Today is our last day in Australia! That came around fast…. although it seems ages ago we were in Broadbeach. We’ve done such a lot over the last 5 weeks. It’s been brilliant. And although the first two weeks were a bit mixed weatherwise, the rest of the time we’ve had great weather.
Today, was a typically gorgeous day in Sydney. Cloudless blue sky, about 28C, light breeze. We decided to visit another of the sheltered harbour beaches. This time Balmoral. To get there, we took the ferry across the bay to Toranga Zoo wharf and then caught a bus there straight to Balmoral. The ferry took about 12 minutes, the bus about 20 mins. We got there at 930 and the beach was already getting quite busy. Nothing like Manly had been, but busier than the weekday beaches.
Balmoral is a long, golden sand bay, much longer than Camp Cove or Neilsen. There are good facilities: loos and cafes. At one end is a permanent swimming area, separated off from the open bay with low walls. We got a good spot against the rear wall of the beach, spread out the towels and lay and read. Being a bank holiday today, there were quite a few families on the beach, enjoying the water. It was lovely swimming. Some yachts came into the bay and anchored out beyond the swimming areas. Everyone enjoying the sunny weather.
We headed back at about 430. A lovely, last day here in this gorgeous city. Packed as much as possible for the morning. We’re in good shape with that.
Had dinner at the Gantry again. Lucky we made a reservation as it was full. We had another lovely dinner. They gave us loads of food tonight, maybe because it’s Easter weekend. ?? Much more than last night…. got rather stuffed. It’s really good there. Far superior to a normal type of hotel restaurant.
Some last reflections on our time here then:
- Australians have a wonderful standard of living and there is plenty of space here still. You can feel it’s still a young country.
- It isn’t cheap for tourists. Not as cheap as the U.S.A. and definitely not as cheap as South Africa. But, with some care, you can make it affordable by using self catering places.
- The beaches are sensational whether you want all out surfing ones or sheltered swimming ones.
- Just as sensational as the beaches, are the hinterland forests and mountains, preserved in the excellent National Parks.
- The wildlife and birdlife are exciting and quite weird to the European eye. Lots to see.
- The distances are huge. We’re glad that once we got off QM2, we concentrated on a relatively short distance to explore i.e. about 1400 km in length. As it was we travelled 2600 km by car in our time ashore.
- We found only welcome and friendship everywhere we went. People were very open and honest.
- We wondered if a week in Sydney was too long. It wasn’t. There is a lot to do and we haven’t scratched it, being totally distracted by the wonderful beaches.
Things we liked a lot!
- Aussie meat pies
- Dan Murphy’s huge bottle shops.
- BYO wine in lots of restaurants, whether they have a wine list or not.
- Australian coffee is the best!
We’ve had a fantastic time and hope we may come back some day. It’s a long way, that’s the only thing.