A travel journal
to New South Wales by auskiwi
Quote: The Central Coast of New South Wales, in Australia, has something to offer most people, those including beaches, night clubs, large shopping centres, boat criuses on the many waterways, Old Sydney Town and the Australian Reptile Park.
Attraction | "The Shark and Ray Centre"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 14, 2012
Australian Shark and Ray Centre
686 Marsh Road
Bobs Farm, Port Stephens, NSW
Attraction | "Paintball - Fun for everyone"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 21, 2010
A Paintball Place, Skirmish
Kulnura, New South Wales 2250
(02) 4376 1411
1/ Situated at Somersby, the Australian Reptile Park has a great collection of Australia's native animals and also some imported reptile species.
2/ Located on the coast, Terrigal is a scenic beach community which has a popular beach and shopping area. There are also plenty of Cafes and Restuarants for those who enjoy great food.
3/ Not far from Terrigal is another fantastic beach called Avoca Beach, it's great for surfing, swimming and sun baking.
4/ To the north of the Central Coast are 2 large seawater lakes and the main township, located at the entrance to the lakes, is called The Entrance. The Entrance has just been revamped and now has a great kids play area, there are great beaches on both sides of the water inlet and the shopping area is great. During the warmer seasons concerts are held in the park on the southern side.
5/ For serious shoppers there are two large shopping centres called Erina (located in Erina) and Westfields (located in Tuggerah)
There are youth hostels situated within Terrigal and Woy Woy. But there are also plenty of caravan parks and holiday parks with cabins and caravans for hire at nightly rates and weekly rates.
There are also regular trains departing for the coast from Newcastle.
Once at the coast there are regular buses departing from all major train stations to various locations and not so regular ones running from the minor stations. It will once again depend on your destination as to where you would alight from the train.
The park has several types of accommodation to stay in.
You can camp for $22 (Aust) per night or $132 per week. An extra person a night is $6.
You have a wide range of cabins to select from; from $52 (Aust) per night for a standard cabin to $132 (Aust) per night for a Beach House.
A standard cabin has a two ring cooktop, one double bed, three bunk beds, a bathroom with a shower and toilet, a heater for winter, a bar fridge and a TV.
You can either supply your own linen or you can hire it for $20.
The park has a large pool (which is great in summer), BBQ areas, a games room, a laundry, a camp kitchen, a tennis/volleyball/netball court, mini golf and a recreation room with a TV.
The park also has a wild Koala that roams around and can be seen in the trees near the entrance on odd ocassions.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 12, 2002
One Mile Beach Holiday Park
426 Gan Gan Road
Anna Bay 2316
+61 (2) 4982 1112
Hotel | "Kims Toowoon Bay Beachside Holiday Retreat"
You can stay there in Bangalows ranging in price from $220 to $450(Aust) per night.
The cheaper units have double beds with an ensuite.
The expensive units have their own entertaining room, kitchenette and toilet downstairs, a private swimming pool and a large king size bedroom upstairs with an ensuite.
The cabins are set in a garden/palm tree rain forest type setting and has peacocks roaming around and carp in the pond below the restaurant.
To get to the beach you just have to walk a few meters down the tiled pathways and you're there standing in the sand of Toowoon Bay. This beach is great for small kids as there are no big waves to contend with.
It is also popular with fisherpeople, divers and snorkellers as there are plenty of rock ledgers to explore. For surfers there's a surfing beach approximately 10 minutes down the road.
The Retreat also has a great restaurant which has a fantastic seafood buffet luncheon every Sunday.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 4, 2002
Kims Toowoon Bay
16 Charlton Street
+61 (2) 4332-1566
We paid $265 (Australian) each for two nights. For the money we got a three-bedroom apartment which slept six people. One of us slept on the floor on a blow-up mattress that we took.
The apartment had an ensuite and another bathroom, and a fully decked out kitchen with all the necessary appliances for cooking if you wanted to save money on food. All linen is provided as are the towels. All you need to bring is your clothes.
Also for the price you got free use of the indoor swimming pool, the outdoor pool, the salt water indoor spa, the two other indoor spas, and the gym.
The resort complex also included a bar, pub, and bistro. The drinks were reasonably priced as were the meals. The bistro served fish and chips, calamari, steaks with salads, and many other dishes. The bars had live music on Friday and Saturday nights. One of the bars had easy listening music while the other had dance music.
