sydney city guide

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» The Rocks
» Things to Eat in Sydney: The Sydney Dining Challenge
» Excursions from Sydney: Bankstown
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» other things to see in australia: carnarvon gorge
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» australia overview: the land down under
» history
» the australian personality
» the australian landscape

Pictures of the Carnavon Gorge, Central Highlands, Queensland, Australia
Pictures of the Carnavon Gorge, Central Highlands, Queensland, Australia

Pictures of Roma, Queensland, and Surrounding Towns
Pictures of Roma, Queensland, and surrounding towns

Aboriginal Australia

Frog and Toad's Aboriginal Australia

Frog and Toad's Aboriginal Australia

Aboriginal Languages

Aboriginal Languages


Recommended Weblogs & Websites


» Mirror Sydney
» Street Food










THE ROCKS :: SYDNEY :: NEW SOUTH WALES
FOR TOURISTS, THIS IS THE PLACE TO GO TO SEE WHAT REMAINS OF CONVICT AND HISTORIC SYDNEY. For locals, this is the place to go to get pissed (drunk), and if you are unlucky, maybe find yourself in the middle of a blue (fight). Especially on a public holiday like Australia Day! This is the one part of Sydney where, wandering in, you might think you have stumbled into Europe -- it has it all, the tight-packed old stone houses and old stone cobbled streets. There is a reason for this -- The Rocks is in fact the oldest settlement on the entire Australian mainland, and much of the ambience of this area has been preserved. But if you could imagine what would happen if you picked up a chunk of Georgian England (all cobblestone and narrow lane), carried it halfway around the world, and then dumped it on the most unsuspecting sandstone shore you could find -- then imagine you seared the said creation beneath a blue sky and dazzling Australian sun, and loomed over it with skyscrapers -- well anyway, the result would be something like The Rocks.

Market City, Chinatown, May 2013. Photo copyright Robert Sullivan!

To complete the picture, gentrify the area with an assortment of old school pubs, selling a variety of Old World beers and other drinks (and the occasional aggressive drunk).

Australia Day in The Rocks, 2013. Photo copyright Robert Sullivan!

Sorry, there is one more necessary step, to complete the picture -- to make it really authentic you have go to flood the place with foreign tourists.

Australia Day in The Rocks, 2013. Photo copyright Robert Sullivan!

What do you have -- voila!, The Rocks! It is not the kind of place I went to often when I lived in Australia, but I can understand its appeal with tourists. As The Rocks Village website reported:
"Traditionally the home of the Aboriginal Cadigal people, the rocky sandstone ledge known as The Rocks is where mariners of the First Fleet stepped ashore on 26 January 1788 and British settlement of Australia was first established.
"Today it is Sydney's historic old town quarter, nestled between the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House."
Nathalie, a visitor to Sydney, wrote: "I love The Rocks! The scenery is beautiful, the night`s view is the best... with the Opera House as well as the Bridge. And my favourite place of all is "Pancakes on the Rocks" -- the food is yum, and the service is friendly! But, there`s a warning, its so popular the line is super long!!!" Meanwhile, another visitor, E.K. Castle said: "The Rocks was one of the highlights of my visit to Sydney, where the great city began. The weekend market was so vibrant, and was certainly one not to be missed. The preservation of the old buildings is a must to show were history began in Australia. A return visit is a must for me."



FIRST A RUN-DOWN OF SOME OF THE THINGS YOU CAN SEE I THE ROCKS, ALL THE TYPICAL TOURIST STUFF, AND THEN, FOR A BIT OF SPICE, I WILL RELATE ONE OR TWO OF MY MOST RECENT EXPERIENCES THERE. First, those stats and recommendations about what to see in The Rocks:
++-+ EXPLORE the maze of cobblestone lanes for a wealth of historic sites, cafes, restaurants and markets.
--+- Shop for antiques, collectibles, souvenirs and a wide variety of original Australian art (Aboriginal pieces), crafts, fashions and designer jewellery (opals, etc).
++-+ Have a drink at Australiafs oldest licensed hotel. Click here for a list and description of places where you can drink and party in The Rocks.
--+- Take one of the guided walking tours of this fascinating area.



 

bathurst - Carnarvon Gorge - Kiama - Moree - Carnarvon Gorge - Roma - Woolgoolga - - Wollongong


UNCLONED CITY - the city and the bush
VISITORS TO AUSTRALIA ARE FORCED TO FACE THE FOLLOWING REALITY -- while most of the "to-die-for" sights and attractions are in the country (the Bush, in Aussie parlance), it is in the city where you will meet the most interesting and invigorating Australians. This is generally true of any modern industrialized nation, and it needn't be a source of despair. As the Lonely Planet guidebook points out, Australian cities are different from cities in other parts of the world (therefore you can't use that old traveller's excuse: "It's just another city, so I won't bother going there"!) The Bush might hold the position of being the wellspring of the Australian nature, but the city is the real of Asutralia. Since UNCLONED WORLD is aimed at promoting the acceptance of reality as it really is, this point must be emphasised. Climbing Ayers Rock might not necessarily give you an understanding of what Australia is all about. A day in the suburbs of a workaday Aussie city might well do it, though.

TYPICAL COUNTRY TOWN -- story here! So the question for the aspiring traveller is: where do I go on my Australian trip? In the United States it is said that the entire nation revolves around an East/West axis -- it is the East Coast against the West Coast. Japan is said to revolve around a Tokyo/Osaka axis. In Australia, the two dominant poles are created by the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, some 1000km to the south. It is because of the rivalries between the two cities that the capital of Australia was eventually built, from scratch, in Canberra, exactly halfway between them.

Any town or city in Australia is interesting in its own right, and all capture a slice of the Australian essence. Here is a brief guide on the major Australian towns and cities, and what you might expect to find there. The emphasis here is on the unusual, the untried, and the untested. I will only list places that I have lived in, or at least visited, so I can provide the type of information other travel guides leave out.


WOOLGOOLGA Nestled between the banana plantations and the sea, Woolgoolga is a Sikh oasis in the heart of Australia. The town, located near Coffs Harbour on New South Wales heavily touristed North Coast, is highly regarded for it's fine beaches, good surfing, varied fishing, and bush walks. It is also famous for its 50 per cent Sikh population, who own 90 per cent of its banana farms. As The Sikh Community in Australia website says: "A highway traveller approaching Woolgoolga may look in disbelief at the spectacular pure white Temple (the Guru Nanak Gurdwara), with its golden domes reaching out to the heavens and wonder at the Indian elephant in front of a splendid palace with minarets. Is it a simmering mirage, they may wonder? These edifices have appeared to have been scooped up by magic and placed amidst an Australian town. However, there is nothing magic about the success of the Woolgoolga Sikhs who have continued the good work in the finest tradition of the Sikh pioneers who settled here despite great hardship. The early Sikh migrants came here to pre-Federation Australia as free settlers when there was no restrictive immigration policy. They were adventurist male sojoumers who left their family behind and came to make their fortune and returned home when they made good. Some of these early sojourners did return, but the majority of them developed a love and attachment to this country arid its people and remained to lay the