Day 03: Friday in Sydney. Sunny and windy. Max 22ºC – min 8ºC.
We woke up slightly earlier than yesterday, and were back in our routine – A high protein breakfast for all of us, which included eggs done in different styles according to each person’s preference; followed by completing some brain-twister activities for the girls using stickers and game-based problem questions.
Sunny side-ups for mommy!
Sorting out patterns with stickers
Today was Day 1 of the Deformity Down Under conference, and J would not be with us for the entire day because he was giving a lecture on “Navigation and Adult Deformity”.
While J was busy, I have planned to bring the girls out by myself, once again, but this time we’ll go somewhere more touristy.
We walked from our apartment towards the heritage QVB, a 121 year-old late 19th century building that is steeped in history and architecturally splendid. This grand building that was built in the 1890’s was erected as a Municipal Market on the scale of a Cathedral! The QVB was beautifully restored and re-opened in 1986, and quickly became Sydney’s most popular and prestigious shopping centre. Occupying an entire block along George Street, the QVB houses a vast array of Sydney’s finest fashion boutiques, jewellery shops and homewares, accompanied by a diverse range of delightful cafes and restaurants.
The dominant feature is the distinguished centre dome, which we were told, during the Christmas period is occupied by a GIANT Christmas tree, a must see for any visitor! What captivated us were the glorious stained glass windows and the splendorous architecture that reflect the resplendent brilliance of the building.
Walking along Druitt Street, we passed through Darling Park, a landmark commercial and retail complex located in Sydney’s popular Darling Harbour precinct. Hidden in a pretty garden oasis, Darling Park is one of Australia’s most unique developments, combining premium office space with first-class retail and F&B outlets.
A staircase marks the end of Druitt Street, where at its elevated platform we stood, captivated by the Darling Habour that laid before our eyes. Other than how darling it appears to be in its glamorous and glistening facade, this stunning harbour, which was originally known as Long Cove, but used to be widely known as Cockle Bay until 1826, gained its eventual amiable name from Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling, who was the Governor of New South Wales from 1825 to 1831, who named the harbour after himself!
Loving sisters walking down the steps that led us to the Darling Harbour.
The sensational views offered by the harbour’s waterfront freed us from the confines and restraints of buildings after buildings in the concrete jungle of downtown Sydney. What a breather! to behold this splendid waterside location in the heart of Sydney that brings along some marvellous attractions such as the SEALIFE aquarium and diverse dining options!
The girls were instantly refreshed by the enlivening dynamics of the Harbour. They found art installations that brought delight to their little souls. A prominent one that is worth mentioning was the Dancing Brolgas Fountain set in front of the Cockle Bay Wharf building, which is home to Sydney’s premier dining and entertainment venues. Created in cast stainless steel in 1998, and featuring silver statues of the Australian Crane species surrounding a fountain, this interesting fountain has its appeal amongst the little ones as well as the grown-ups, with a playful showcase of a flock of dancing Brolgas splashing in the waters of a spiral fountain designed and built by the artist, Terrance Plowright.
Girls played at the Dancing Brolgas Fountain.
The girls had a great time running around the fountain and pretending to dance like they were one of those elegant, long-legged brolgas!
We sauntered towards Sydney’s leading family and tourist attraction – the SEA LiFE Sydney Aquarium! Besides housing over 12,000 animals from 650 species, including sharks, dugongs, turtles, stingrays, penguins, tropical fish and much, much more, the marvellous aquarium also offers interesting entertainment for young and old alike.
Purchasing tickets from my KLOOK phone app was probably the best experience I had gained when traveling overseas. There was absolutely no downtime from waiting in queues to buy tickets or gaining entry into the aquarium. We merely strolled past the queues as I clicked to buy the tickets from my phone instantly and within the same minute, we strolled into the gateway that grants us admission into the mysterious aquarium.
Nemos swimming amongst their coral home.