The resort also had a mini-bus that transports people to the other night spots so you don't have to drink and drive.
The resort is within close walking distance to an Italian restaurant and to convenience shops. The lovely Shoal Bay Beach is directly across the road.
We had a great weekend and were disappointed when it ended and even more disappointed that we had to return to work the following day. Why is it that trips and holidays are never long enough?
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 3, 2003
Shoal Bay Resort and Spa
Beachfront, Shoal Bay Road
Shoal Bay NSW 2315
You just pay AU$11 to pitch your tent or pull up in your caravan for the night. The sites all have their own names - Sunset Strip was one of them and this is where we stayed and will stay again next time.
The sites are located at the bottom of the farm in green paddocks or near the Gloucester River, we choose this area.
There are several blocks of amenities, but all, excluding the top block, are not flash. There are no lights, no running hot water, the toilets are long drops (don't flush) and there are no doors just curtains, this is back to basics. The top toilet block is better and has lighting and running hot water (which you have to heat with a fire).
The farm is a true working farm and therefore they have cows on the premises and the kids can watch the cows being mustered for milking or a farmhand breaking in a horse. All these things were going on while we were there and the kids loved it.
During the Labour and Easter long weekends the farm puts on a ho-down for the visitors and apparently it's very popular - will tell you all about it next time we go.
There is also a small paddock near the entrance to the camping area where they have wallabies, geese and other native birds which is also great for the kids.
There is plenty of small fish in the river is Dale is going to take his kayak next time a venture further up the river in the hope that he will catch a trout. The river would also be great in summer when you could get in a rubber tube and go with the gentle flow and keep cool. We didn't try that this time as it was winter and a little cool.
So if you love getting back to basics and want a quiet country retreat this is the place to come. We loved it, you will too.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 12, 2003
First driveway along Thunderbolt Way
Central Australia, Australia
Hotel | "Carlton Crest Hotel"
More Contact Details:
Postal Address--PO Box K401, Haymarket, NSW 1240
The Carlton Crest is about a four-star hotel located in the centre of Sydney, within a few minutes' walk from Sydney’s Central Station, Chinatown, The Entertainment Centre, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Capitol Theatre, Darling Harbour, and many of Sydney’s other top sightseeing destinations.
We discovered this gem of a hotel by entering "cheap accommodation" in the search area of our Internet Explorer and entering the link associated with the "flight centre hotels – www.flightcentrehotels.com.au." This site provides you with a list of hotels within a selected area and discounted costs for last-minute and miscellaneous other Internet bookings. The Carlton Crest was listed at $135 per night for two people, usually $300 per night, for a deluxe room with two queen-size beds.
The hotel has the following facilities: - A pool, spa, and rooftop garden area on Level 8, halfway up the building. - A dining room located to the left-hand side of the reception area on the ground floor. We had a buffet breakfast there one of the mornings, $22 for a selection from the hot and cold buffets and $14 for a selection from the cold buffet only, including drinks. The breakfast buffet includes eggs, bacon, toast, danishes, cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, tea, coffee, fruit juices, and lots of other yummy things. There is a seafood buffet provided every night, priced at $42 per adult. We didn't have one of these because we were always elsewhere for dinner. - A small bar area located on the right-hand side of the reception area on the ground floor. - A help desk located just inside the main entry on the ground floor. - Cheap car parking for guests--600 spaces at $12 per night, not bad for Sydney. - Room service. - Each level has a ice machine and a drink fridge (to be paid for separately) in the corridor. - Each room has a TV, tea- and coffee-making facilities, a small fridge, a bathroom with a shower and bath, a large wardrobe, air-conditioning, radio, and in-house movies (to be paid as extra). Our room was very spacious and light. We didn't have a view of Darling Harbour, but there are some rooms that do. Some of the rooms have small verandas and a small number, on Level 8, have gardens.
The hotel has facilities on-site to book any sightseeing activity or theatre event you would like to venture on or go and see.
