The Rocks and Manly Beach

A lovely Sydney Sunday!  We had a good (free) breakfast in our hotel and then headed off to meet Lucy down at the start of the Rocks area near the cruise terminal.  Our first visit of the day was to the arts and handicrafts market that fills the cobbled streets there on a Saturday and Sunday.  It was boiling hot today – 33C, so we hugged the shade as we went from stall to stall.  There was some really lovely stuff.  It’s a nice market, not full of tat.  Really stylish, sometimes expensive things.  I bought myself a new pair of ear rings, only $30, rose quartz and gold plated.  We bought a few other bits and bobs.  Lucy liked it.  After a while we stopped and she had some sort of oriental breakfast dumplings and we had cold drinks.

Bob and I then dashed back to the hotel, dumped our stuff, got our swimsuits on and our beach stuff and went back and we all went down to the Circular Quay and got the ferry to Manly.  Bob and I got Opal cards yesterday – bit like Oyster.  They let us travel everywhere quite cheaply.  Somehow or other we ended up getting the fast ferry to Manly for the same price as the slow one which had a massive queue.  I think we went through the wrong gap in the fence, but heyho!!!!  Its a lovely boat trip to Manly across the massive space of Sydney Harbour.  Being a weekend, there were loads of yachts out of all sizes, racing along in the breeze.  A lovely sight.  It took about 20 minutes on the fast ferry to Manly.

There is a colony of Fairy Penguins there – the last in NSW apparently, and they hang out at the Manly Wharf but it was too hot for them.  They were hiding.  We walked down the main, pedestrianised drag to the beach, called The Corso.  Lots of beachy shops on either side and food outlets and restaurants.  It’s a really buzzy, lively atmosphere over there.  I really like Manly.  We got down onto the beach by about 1.  It wasn’t too crowded at that point, although it was busy and the surf was up.  We set up the tent shelter, Bob showing Lu how to do it as we are giving it to her to take up to Queensland tomorrow.   She is so pale that she will fry otherwise.  🙂 Had a bit of a dip.  It is quite challenging there when the surf is up.  I just dipped down a few times.  You can’t swim.  Lu thought it was freezing.  It wasn’t.  English waters are freezing.  But it wasn’t as warm as Queensland, that’s for sure.

Had a lovely afternoon pegged out in our shelter.  As the afternoon wore on we became surrounded by a massive group of gap year students which was entertaining to watch.  Love people watching.  Some of them were obviously doing a bar/cocktail making course as they were all studying from a cocktail making text book.  And some were learning to juggle with bottles.

Left the beach at about 4 and wandered back up the Corso.  Lucy bought some bikinis in one of the shops, and we looked at some dresses and things.  Got the slow (30 minutes) ferry back to the Circular Quay.  Lucy then went back to her flat to get ready for the evening and we went back to the hotel, showered and changed.

Got a Uber to a noodle restaurant in Chinatown to meet Lucy, Georgia, Florent, Steve and Fay.  Lucy, Fay, Steve and Lucas (not there this evening) are off to the Whitsunday Islands in the morning.  We had a really fun dinner of many different sorts of dumplings and noodle dishes.  Bob ordered a soup called spicy haggis soup which turned out to be a huge bowl of blistering hot red spicy sauce with lots of noodles and strings of tripe in it!!!!!  It was impossible to eat without getting it all over the place.  A Nightmare!

Said farewell on the pavement as we all headed off to our different Ubers.  They are going to have such a fantastic time on the rest of their trip: sailing in the Whitsundays, and staying in Airlie Beach, 3 days in Byron Bay, a couple of days wine tasting and cheese sampling in the Hunter Valley, a couple of days in a log cabin in the woods of the Blue Mountains and then back to Sydney for a couple of days at the end.

So back to the hotel and our last days in Australia ahead.