The children and I had tons of interactive experiences and engaging opportunities to touch and gaze at beautiful sea creatures in wonder, all the while, thinking about the Hands and Mind that made them, and couldn’t resist praising the Lord for His originality and genuinity of His creative powers. We stand in awe often, of this great God who is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and everything that is above, within and under it. Even at the sum of all His creatures gathered together in thought, there is no thorough understanding of His wisdom and might.
We walked underwater through over 100 metres of glass viewing tunnels and came within inches of massive sharks and rays, and also saw some of the remarkable marine and freshwater animals that Australia is famous for, such as barramundi and the Little Penguins. As we ventured around in the well-guided tour through the seemingly never-ending aquarium, we felt like we were being taken on a journey through Australia’s wide and varied aquatic habitats, from the southern river systems that make up the Murray Darling Basin to the colossal Great Barrier Reef in the north!
Upon exit, we were ushered to the photo kiosks to download our photos or to email the photos to our own email accounts.
These photos were taken right after we entered the aquarium, where there was a green space with props placed at strategic places to capture our gazes, and a professional photographer with his “big gun” directed us to stand and pose for him to snap pictures of us!
The three of us spent a total of 1.5 hours exploring the Aquarium. By the end of the magical journey through the underwater adventure, we were famished! I watched both E and Little H wolfed down their hot dog buns and munched on thick crispy fries with much pleasure. Australia is definitely more advanced than Singapore in eliminating plastic straws, and at this point in time, they were already into providing paper straws, which are much more multifarious in its offerings of colours and patterns to each one’s preference!
Once refilled, we chased seagulls off the dock, and ran along the glistening harbour. It may have been sunny, but the strong winds certainly did its part in chilling us under our down-jackets and trench coat.
It was a 1 km walk from the aquarium towards the thriving and burgeoning Darling Quarter. Halfway through my little one would run to me and cried out, “Mommy 抱抱?”
The Darling Quarter lies within the vibrant precinct of Darling Harbour, which plays a central role in the community, enticing people of all ages and from all walks of life to enjoy the variety of activities on offer, from ping-pong to yoga and of course the famous Children’s Playground! Touted to be a wonderland for kids and adults alike, the renowned playground is a bustling, colourful and exciting place to be that combines artful form with function. I could feel my heart racing as I tried to keep up with my girls. There were boundless opportunities for kids of all ages to slide down (a 3 m high and 8 m long slide), climb up (via rope), run around, scramble over, swing on, find and discover in this vibrant setting. The girls played with waterworks, explored motion, balance, attempted simple machines, while learning the workings behind it all. We even scaled up a ramp, counted to three, and then whizzed away through a grove of trees in a rush of air along the 21 m long flying fox! There were enough activities to tire out even the most energetic of children!
While there, we effortlessly soaked up the buzz on the Village Green, and wandered through the art exhibition space. After all, time spent playing and exploring is never wasted!
As if all those adventures and discoveries were not enough to top the day, mommy took the girls on board the train towards Bondi Junction, which lies in the eastern suburb of Sydney. As the popular saying goes, no trip to Sydney is complete without visiting Bondi Beach!
Wow! Those turquoise waters are beckoning me. But truth be told, the girls and I did not manage to get to the celebrated beach! What fun could we have gained without the hubby’s presence? And we were just not dressed for the beach! Merely shopping around in Bondi Junction sufficed to satisfy our claim to have been to Bondi. Seeing the hub that it is before our eyes, we weren’t really left with much time to explore. We went straight to Spotlight, since its Singapore franchise is one of our favourite stores for fancy art supplies.
We had a Japanese roll as a snack and headed back to town at around 4.30 pm. E appeared to be unwell on the train-ride, and we realised she was running a temperature 🤒. By five in the evening, we had went to Woolworths to buy some ingredients to cook for dinner.
The Calyx, Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney
As for my better half? He was blissfully dining at The Calyx in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. 🤗 Praise the Lord for His blessings and all-encompassing grace upon us, especially upon E as her body wrestles and overcomes the fever, to grant her recovery through rest-a-plenty and rehydration. I shall take heed to slow down for the next few days, and just dwell in the place God has so graciously given us. 🙏