millennium celebrations.

Hobart, Tasmania

The Shot Tower at Taroona, just outside Hobart, was built in 1879 and was, for four years, Australia’s tallest building. Lead shot was produced in the tower for 35 years. Next door is the home of Joseph Moir, who constructed the tower and other landmark buildings in Hobart. The shot tower is still the tallest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

Darwin, Northern Territory

Government House, on the Esplanade in Darwin, is the oldest European building in the Northern Territory. Completed in 1871, the house is the official residence of the Administrator of the Northern Territory. The Victorian Gothic design is complemented by wide verandas, which help to cool the house in Darwin’s tropical climate.

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Parliament House is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia. This is the second Parliament House and replaced Old Parliament House, which was in use from 1927 to 1988. This new building was opened in 1988 by Queen Elizabeth II during Australia’s Bicentenary celebrations. The Commonwealth Coat of Arms adorns the front façade, and an Australian flag the size of a half tennis court flies at the top of the 81 metre high flagpole.

Sydney, New South Wales

The Sydney Opera House, opened in 1973, overlooks Sydney Harbour at Bennelong Point. Every year, more than eight million people visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site and it hosts more than 1,500 events and performances. The Opera House becomes a focal point during Sydney’s Vivid Festival each June.

Participating in Becky’s #RoofSquares Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge – Fleeting

Vivid Sydney is a glorious festival of light, music and ideas held every winter in the harbour district of the city. Amazing digital lighting creates a world of colour and movement using famous buildings and the city skyline as the backdrop. In Darling Harbour the light walk includes a display of dancing waterfalls, fireworks and lasers set to music, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge glows with colour. These spectacular illuminations may be fleeting but the memories will last a very long time.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Change

The Central Business District of Sydney is bordered by the bays and inlets of Sydney Harbour, expansive parklands and busy Central Station. Its modern skyline features many of Australia’s tallest buildings including World Tower and MLC Centre. Sydney Tower, with its unique style, is the tallest at 309 metres.

Tucked away in a corner between Circular Quay and the Bradfield Highway is an area known as The Rocks, which dates from the first settlement of the colony of New South Wales. Campbells Cove is named after Robert Campbell, a Scottish merchant who built a small row of sandstone buildings between 1839 and 1861. They were used as warehouses for goods such as sugar and tea which were imported from India. Many of Australia’s earliest buildings still stand in The Rocks and are now used as restaurants, cafés and galleries.

What would Robert Campbell say if he could see his storehouses dwarfed by the giants of modern Sydney?


Weekly Photo Challenge – Forward

Lachlan Macquarie was the Governor of the colony of New South Wales from 1 January 1810 to 30 November 1821. He was forward thinking and played a large part in the colony’s transition to a free settlement. He was responsible for the creation of the first official currency of the colony; the first official use of the name “Australia”; the street plan upon which the central city of Sydney was founded and the creation of the Bank of New South Wales. Governor Macquarie was also a great supporter of early explorers and oversaw many expeditions which opened up the interior of the country.

English: Lachlan Macquarie

Convicts whose sentences had been completed or who had received pardons were known as emancipists, and Governor Macquarie recognised that many of them had useful skills and talents. He employed several emancipists in important government positions. Francis Greenway became Australia’s first colonial architect and designed many buildings which can still be seen in Sydney, and William Redfern was a leading surgeon and personal doctor to Governor Macquarie.

Lachlan Macquarie returned to Scotland at the end of his governorship and died there in 1824. He is buried on Mull and his headstone reads “The Father of Australia”.

Macquarie Place, a small park in central Sydney, is named after Governor Macquarie. This obelisk in the park, designed by Francis Greenway, was erected in 1818 to mark the point from which all distances in the colony were measured.



What would Lachlan Macquarie say if he could see how far forward this nation has moved since then?

Weekly Photo Challenge – My 2012 in Pictures

Our Australian travels in 2012

Happy 2013 to everyone!

Weekly Photo Challenge – Delicate

Dictionary.com defines lace as “a netlike ornamental fabric made of threads by hand or machine”. In September 2011 while my sister and I were holidaying in Sydney, we went to an exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum which featured artworks created around the theme of lace. These beautiful pieces were so delicate and we were admiring of the many hours of intricate work that had gone into their creation.

But as is the case in any art exhibition there were some pieces which were unusual or weird or that we simply didn’t understand. We decided to undertake our own study of lace during the rest of our holiday and began taking photos of lace in nature. Often one of us would stop suddenly, call out “Lace!!” and start taking photos of something quite inconspicuous. It became all-consuming and we amused ourselves greatly!

These photos were all taken in the Blue Mountains and were our attempts to capture the delicacy that is nature.

Wisteria in the garden of the Norman Lindsay Gallery, Faulconbridge

Wisteria in the garden of the Norman Lindsay Gallery, Faulconbridge


Shadows on a brick wall, Everglades Historic House and Gardens, Leura

Shadows on a brick wall, Everglades Historic House and Gardens, Leura


Cherry blossom, Leura

Cherry blossom, Leura


Looking down on the forest in the Jamison Valley. The black dot is the shadow of the Scenic Skyways cable car.

Looking down on the forest in the Jamison Valley. The black dot is the shadow of the Scenic Skyways cable car.


Shadows on the boardwalk, Jamison Valley

Shadows on the boardwalk, Jamison Valley


Sunset over the Blue Mountains, Katoomba

Sunset over the Blue Mountains, Katoomba