We arrive in Sydney early morning and we grab a taxi to take us to our hotel. As expected our room isn’t ready so a quick- clothes change in the washroom, we leave our cases and set off to explore.
We noticed straight away that Sydney is undergoing extensive renovations since we were here three years ago. A new tram line is being built in the town centre. The centre is busy with builders and disruption. Alongside it, new buildings are going up and the city seems to be expanding.
We wander down to the tourist area around Circular Quay, where the famous Harbour Bridge and Opera House are situated. Running alongside the Quay, in an area called the Rocks, there has been much development, which is now full of new galleries, shops, restaurants and bars. We saunter around here stopping for a quick snack and then we follow a new promenade, which has been built since we were last here. This borders a new reserve area called Bangeroo, which joins the Quay to Darling Harbour; a good half-hour walk away. There is a Stargazers lawn and greenery surrounded by huge colourful rocks. It is still to be completed but when it is the esplanade walk will be stunning.
As we reach Darling Harbour, we search for the hotel, in which we stayed last time, but it has been taken over by another company. The local bar next door is no longer here, and we are disappointed as we wanted to have an Australian pie, from here for our lunch but it was not to be. We decide to cross the bridge to the shopping mall food courts, where we hope to find honey chicken and rice!
Again, we were unlucky as the Chinese vendors no longer sell our favourite choice and so as the rest of the menus are too spicy, we opt for Subway! We notice some of the same shops selling the same t-shirts and then venture outside to explore how the area has changed.
Darling Harbour has lots of new hotels and apartment blocks have been erected and the waterfront has been developed. It is the place to be- especially for the upward mobile city dwellers. These people seem to have money and enjoy their relaxation and play. Cockle Bay Wharf hasn’t really changed that much; the introduction of a large Ferris Wheel for the tourists but the area beyond that, which leads to Chinatown is being renovated with the buildings already started.
By now we are struggling in the heat and jet lag is kicking- in, so we make our way back to the hotel. My lovely husband takes photographs of things that he finds interesting and could possibly sketch although not today.
Our hotel, Mantra 2 Bond Street is conveniently situated with a 5-minute walk to Circular Quay and maybe 10 minutes to Darling Harbour. It is on the corner of George Street, which is one on the central streets in the city. Shops and restaurants are with in easy reach and all in all we are happy.
The room is basically a studio apartment with a large lounge area and open plan kitchen with everything we need. It has a fridge, freezer, dishwasher and microwave. A large breakfast bar and two TVs; one is situated in the bedroom section, which is partitioned from the living space.
There is a restaurant and bar in the lobby and a small swimming pool and Jacuzzi on the roof and the staff are friendly. The house-keeping staff have looked after us well. We settle down, unpack and rest.
However, for those of you who know me well, will not be surprised by next comments.
The most amazing thing of all; is that our hotel room has its own washing machine and dryer!! Heaven!