Autumn Comes in Spring!Angela | January 28th, 2007 | 10:35 pm
Autumn and Angela at the Harbour Bridge
This is a belated post that is long, long overdue. A good friend from my grad program at CMU was here to visit just before Thanksgiving. Autumn was the first non-family to come and visit, and we loved having her. She spent 5 days in Sydney before heading off for a week’s trek in New Zealand. It turned out to be quite the task to see enough of Sydney and environs in just 5 days, but we made a valiant attempt to show her the best of. Part of the delay in getting this post up, was sorting through the massive number of photos that both she and we shot.
The weather was somewhat cooperative for her stay, though cooler than normal. Autumn arrived on a Wednesday night, and Thursday turned out to be the coldest November day on record! (Remember this is late spring down under.) It was a low of 45 that morning, with rain and wind all day (note that the day after Autumn left, we had temperatures reach near 100 degrees!).
Autumn at the Royal Botanic Gardens
We had a few sunny spots and managed to see a bit of the harbour, Opera House and Botanic Gardens. After a pleasant lunch at the Opera Bar (including a civilized glass of Australian white), we headed up to Chatswood so that Autumn could see 2nd Road’s offices and so that my coworkers could meet the “cool designer from Microsoft.” We had a nice chat for about an hour, where Autumn was grilled by 2nd Roaders on the experience of “design at Microsoft”.
Dinner that night was at a wonderful little hole-in-the-wall japanese fusion place called Ben Bu. They have really terrific sushi for a deceivingly reasonable price. It was especially good washed down with a few cold BYO beers.
Our starter of giant fried prawns wrapped in potato noodles
Autumn and Angela enjoying the meal
Thankfully the sun was out on Friday, and the weather improving. We had a high of about 75. Autumn and I headed out to Manly on the ferry for a day at the beach. We first made our way over to Spring Cove, a secluded little beach on the harbour side of the peninsula. For a good hour we had the beach entirely to ourselves.
Autumn relaxing on the beach at Spring Cove
Exploring a waterfall at the beach
Once we’d had enough fun scrambling over rocks and peering into little pools full of anemones and other colorful sealife, we headed back toward the main beach, picking up a hot lunch of fish and chips. We wolfed this down overlooking the Tasman Sea, under the watchful gaze of several jealous seagulls.
Then we walked up the beach toward Shelley Beach, along a gorgeous stretch of rocky pools called the Fairy Bower, where the water achieves unbelievable hues of aquamarine and turquoise.
Autumn going out of her way to color-coordinate with the sea
Rock pool colors
We made our way up to the cliffs that wrap around the North Head. Much cooler up here, but the view is spectacular.
Autumn and Angela with a vista of the Tasman Sea
A cliffside view…
That evening, we returned to meet Eric for an evening out at the Sky Lounge, one of the tallest points in Sydney. Some of Eric’s co-workers had organised a night out, so we decided this was a good way to see Sydney from another perspective. The view was grand, and the champagne was flowing freely. We got some dancing in, to some catchy 80’s tunes, and later drunkenly dragged ourselves to Chinatown for a great late-night dinner at one of our favorite authentic places for ginger fish and braised vegetables.
The Sky Lounge in the tower just behind Autumn
We were hoping to do an overnight somewhere south of Sydney on the coast, but didn’t manage to find a decent place to stay for one night, since of the hotels insist on a 2-night minimum on weekends. So instead we did a day trip down to Royal National Park, which is about 40 km south of Sydney, just below Botany Bay.
We got off the train at a stop called Waterfall, which was suggested in one of the tour books I have, and sounded promising. At the station there was no information about the park, but a sign indicated that the park was to the left. So we walked out to the road and figured we’d bump into a map or a visitor’s center or something. Well, no signage, but we did bump into a local woman walking with her two young girls and she indicated that the trail started just past the cricket pitch, and would take us to a waterfall and then we could wind back to Heathcote, the next stop on the train. Once we found the trail, it indicated that the waterfall was 6 km, so we set off.
Angela and Autumn at the trail entrance
Probably this was a little naive. We didn’t have lunch– just some fruit and candy bars and a bottle of water each. By the time we did make it back to Heathcote it was 5 hours and a good 11km later. We were pretty exhausted and dehydrated. But we did see some great scenery and lots of interesting flora, trekking through numerous different habitats along the way. The waterfall, alas, was dry, due to the draught, but we did stumble upon a pretty pool in a creek that was running low.
Most importantly, that day was Autumn’s birthday, so once we returned to civilization and had a great meal at a Korean restaurant. (Autumn wanted Duk Bok Gi– a spicy rice noodle dish we would never refuse.) It was the first time we did an entirely vegaquarian korean meal (vegetarian, but with fish), and it was great. A feast for the eyes as well as the tummy.
Duk Bok Gi at Seoul Ria in the Sydney CBD
Cakes at 85âˆ˜C
Happy Birthday, Autumn!
Sunday was another beach day, but this time we caught the bus out to Bondi. Even on a hazy day, the sidewalks and cafes were teaming with people. We had a great lunch at a trendy cafe called Blue Orange and then wandered down to the shore to take a walk along the Scultpture by the Sea project. This is an annual open air sculpture exhibition that follows a walkway along the rocky shoreline. Unfortunately, thousands of other people had the same idea that day, so we didn’t so much stroll along as get pushed along by the crowds. We ended up relaxing on a smaller beach called Bronte Beach.
Chicken, Goat Cheese and Walnuts on a bed of Rocket, a la Blue Orange
Tuna Wrap with Chips (nÃ©e French Fries)
Crowds at Bondi’s Sculpture by the Sea project
One of the many beach sculptures
Autumn bracing into the wind on the cliffs at Bondi
Monday was Autumn’s last day, and she spent it wandering around some of Sydney’s neighborhoods, and a second trip to the Botanic Gardens. That night, we had a wonderful farewell feast at The Nepalese Kitchen, a restaurant on Crown Street. It was a really interesting menu, kind of a halfway between Indian and Chinese cuisine. We had some steamed dumplings and a kind of pankcake for starters, and a fish curry and bean curry for the main. You order breads and spicy relishes to accompany as needed. Along with a great bottle of BYO Australian white, it was a fun feast. And the ambience was terrific– dark, rough-hewn beams and colorful textiles. We finished off with some delectable sweets for dessert.
The Nepalese Kitchen on Crown St, Sydney
The wonderful spread of Nepalese food
A more comprehensive list of photos covering more of Autumns trip can be found on the photo page.
All in all, we covered a lot of ground in 5 days, but were sad to see Autumn go. You can see the next chapter on her New Zealand trip at her photo blog.