Conference and business facilities are also available at the Carlton, with a different assortment of rooms of varying sizes, items of office equipment, and other requirements available to select from in order to cater to a total conference setup.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 29, 2006
Citigate Central Hotel Sydney
169-179 Thomas Street
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (2) 9281 6888
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 17, 2006
Hotel | "Hunter Valley Wine Country Lodge "
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 20, 2006
Hunter Valley Hostel
100 Wine Country Drive
Nulkaba, New South Wales 2325
(02) 4991 3278
We went there last weekend for a friends birthday. We all met at 6.00pm for dinner, because there were more than 10 of us we had to sit outside as inside is a bit on the small side. We ordered dinner at the bistro. Dale had a Squid served with a salad and with chilli sauce and I ordered chicken with a salad and mashed potatoes. The menu is very diverse and caters to most people's taste. The prices are pretty reasonable for the size of the meals you get, I guess they would be about middle of the range.
Every Saturday night they have a band playing in the Sports Bar so after dinner we went up there and we stayed there until approximately 9.30pm when we decided to head downstairs to the nightclub so we could get free entry.
The nightclub is great and it played all types of music, from seventies and eighties to hip hop and Britney Spears, so everyone was happy. The club stays open until 6.00am and is open Wednesday nights, Friday nights and Saturday nights. We stayed until 2.30am and made our way home.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 21, 2002
207 The Entrance Road
Hotel | "The Forest of Tranquility"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 7, 2006
Australian Rainforest Sanctuary
Rmb 1540 Ourimbah Creek Rd
Ourimbah, New South Wales 2258
(02) 4362 1855
Attraction | "The Royal Easter Show"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 11, 2006
Sydney Royal Easter Show
1, Showground Rd
Sydney, Australia 2127
+61 0(2) 9704 1111
The Brisbane Water is a reasonably large sized waterway which is surrounded by many of the Central Coast’s town centres and Gosford's suburbs.
To the north of Brisbane Water is the city centre of Gosford.
To the south is the large town of Woy Woy and the suburbs of Empire Bay, St. Huberts Island, Ettalong Beach, Booker Bay, and Killcare.
To the west are the suburbs Koolewong, Tascott, and Point Clare.
And to the east are the suburbs Point Frederick, Saratoga, Davistown, Green Point, and East Gosford.
The Brisbane Water is one of the loveliest parts of the NSW coast line and has plenty to offer to those who venture there.
Gosford and East Gosford offer visitors the choice of waterside bar/restaurants, shopping centres, water front parks and walkways, a swimming pool complex, boats ramps, sightseeing cruises, sports venues, and much more.Ettalong has weekend markets and a new waterside recreation club which has swimming pools, bars, food, and other activities for people of various ages.
Woy Woy has boat ramps, wharf side seafood restaurants, boats for hire, waterside parks, and a small shopping center to wander around at your leisure.
Empire Bay and St. Huberts Island have some beautiful homes and are very up market living areas. It’s great to cruise around this area, in and out of the small canals, in a small boat to just see what life here is really like.
Koolewong, Tascott and Point Clare have one or two shops, waterside parks, waterside restaurants, and peaceful waterside walkways.
Ettalong, Booker Bay, Killcare and further south have some lovely beaches – great for children and people who love calm waters with no surf.
The Brisbane Water itself is great for all types of water sports and ventures – fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, wake boarding, boat cruises, swimming – the list just goes on.
The whole of the inner area of the Brisbane Water (meaning those places listed above) takes approximately 1.5 hours, by car, to drive around without stopping anywhere but can take 2 days or longer if you wish to explore some of the wondrous things there are on offer. Public transport is available in the form of buses and trains (Woy Woy, Koolewong, Tascott, Point Clare and Gosford have train stations).
Attraction | "The Australian Walkabout Park"
The park provides four guided tours throughout the day at different times – those tours being:
1. Morning Tea/Coffee with the Animals – at 10am – enjoy a tea or coffee while getting to know some of the friendly locals. Hand feed the kangaroos, emus and wallabies.
2. The Aboriginal Engravings Tour – at 11:30am – takes you for a guided tour around a number of Aboriginal sites within the grounds where the guide gives you a full explanation of what the engravings represent to the Aborigine’s and what the different the sites were used for by the Aboriginals.
3. The Bush Tucker and Medicine Tour – at 1pm – takes you for a tour of the grounds showing you the different varieties of plants, flowers, animals and instructs you on what food, drink, or medicine can be gleaned from the different species. For instance – getting water from the roots of a banksia tree.
