Very good series of shows from England about “extreme railways” by Chris Tarrant, Channel 5. Link below to the Channel 5 website is the official site for the show, but the episodes are not playable. Following links are from YouTube for the 3 episodes produced.
My second full day in Sydney consisted of a walking tour of a couple of places I wanted to go and then just roaming around the town. Wound up walking about 17 miles total over the course of the day.
It was today that I also found a shortcut to go downtown. Previously, I would exit the hotel, and follow the street north and then head south again – basically around the peninsula. This is because the hotel is at a higher elevation, so the street followed a path that gradually lead down to sea level. As it turns out, there is a staircase a block west of the hotel. Shaved a lot of time off my walking!
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HMAS Onslow: This submarine was commissioned in 1968 and served the Royal Australian Navy for 30 years before becoming an exhibit at the Maritime Museum. Link to more information.
HMAS Vampire: This destroyer is the largest class of battleship in the Royal Australian Navy and was commissioned in 1959. As the largest class of battleship, I should point out that it isn’t a particularly big ship. Apparently the Australian Navy built much smaller and more nimble ships than the US Navy does. Link to more information.
Barque James Craig: The original was built in 1874 and restored in 2001. This is a working tall ship, it regularly takes people on sailing trip. Very interesting to tour and see what the interior of a tall ship is like. Link to more information.
This is a really interesting museum, straddling the line between engineering and design. There is a very large exhibit of steam engines. In fact, the museum has a steam running through the building an can demonstrate many of the engines on display. There is a photography exhibit of railroad photography. Unfortunately, there was only 1 of a US railroad, and that was of Union Pacific. Most of the entries are from other places around the world. There was also several exhibits of technology, both new and old, and transportation.
While in Sydney, the 2012 Sydney Motor show happen to be going on, so I made a point of going. What I found most interesting was that they still have “Utes” which are like the Subaru Brat or the Ford El Camino. Very popular style of vehicle. Also popular in Australia are utility trucks – instead of a standard pickup bed, you have a flat platform with tubing. Snorkels are factory options and can be found not only on trucks, but spotted them on some buses, too.
My first full day in Syndey, I bought a ticket to take a bus tour of the Blue Mountains. This was an all day excursion that included several scenic vistas, some time at Scenic World, and then a ferry ride back to the Harbor. Well worth the ticket. Some of the things I saw:
- Several unique boats, including a paddle boat and the “Starship Sydney”
- The harbor control tower – never seen a control tower for a harbor
- Couple of tall ships
- Drawing of a kangaroo that was shot with an arrow – carved in stone
- Outdoor amphitheater with a camping area
- Old coal mine
- An actual Australian coal unit train. It was very cute. The cars were small as was the length of the train itself
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While in Sydney, I stayed at the Macleay Lodge. The price was good – one of the least expensive I had found without going to a hostel – and similar to the capsule hotel in Tokyo, I wasn’t planning on hanging out at the hotel, so I really wasn’t looking for anything more than a clean place to stay. I have to admit that I was still apprehensive about the hotel – the reviews overall were decent, but I couldn’t get a good idea of what the hotel looked like. There wasn’t much in the way of pictures. Plus I still remember the bad experience with a DC hotel (over 10 years ago now)…
Once I got to the hotel, I was quite pleased. It was, in fact, very clean.
The room was small, but more than adequate for my purposes. There was a nice, comfortable bed, a TV (note that I don’t watch much TV, but you do get to know a culture by whats on), a closet area, and a kitchenette (sink, microwave, refrigerator). My window didn’t have much of a view, but again, I would be seeing better views from elsewhere, so not a big deal. They do not have daily maid service – I think it’s weekly, but I don’t really know. I was only there for 3 nights, and didn’t see a need for daily maid service anyways.
The bathrooms in this hotel are shared and there were two on my floor. They were both spotless. One was really cramped, though. The second one was much bigger. I never had a problem with getting into the bathroom – though I have to admin, I don’t what the occupancy of the hotel was while I was there. I believe there are 5 or 6 rooms on this floor. I could also be that I was in and out at odd hours. Either way, very happy with the hotel. In the bathroom, you had the basics – shower, sink, and toilet (western).
The staff at the hotel is very helpful. If you want to book a tour or transportation, they are more than happy to do that for you. Also very responsive if you have questions or issuses.
The area that the hotel is in is great – very convenient to restaurants and bars. There is a convenience store next door and it isn’t a long walk to central Sydney, if you were so inclined to walk. It was especially nice once I found a staircase that went down to the water instead of having to walk all the way around.