Sydney - Last Days Down Under!

You guys - we have established, several times over now, that Sydney is an awesome city.  Maybe it's taken me so long to write this post because I don't know how to keep saying that, or maybe it's because I really like going back to think about it, and after this post, I'll be done recounting my time there!  Sadness!  However, I must persevere and give you a few more memories, but I'll keep it brief.

As I was staying with a local couple, they had many opinions about what I should do.  They DID recommend that I visit the Taronga Zoo there in town, but for whatever reason, I just didn't have the motivation to do so.  Instead, I chose to take another of their tips, and I spent the day out at one of Sydney's beaches - Watson's Bay.  If you look at a map, you'll notice that this is basically the last beach on the Sydney harbor, just before it opens out to the greater ocean.  Luckily, a bus that passed just by my apartment went all the way out there to the end, which meant it was incredibly simple to get to.  Also, as a bonus, that particular bus line went through some SPECTACULAR neighborhoods.  There is some SERIOUS money in Sydney - and I wasn't even always on the water on this particular bus route.  In any case, the bus came to it's terminus at a lovely beach-side park, complete with a cute little beach village.  I elected to grab some grub at the little fish & chips shack with a lovely view out over the bay. (Cheaper option than the fancier actual restaurant next door, same family runs them both apparently.)  It was another gloriously sunny day, but I have a confession to make:  this was late March, which meant my beloved Duke Blue Devils were scheduled to play a very important game in the NCAA tournament in the middle of that afternoon.  I did make a half-hearted attempt to see if there was perhaps a satellite TV available in the little village, but alas - no luck.  SO, I walked down the little path to the swimming beach, settled down, and pulled out my phone.  Yup- I watched Gamecast on my phone, using precious int'l roaming data time, to watch my college basketball team, while on a beach in Sydney.  I fully appreciate how ridiculous that is, but hey!  It was a lovely setting to watch scores update, and we won!  See how pretty:

And yes- that is the city skyline in the distance!  So, anyway, once the game was done, I was done sitting in the sun, and wanted to check out the little hike out to the actual headland.  Guess what?  It was ALSO pretty!  I know, hard to believe something in Sydney was attractive.  There was a little nude beach hidden along the path, which was pretty funny (mostly for the sign: "Nudity permitted on beach only").  Also, as with most nude beaches in urban settings:  all unattractive old men.
 Here are a selection of pics from this lovely little walk:

 The mouth of the harbor!  (Manly Beach is on the other side of that land)

 This is a view back over the beach & town of Watson's Bay.  Bondi Beach is on the other side of this ridge, on the ocean-front, rather than the harbor.
Rather than taking the bus back home, I couldn't resist taking the ferry back to the CBD, and it was yet more of the pretty - especially as I saw the crazy water-front homes in those fancy neighborhoods along the way.  Also- some great shots on a clear day of the Opera House!  :)
 (*note the low rectangular building to the right of this pic?  That's low-income housing.  Amongst multi-million dollar homes.  !!!)


Finally, on my very last day: sailing!  I think I mentioned earlier that I had decided to do this after having such a great time in Auckland, and seeing the boats zip around the harbor a few days before.  Well- it lived up to expectations.  At this point, it's not like I saw anything new, as it basically takes the route up the harbor towards the Manly pier, and it's not like I had the greatest companions with me this time (it was a tour group of older, very nice folks, who really were concerned about crossing from side to side of the boat as necessary), but it was still a really great day.  There's just something about zipping along under sails as you pass under that beautiful bridge and by that amazing opera house: 
 There was also a super cool old ship in Darling Harbor as we pulled back in to port:
 
So, with that, unfortunately my time Down Under (except nobody actually calls it that there), drew to a close.  I have serious amounts of love for Sydney - like, I could live there easily.  Very, very cool place, with lots to offer.  I didn't speak much about my meals, but they were quite good - unlike much of Australia & NZ, Sydney does have a decent food culture.  I also didn't go to many museums, but there were many there, and they're apparently quite good.  So, no matter what you want, it seems you can find it in Sydney.  Go there - for reals.
 
Also, dear readers, I'm not done yet.  I've decided to keep blogging my adventures, even if I am way, way behind.  I've got a family trip to NYC, and then 5 magical weeks in Great Britain to tell you all about.  That's right, I decided to extend my trip of a lifetime!  Hopefully some of you will still enjoy reading about my experiences as a solo traveler.  :)