4. The Pets and Predators Tour – at 2:30pm – takes you on the tour of the grounds, describing and showing you the protective measures the parks operators have taken to stop foxes, cats, etc gaining access and destroying the native wildlife.
All the tours are very educational and the guides are well informed and great to talk to, always eager to answer your questions. Please phone - (02)43751100 - or look up web site - www.walkaboutpark.com.au - to confirm the times for the tours as they are changing the timetable soon and are also adding new tours all the time – like a evening tour for the nocturnal animals and a two day survival tour where you camp at the park and survive on what’s provided in the bush.
Alternatively you can walk around the park’s tracks by yourself - but the tour guides can point out animals, snakes, reptiles, birds, and plants that the untrained eyes would miss.
Don’t forget to wear good walking shoes, long pants, and upper body clothing suitable for the weather. If it’s hot wear a hat/cap and plenty of sunblock.
So bring your lunch – there are BBQs available, a picnic area and plenty of grass and seating – or buy something ready made from the shop and spend the day visiting the animals and getting to know more about them.
The park is open everyday from 9:30am to 5pm and has office building where you pay and that has a small gift shop, a display of various items/pictures/photos of the flora and fauna that we may spot on your travels and a kiosk.
The admission fee is $17.50(AUD) for adults and $8.50(AUD) for children with discounted prices for pensioners.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2006
Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park
2375 Peats Ridge Road & Darkinjung Road
+61 (2) 43751100
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 19, 2006
Girrakool National Park
Attraction | "The Bloodworth Festival"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 10, 2006
Kulnurra, Central Coast, NSW
Bathurst, New Brunswick
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 16, 2006
Hunter Valley Gardens
Broke Road, Pokolbin
New South Wales 2320
61 2 4998 4000
Attraction | "Wallarah Peninsula"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2006
Wallarah National Park
Wallarah Peninsula, Caves Beach, NSW
New South Wales
The entrance to the lakes can be found at a seaside town aptly named The Entrance. The Entrance and its surrounding bays is a popular holiday destination for people from Sydney and can be very busy during holiday seasons and summer weekends. The Entrance has many popular beaches, some being surf beach and others being protected bays.
The Entrance also has great shopping and a great selection of fast food outlets, cafes and restaurants for people to dine at.
Another popular attraction at The Entrance is the pelican feeding, which is conducted every Sunday afternoon at 3.00pm, by the wildlife society.
Cruise boats depart from The Entrance and Toukley on a variety of tours of the lakes and the creeks that lead to them. We are fortunate enough to live on one of those creeks, Ourimbah (Chittaway) Creek, and often see the boats cruising past.
Ourimbah Creek is also a popular place for the local boating community to gather together on public holidays and celebrate in grand style, by having a regatta down the creek. Xmas sees Santa throwing lollies at the kids running around the banks. Australia sees the great water balloon fight in full swing. I noticed that they put on special cruises for these days and everyone participated in the events.
Other townships located around the lake are Toukley (previously mentioned, situated between both lakes), Budgewoi, Elizabeth Bay and Charmhaven (on the second lake), Berkley Vale, Long Jetty and Killarney Vale (on the first lake), just to mention a few.
There are a few places you can head to when you want to visit the Hawkesbury River.
Brooklyn, located near the mouth of The Hawkesbury, is one of the largest towns and has the popular River Postal Cruise that departs from its shores. The cruise departs on Tuesday morning and stops of at the remote houses and islands that find it difficult to reach the main shore to get their mail. The cruise also provides you with morning tea and a great restful trip.
Wiseman's Ferry is located further up and is only reachable by road or boat. If you are travelling by road, from Gosford, you will have to board a car ferry that will take you across to the main township. The town has a popular pub and a couple of tea houses with a variety of food and drinks to suit everyone. To reach Wiseman's Ferry you have to travel along a stretch of road that follows the Hawkesbury and you will pass through a number of smaller towns, like Spencer.
If you go through Wiseman's Ferry and take the next car ferry you can reach a area called St Albans that is one of the original old settlements and has many points of interest you can visit, old homesteads and an old cemetery.
If you wish to travel the Hawkesbury by boat you can hire house boats from Brooklyn or Wiseman's Ferry. A boat for 10 people, in June will cost you approximately $1200 per two nights.
