Friday we set off to explore the National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour. Train to Circular Quay then ferry to Pyrmont and we were there. As well as the actual museum itself there is the fantastically restored barque James Craig, the replica Endeavour, submarine HMS Onslow and the last of the Australian big gun destroyers HMS Vampire as well as the small fleet to explore.
A volunteer guide took us around some of the museum exhibits then we went to explore the Onslow and Vampire. It was really eye opening to literally crawl through HMS Onslow and gave use a great respect for those who serve aboard submarines. Cramped and claustrophobic would be the best way to describe it. All too soon it was time to leave as we like to be on the return train before the evening rush. We had not seen nearly enough and decided to spend another day here.
Saturday we took the River Cat ferry to Parramatta. This 55 minute trip was part of our $2.50 day pass, fantastic. It was a great trip that showed us a lot more of Sydney. I can thoroughly recommend this trip to anyone coming to Sydney. At very low tides the ferry terminates at Rydalmere because of lack of water in the upper reaches of the river however we got all the way. From Rydalmere the river is only just wide enough for the River Cat, at Parramatta she turns right at the weir. We spent several hours exploring Parramatta. In the Westfield shopping centre, one of the biggest in Australia, it was difficult to see a European face. We noticed that most Sydney siders seem to have had a mobile phone or ipod (sometimes both) permanently grafted to an ear. We returned to Circular Quay by the River Cat and finally got back to the caravan about 18:00.
I must say the traffic here is certainly not the same as the traffic at Orford.
This caravan park, like most parks, is very impersonal. Everyone keeps to themselves and they disappear inside to watch TV at dusk. There appears to be no socialising at all. At bush camps the opposite is true. Everyone wanders around talking and having a drink with other campers. Of course there are often only a handful of campers at any bush camp site. Unfortunately there is no bush or free camping anywhere near Sydney so we are forced to use a park.
Sunday we again set off to again explore the Maritime Museum and also (and more importantly) to meet up with our nephews son Edward, Robyn and Christopher came along as well. Unfortunately our arrival at Circular Quay coincided with the end of the Sydney marathon and 30,000 competitors were also looking for transport. We gave up on the ferries and walked to the museum.
Spent several hours in the museum. The shop has a great collection of nautical books. I was very strong and resisted the temptation to buy any.
Then Edward, Robyn and Christopher arrived. It was great to see them all again. Edward is such a happy little fellow, as he is already taking swimming lessons I should be able to take him skin diving next year. Had a great meal at Darling Harbour and then strolled, via a delicious hot chocolate, to Town Hall train station. We left them there and boarded the train for home.
The North Ryde underground train station which is the closest station to Lane Cove and therefore the station we use is fairly new. The station entry is via a lift or two very steep and long escalators down a very big hole to the train level.
Monday, and its another fine day so we are off to explore more of Sydney.