HAL 2019 World – Days 40-42 Sea Days & Sydney, Australia – Part 1

March 8, 2019 Paul Groves

Before we move on to Australia, I’d like to say that I was very impressed with New Zealand.  The people and country felt “young”.  If I were to consider moving to another country, New Zealand would be the first place.  

After we left Picton, we sailed across the Tasman Sea for two days.  This area is notorious for rough seas and weather.  However our two days were very calm and enjoyable. 

We arrived in Sydney, Australia at 5:00 am.

Sydney’s first settlement was a penal colony established by the British in Australia.  In addition to  the British soldiers on the first ships, there were the first 850 convicts transported from England.  Many hundreds more were to follow (If you’re interested in what crimes it took to get transported to Australia, buy a bottle of 19 Crimes wine.  You can use information from the bottle label and access a fun site on the internet to find out why the prisoner on your label was transported).

The first penal colony was to be located a little further south at Botany Bay (a side note: the Star Trek prison starship S.S. Botany Bay was named after this colony.  See TV episode “Space Seed” and movie “Wrath of Khan”).  However it was found to be a very untenable location and was soon moved to the Sydney location.

Sydney is a very modern city but still has pockets of old buildings from long ago intermixed with the new.  It’s major landmarks are the Harbour Bridge (often called “the coat hanger”) and the world famous Opera House.

Our tour today was a drive around the city and a visit to the Opera House.  However our friends went on the Harbour Bridge climb.  They changed into jumpsuits and were harnessed to railings and walked up to the apex of the bridge on a girder about 3 1/2 feet wide.  They were on the climb when we were at the Opera House so I’m pretty sure that’s them in then closeup.  Having a great desire to continue living, Paul and I declined the tour.

The Opera House is actually composed of 7 different performance venues with the two largest being the Concert Hall and Joan Sutherland Theatre (Opera).  Many times there are simultaneous events at each venue making it a very busy complex.  We were privileged to hear the Symphony orchestra practicing while we were there.

The exterior of the building is meant to be “shells”.  Each shell appears uniformly white from a distance, but they actually feature a subtle chevron pattern composed of 1,056,006 tiles in two colours: glossy white and matte cream.  Due to the design they never need cleaning as the dirt washes off in the rain!  The shells also gave the interior a very spacious feeling.

Open to the outside, the building contains numerous cafes, restaurants, bars and retail outlets.

After our tour was over, we returned to the ship.  A couple of hours later Ron returned to the Opera House to see a performance of “Turandot”.  The theater was packed.  The  production was outstanding and the acoustics in the hall were great.  He was sorry to see it end.