Some of the popular attractions are:
1/ Tanilba House at Tanilba Bay. This house was constructed out of sandstone, by the convicts of the area, for the local Governor. The house is a small museum and is open for viewing most days and has tales of ghosts on it premises.
2/ Fighter World in Williamstown. This is a museum of the Australian RAF and other aircraft. Last time we went there it was $6.00 each to get in.
3/ Oakvale Animal Farm at Oakvale. This is a quirky little open area farm where you can hand feed goats, lambs, emus and kangaroos and the like. These animals will follow you around while you view the animals within fenced areas.
4/ Tomteland is great for those of you looking for something to do with kids; it has plenty of rides, food and crafts to spend your money on.
5/ Dolphin watch cruises depart several times a day from Nelsons Bay Mariner and a certain times of the year there are Whale watches. These are a great ways to meet some of the sea's glorious creatures and to see the harbour of Port Stevens.
6/ There are many fantastic beaches, both on the ocean side and within the harbour area. Some of them being Anna Bay, One Mile Bay and Fingal Bay.
The shores of the lake are dotted with numerous small towns with boat ramps and parks, with playgrounds and BBQs, by the lake. Some of the larger towns are Toronto, Swansea and Belmont. If you want a lovely drive through the countryside then the circuit around the lake is a must.
Further north you will come to the industrial city of Newcastle. Newcastle is on the coastline, but is also on the mouth of the Hunter River and is the largest populated area in the Greater Newcastle/Hunter Region.
Newcastle is a pretty city to visit and has a great old stone Cathedral with some beautiful stained glass windows.
Scratchley Fort is situated on Newcastles foreshore and is now a museum for the area and still has the old gun barrels pointing out to sea, where they used to watch for Japanese warships and submarines.
Following the New England Highway inland from Newcastle you will come to the old towns and areas of Morpeth and Maitland.
Maitland has many old residences and shops that you can wander around the streets and view.
On the first Sunday of every month Maitland also holds a large open air market at it's race course. You can find everything here, from jams and fruit to antiques and clothes.
Maitland also, once a year in April, holds a steamfest where they hold markets, have steam trains running and other steam tractors and engines, which you can go for rides on, have old vintage cars and hot rods etc on show and have live singers, dancers and the like. It's a great day out for the whole family.
Morpeth is reached by turning off at East Maitland. Morpeth has some great old shops and is situated right on the Hunter River. If you like tea and scones, you'll have to come here to have them. The shops are full of Arts and Crafts of all sorts from home made jams to paintings and dolls.
Morpeth also has an old historic tour you can do that takes you around all the old original residences and businesses.
If you're a lover of great wines then further up the Hunter Valley in Pokolbin, near Cessnock, is the world famous Hunter Valley Wineries. The best way to get around these is to find out from the tourist information office in the area whether there's any tours running. The tours will usually take you to three or four wineries and if you're lucky the local pub.
You can stay with the Pokolbin area as there are a few hotels and hostels, some are pricey, but the wineries are at your doorstep.
We've been a couple of times now and liked The Draytons Winery, The Tamburlaine Winery, The Windarra Winery and the local brewery.
We have also stayed in a youth hostel once, which was at the southern end of the main street in Forster, $16 per night and has dormitory and family room style accommodation.
While in Forster we just like to relax and unwind and as a way to help us do this we either hire a small boat for the day or we buy a ticket on a cruise boat and take a trip out on the peaceful Myall Lakes. The Lakes have oyster farms in the small waterways and there ae several island where you can get of at and escape the rest of humanity. There are three or four places that you can hire a boat from if you wish and there are usually a couple of cruises leaving the dock every day.
The lakes are great for watersports such as waterskiing and wake boarding and get very busy during the summer months.
At the mouth of the Lakes and the Ocean there is a bridge span and on the other side of the bridge is a small town called Tuncurry where markets are held, in the park, on the busy weekends.
The Australian Reptile Park is home to a very large range of snakes, native to Australia and some not, lizards, turtles, crocodiles, alligators, spiders and other native Australian animals and birds.
It is a great way to spend the day with the whole family and is very informative.
During the day, at different times, they have the keepers do talks about the animals which introduce the tourists to the animals, what they eat and how and where they live.
