As good as visiting new and interesting sights is, it really doesn’t compare to being in the company of some good friends and thankfully I had a few in Sydney that I had arranged to meet up with on my short two-days-one night trip to the city.
On arrival, I ventured on up to the northern parts of Sydney. After a little detour to see some filming of ‘Home & Away‘ at Palm Beach, I headed back down the coast for about eight kilometres to Newport to meet up with my friend Ruth and her family. I last saw her Sydney in 2012 but my wife and I met up with her husband when he was in Tokyo on business a few years ago. There was no sign of them on my arrival so I had a quick look around and was quite taken back by it’s beautiful, golden sandy beach it was. Given that North Sydney is famed for it’s glorious beaches I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised!
Not being contactable on my mobile was like going back to the old days before phones enabled us to easily be late for appointments! I told Ruth my likely arrival time assuming I managed to get my intended bus from Palm Beach.
Time was fairly limited sadly but a couple of hours together is better than not meeting at all of course. We went to a nice place nearby with some lovely views of the surrounding landscape but unfortunately we arrived at a time when this particular area of Sydney had a power cut! This meant the cafe was unable to provide food but who needs that when you just wanna chat. I did eventually get something to eat by way of a meat pie from a shop by the bus stop just before my departure.
Once back in the CBD I had to take another bus to meet up with a couple of old friends at Hotel Ravesis on Bondi Beach. I met Aaron on my last trip to Sydney seven years ago but hadn’t seen Chris for about 17 years. In these times of high social media presence though it never feels quite so long! I only realised a few months ago that he had actually moved to Australia so that was when I first started to think I might as well visit Sydney to see him and Aaron whilst I was in the country and just an hour or so away by plane.
The beer was flowing during our five hours together and we went to a few places in the area. It was such a great laugh catching up with each other and reminiscing about the good old days when we were at university in Hull together.
When booking the Sydney part of my trip I just decided to book a hostel bed in Bondi. This certainly wasn’t about rolling back the years but just the cheapest and easiest option. It really was just a place to lay my head for a few hours and being drunk would make it easy to sleep no matter how many people were in the dormitory. As it was, there were only five of us in the one room (no bunks, all single beds) so it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it might be!
I certainly wasn’t feeling too good when I got up at 6am the next morning to go into the city to do some stuff before my evening flight. I walked for just over 30 minutes to Bondi Junction Station where at one point it started tipping it down with rain. Luckily it only lasted for a few minutes but the damage was done and parts of me were quite wet. To be fair, the forecast for Sydney ahead of my two day trip was pretty awful so I got very lucky with just this one downpour and a bit of drizzle elsewhere.
After disembarking at Circular Quay Station I thought should get the obligatory shots of Sydney Opera House and Sydney Bridge which originally I wasn’t going to bother with. If you think that train of thought is madness then please be aware that I have been to the city on four previous occasions. A post about Sydney wouldn’t be complete though without such pictures I guess!
I spent the next couple of hours exploring the CBD on foot whilst capturing some filming location shots from the likes of ‘Superman Returns‘ (2006) and ‘The Wolverine‘ (2013). One of the locales for the latter was the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Darling Harbour where half of my time was consumed.
My self-guided walking tour of the city concluded at Central Station where I took the T4 Line all the way to the end of the line at Cronulla Station. A 20 minute bus ride from there took me to Bonna Point Reserve on Prince Charles Parade in Kurnell but I had to wait a full hour before it went due to the infrequency of the particular service I needed. That wasn’t too bad though as it did give me some time to wander that pleasant-looking area and get something to eat.
The sun was most certainly shining during my two hours in the area and there was barely a soul in sight except for the odd dog-walker here and there. A couple of hours was way longer than I ever really needed but due to the limited bus service I had no choice really.
So why did I go all the way out to this area? That would be because just a few weeks before this trip to Australia I found out that it had been used for some “Nagasaki” scenes in ‘The Wolverine‘ movie (blended in with Omishima and Tomonoura in Japan) including the POW camp during WWII. I certainly wasn’t expecting to find too much but if I didn’t go then I’d always be curious about it so my second day in Sydney began very early that morning to fit everything in.
With buses only coming every hour or two in this part of Sydney, planning was of the utmost importance. Whist all went reasonably okay getting there, the return journey from Bonna Point didn’t finish back at the station. For some reason it bypassed the station and ended up at a bus depot somewhere. With a flight back to Melbourne hanging over my head I was a little worried to say the least! The driver told me to head down to the main road and get a bus to the nearest station so I raced off to do that. I asked a couple of people waiting for the bus which stations it was going to stop by. The response was Kogarah Station on the T4 Line which was much further up the line than Cronulla so unbelievably I ended up not losing any time at all. There was a quick change of train at a place called Wolli Creek. Names don’t come more typically-Australian than that!
From Wolli Creek I took a short ride on to the Domestic Airport ready for my early evening flight back to Avalon Airport which is just under 20 kilometres south of the wonderfully named You Yangs where I was to go hiking the following day. However, I went 80 kilometres east past Melbourne city to spend about 10 hours at my sister’s house before returning the next morning!
Click here to read ‘Australia 2019 Pt XI: You Can Take The Man Out Of Japan But…’