My Grand Old Girl Still Has Some Tricks

December 7, 2006 at 12:20 am (Uncategorized)

Some New Zealand friends of mine and their kids are in Sydney for the day today. Sydney is just a brief stop on the way to their next big adventure, but I’m glad for any time at all with them because I haven’t seen them since my wedding. This is entirely my fault, because I promised them and two other Kiwi friends that we would head their way post haste. Nearly two years later, and I have over-promised and woefully under-delivered. 2007 must change all this. New Zealand, here we come!

At any rate, Manda and Graham’s one day visit, combined with Erin’s invitation to Carols by Candlelight in the Domain, has made me pause and see Sydney from a slightly different angle. I guess having been born and raised here, it’s hard for me to see it from the point of view of a tourist. It’s always been home. But I think this familiarity makes me a little slack about, ironically, getting to know it better. There are so many ‘Sydney Things to Do’ that I have never, ever done.

One of them is go to Carols by Candlelight. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a heathen, so all that nativity narrativising can start to wear me down. It’s got ‘Bad Musical’ overtones about it, too, but in its favour, I do very much like candles. And I guess under the stars and the moon it would probably all be quite hypnotic (all part of a cunning conversion plan, no doubt), but for my sense that if I went, it would almost certainly be the night the Domain flooded with rain. I think it’s one of those great calendar events you start to really pay attention to once you have kids… I’m happy to talk about it then.

But there are so many OTHER things I haven’t done that I BET Lonely Planet tells everyone that any visitor to Sydney MUST do. I haven’t been to the weekend growers’ market at Fox Studios (and for a big foodie, this really is appalling). I haven’t caught the train out to Cabramatta for a famous lunchtime taste of Vietnam in Sydney (something we’ve talked about doing for years – how hard can it be, why don’t we just do it??!). I haven’t done the Harbour Bridge Climb (although I have walked and run across the bridge many, many times). I haven’t been to the Hyde Park Barracks Museum. I haven’t been to the Mint. I haven’t been to the Australian National Maritime Museum. I’ve walked around the outside looking in, but I have never done the tour inside Government House. I’ve never taken a surfing lesson, no kidding, even though I have lived right by different Sydney beaches for years.

So I am going to start doing these things, one by one, in my city. And revisiting some of the others, too, like the Powerhouse Museum and Taronga Zoo, that I haven’t visited since I was a child. And maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you about all the things I HAVE done in Sydney, because even looking at that long list, I’m suddenly feeling pretty confident that I’m doing okay. Sydney and I, we go way back.



  1. Neil said,


    I’ve not done the bridge climb either because I’ve heard it’s a rip off. You can however go up one of the pylons (the one nearest the Opera House) for a fraction of the cost but the same views (albeit from only one viewpoint). But up in the pylon there’s an exhibition which has a picture of some kittens on a minature purpose built merry-go-round from the time when there was actually a cattery up there.

    Sydney also has an inordinate amount of dog statues. Apart from the one outside the QVB can you find any more…..

  2. doctordi said,

    I think only people who aren’t earning Aussie dollars ever DO fork out for the bridge climb – it’s a rort, man! So I might do the pylon climb instead…thanks for the tip, Neil! Kind of gross about the cat population – feral, I presume…?

    Ah yes, the dog statues. If you can tell a lot about a place by the figures honoured in its public monuments, then Sydney reveres the hound. Any visit to any walking path near any body of water anywhere in this city bears this out – people tote their doggies like personal accomplishments. Refugees? Not on your life. Small yapping dogs? Please, Rex, accept the keys to the city from a grateful nation.

    I’ll start reading the dog dedications and report back. I’ll be the go to girl for Sydney’s canine history in no time.

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