During the crocodile and alligator talks they also feed them, which is always entertaining. It's always fun to go and see Eric, the big Croc, get his daily feed.
During the reptile talk in the central pit they walk around with a python, which you can touch.
They will milk a funnel webb spider and a poisonous snake of their venom right before your eyes.
They will tell you all about the platypus and the Koala.
Kangaroos and Emus wander around free and you can pat them and feed them by hand.
Plenty of photo opportunities here.
On this particular day we had decided to go to the Natural History Museum with our friends Greg and Julie and their son Kobe.
We got down there reasonably early in the morning as we throught we could have a look at a couple of other attractions that are in the same area.
The museum was great and had displays of animals, bugs, birds, dinosaurs and the like. There is also hands-on displays which were great for the kids. It also has some live exhibits, which put an interesting edge on things. I think Greg was of the illusion that there would be displays of Eygptian and other coutries artifacts and history and was a little disappointed, but he still said he enjoyed it anyway. Oh, don''t get separated from each other, we did and spent half the time trying to locate everyone.
The Museum is on the corner of William Street, opposite Hyde Park and the closest train station is Museum Station.
Our next port of call after exiting the Museum was across the road to Saint James Church which is a magnificent church constructed of sand stone and was erected by the convicts. It features many great stained glass windows and some beautiful wood work.
Further around, on Macquarie Street, there is the Hyde Park Barracks which were also erected by the convicts and where the convicts lived ontheir arrival to Sydney. The barracks have been reconstructed, where necessary, and now houses a very interesting musuem. The museum is all about the lives of the convicts, how they lived and what the barracks were used for after the convicts were no longer housed there. There is also passenger lists of people who were aboard the first ships to Sydney.
We then decided to keep walking down Macquarie Street to the Botanic Gardens and discovered that we were in time to take the last tour around the old Government House. This was Australias first Government House, which is now in Canberra, and has been the home of many of the Governor General''s for Australia. You will view many of their portraits as you are guided around the large mansion. The ballroom/reception room is most spectacular and has windows and doors that open out on to a great view of the harbour.
These doors are where you''ll part from the mansion and from here you can head down the glassed lawns to the Opera House that is situated at the end of the Botanic Gardens. We did not go in the Opera House, but wandered slowly around it''s external walls, taking in the views of the harbour and the harbour bridge. What a great way to end the day.
To get back to our car, parked near the Musuem, we got the train from Circular Quay back around to Museum Station.
By the time we had done all that and had driven the 2 hour drive back home to the coast we were dog tired. If you decided you want to do this make sure you get a early start and wear good walking shoes, as you''ll be doing a lot of the latter.
The ferry trip wasn't it a long one, but it took us out past the Opera House, out across the harbour, and provided us with a great veiw of the harbour bridge. The ferry was one of the old ferries and the trip was a slow one, which suited us just fine as we were in no hurry. We'd never been on the harbour before. Normally we would have driven directly to the zoo as it is less expensive.
Once at Taronga Zoo wharf we departed from the ferry and payed our admission and entered at the zoo's bottom gates.
At this part of the zoo you get to meet the seals, penguins and other sea bound creatures. They're all fine to watch. From the lower paths you steady ascend uphill to the enclosures of the animals such as the big cats, bison, antelopes and other larger creeters.
In this middle section there is a seating arena where the zoo hold talks about certain animals and birds and has a seal shows and a bird shows which are well worth going to. The zoo also has after dark concerts here in the summer months.
At the top part of the zoo you will find the Austarlian Corner which houses all the australian animals, where we can hold a Koala and there is also a kids area where they can pet the baby animals like calves, lambs and chickens. There is also a house full of spider, snakes, lizards, other venomous creatures and the like. The giraffe and elephant enclosures have the best views of the harbour.
The fast food shop, cafe and the souvenier store is also located up here.
This is not the cheapest way to visit the zoo as you have the train, ferry and entrance fee costs, but it is the more scenic way. If doing this trip it is probably advisable to go on the weekend or out of peak hours during the week as the prices of the train and the ferry will be less.
1/ The street performers, that occupy various corners and areas of pathways, entertain the public with acrobatics, dancing and comedy skits.
