Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sunday 10 February, 9 pm, Dunedin

The weather did clear eventually, but not before we left the Otago peninsula. It lifted for a few minutes, and we could almost see the sun, but then the fog settled back down, and the cliffs disappeared again into the mist. We did get out of the campervan, though, and saw New Zealand fur seals, spotted shags, and a big, big, albatross (there is a webcam to see the albatross in the colony, but every time I check, it's nighttime in New Zealand!), and a few dead rabbits and seagulls (it would appear that poison is laid around the perimeter of the albatross sanctuary to prevent pests from getting in).

And then we had a spot of lunch, read the papers some more and headed back towards the campsite. The fog has lifted over here, but it looks like it’s still lingering over the peninsula. We’re heading to Arrowtown tomorrow, so it’s bye bye foggy Dunedin, hello sunny (hopefully) Central Otago.

Now, back to Sydney. Well, so much for the sun always shines in Australia. We got a bit of sunshine in the late afternoon on Saturday. That was it – the skies were grey for most of the time, it rained a good bit on Sunday, and it poured out of the heavens on Monday the 4th. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much rain. It just would not stop. We did go to Manly beach, and crossed the main avenue to the seafront under torrential rains, took a 5-minute look at the sea, then turned back to our ferry back to Darling Harbour, where we spent the rest of the afternoon at the Aquarium, like most tourists in town that day. (Here is a link to the crocodile webcam. You can view the crocodile from below and from above - at the top of the stairs, there is a warning sign saying that "If the fall doesn't kill you, the crocodile will!" Charming!). Great Seal and Shark underwater tunnels and a fabulous reef aquarium, by the way.

Sydney has got this great network of ferries criss-crossing the harbour, and we found it the best way to get around. Along with the trains/subway, trams and busses, Sydney seems to have an excellent public transport system.

As our luggage did not make it on the same plane as us (despite the assurances from the British Airways representative at the gate), we took the train in from the airport to our hotel, the Grace Hotel on York Street. Double-decker train carriages, very quiet on a Saturday morning of course, and we were at our hotel in about 20 minutes. And it cost us about € 14! Compare that to the € 70 we paid for our taxi to Dublin airport, and the time spent stuck in traffic on the M50. I was delighted with the Grace Hotel, which Brendan had picked on the Internet. It’s an art-deco style hotel, with a lovely old-world feel, but modern facilities, and is within easy reach of most attractions. We got a room upgrade for $20 a night, and stayed in a corner room on the 8th floor, with a glimpse of Darling Harbour, which is only a 5-minute walk away.
Hundreds more pictures to pick from (we took over 2000 over the whole holiday!), so the pictures I'm posting right now are not necessarily the best ones, but I think I'll wait for Brendan to review and edit them before I do major work on the pictures.

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