2/ On the north eastern side of Pyrmont Bridge is the Sydney Aquarium. This is home to several varieties of different fish and other water creatures. It has 2 fantastic large tanks in which you can walk within a glass topped tunnel to view the fish. One for large ocean fish and sharks and one for small fish, rays etc. The newest addition is a large tank called the Barrier Reef and houses the brightly coloured fish that can be found in the water around the Great Barrier Reef. The last time we went to The Aquarium the entrance fee was $16.
3/ On the north western side of the bridge is the Australian Maritime Musuem which is well worth a visit. You can actually board a small old Navy Ship and an old harbour boat. It has been a while since we have been there so I am unsure of the price.
4/ Darling Harbour itself, on the southern side of the bridge, has a large shopping centre full of clothing, jewery and souvenier shops, many great restuarants, bars and small fast food joints and has something to suit every budget.
5/ At the far south eastern side is an IMAX Theatre where you can view special films designed to be screened on oversized screens.
6/ Further around there is SEGA World which has simulated games, roller coaster rides and other rides and is great for the kids. You pay one price to get you through the door and you can go on all the rides. If you don't wish to go on the rides, but the others do, you can get special passes that allow you to enter and not participate.
7/ Across on the western side is the Sydney Convention Centre and the Exhibition Centre. Around from this is the Powerhouse Museum, where you can wander at your own leisure around the history of mechanical, electrical developments and other discoveries throughout the past. Some areas of this musuem are hands on and have displays where you can physically get involved and touch the items. Great for kids, small and big.
Dubbo is a 5 hour trip inland from the Central Coast, where we live. You can either travel north, by car, through Singleton to Scone or you can go south, by car, through the Blue Mountains. It''s approximately the same distance either way. We went north.
It was a bit of a bumpy drive, due to all the potholes in the road, but we made it in good time to have a look around for a Motel for the night.
The next day we woke and decided to head the the Western Plains Open Range Zoo. Allow yourself 3/4 of a day to take your time a look around this place, it is large, as all the enclosures are large. You have a choice of 3 ways in which to look around.
1/ Drive your car around the circuit, stopping at the various parking bays along the way and walking to the nearby animal enclosures. We choose to do this.
2/ Hire a bike from the office and take a leisurely bike ride around the circuit.
3/ Park your car and walk.
It was great to view the animals in larger paddocks, instead of small cages as in a normal zoo. They had elephants, buffalo, giraffes, tigers, monkeys, etc. Great for kids.
Don''t forget to take a camera with a good zoom if you want the best shots of the animals.
After leaving the Zoo we went into town and found The Old Dubbo Goal. This is an old goal that has housed many of Australia''s famous criminals a long time ago and is open for visitors all year round. You can view the old cells, get your photos taken in the stocks, view the hanging stand and just take your time to soak up the local history. The goal also has it''s own ghost stories and resident ghost.
The next day we managed to find an old, make shift, Military Museum, on the outskirts of town, not far from the zoo, which has a great collection of old planes, tanks, army vehicles and parts of the fore mentioned. You can climb all over the displays and there''s a real hands on approach to this museum. Interesting for those who are into army memorbilia.
This day we were also going to take a boat cruise up the river but our timing was wrong which was a shame as it looked like a great way to see the countryside and more of this great little town. Instead we bought some late lunch and enjoyed it sitting on the banks of the river. They have a variety of cruises at different times of the day.
The following day we slept in a bit, packed our bags and put them back in the car for the trip home. While travelling back through Singleton we decided to visit the Singleton RAAF Base''s Museum, which was very good and informative on all things Military.
The Blue Moutains are approximately 1 1/2 hours inland from Sydney and therefore 3 hours from the Central Coast.
We'd booked our beds at the Katoomba Youth Hostel, so when we got there a bit later than we thought, it wasn't a hassel. The youth hostel ended up being a great place to stay and we met many interesting people.
The following day our first port of call was to Echo Point, where bus loads of tourists were milling around viewing the well known and popular tourist attraction "The Three Sisters". The Three Sisters is a rock formation that juts out from the landscape in the form of three pinnacles. The lookout is perched on the top of a tall cliff face, and if you're scared of heights,you won't be going anywhere near the edge.
At Echo Point there is a tourist information where you can pick up brouchers of all the attractions in the area.
We decided to venture further around to the spot where the Blue Mountains Skyway set off from. This ride is a cable car that goes across a very deep valley and stops half way across for the occupants of the car to take photos. Not for the faint hearted and we all decided against it, but we had to have a look.
we continued driving around the plateau until we reached the opposite side of the cable cars run and decided to take the Blu Mountains Scenic Railway down to the bottom of the valley floor. This is a very steep ride and it feels as though you a virtuely standing up when you're seated. Once at the valley floor you can get of the train a take a hike through the National Park, on several bush tracks. If you don't wish to do this you can remain on the train and go straight back. The train does the trip several times during the day.
After we sat in the plateau cafe at the top of the run and had a late lunch, early dinner before heading back into Katoomba.
The next day we ventured a little further and went to the Jenolan Caves. These underground caves we discovered in the 1800's and have been open for the public for many years. There are a number of caves where you can pay a admission fee and have a guided tour. There are a number of tours in a day and each caves tour is at a different time, so it is possible to view more than one cave in a day, if you wish. The area also has a eatery and a hotel for those who want to stay the night.
Although that was all we had time to see then area has many more things for people to see and do, such as:
a/ The ZigZag Railway, near Lithgow.
b/ There are many great old towns to wander around and great shops to stop at.
The region is easy to get to by car, bus or train. If you get there by train or bus and wish to venture around a bit then there are plenty of tour buses that depart for a variety of locations.
At the many towns, within the region, you can find a variety of places of accommodation depending on your budget, ranging from Youth Hostels to Petit Bed and Breakfasts.
This weekend was a long weekend as it was the Queen's Birthday Weekend and we had booked a cabin, for 3 nights, at the One Mile Beach Holiday Park.
The cabin cost us $52 (Aust) for 2 per night and could sleep up to 5 people, every additional adult was $22 and an additional child is $12.
So we packed our clothes, bedding and other necessary items (fishing gear being the top of the list, not mine but Dale's) and headed that way at lunchtime on Friday.
We arrived there at 3.30pm in the afternoon and unpacked the car and headed straight to the beach as the holiday park is situated next to the best beach in the area. It is winter over here, but the weather was warm and sunny and a walk to the beach was a great idea. Dale also wanted to check out good fishing spots as he wanted to fish every night.
That done we decided to drive around to Fishermans Bay, the neighbouring bay, for a look at the fishing possibilities there and to get some dinner. Dale wasn't impressed with the fishing prospects. Nor were we impressed with the takeaway shop and would not recommend it to anyone.
That night Dale went beach fishing and caught 7 large Taylor (type of fish if you haven't guessed). He kept one and threw the rest back.
After the most peaceful nights sleep that we've had for a while we got up and went into Nelson's Bay, the main shopping precinit in the Port Stephens. The weather had deterriorated and was overcast and there were a few showers of rain in the morning, so we looked around the shops and went to the marina for a look at the boats and the tourist information office to find other attractions we could visit that didn't mean going out on the water.
We then went for a drive around to Shoal Bay and Fingal Bay. At Fingal Bay we found some short walking tracks that took us to different areas along the Coast line near Fingal and we found a few people whale spotting. June is the time of year when the hump back whale and a couple of other species head north to their bredding grounds and, with binoculars, they can be viewed of the coast. Without binoculars you can see them when they surface and blow a jet of water through their blowhole.
After an hour of whale spotting we were hungry and opted to go to Matildas, in Anna Bay, just up the road from the Holiday Park, and sat outside on the verandah and had soup, scones and tea for 2. Matildas also has a sheepskin shop, where you can purchase all sorts of souvenirs and sheepskin products. Every Saturday morning there are also markets near the cafe/shop which are very popular. If you have time to stop here, do.
The next day we were going to the Whale Sightseeing Boat Cruise, but it was very windy and the water was very choppy. So we hiked up Tomaree Head. The track was very steep at the bottom, but got easier half way up, the view at the top was well worth the effort and gave you a great panoramic view of Port Stephens, Nelson Bay, Shoal Bay and the Coastal Beaches - Zenith, Wreck and Box. At the bottom there is another track that takes you around to some World War II gun emplacements.
Then we went to Tomago House which is situated in Tomago, on the road that takes you from Williamstown to the Pacific Highway. Tomago House is a house erected by some of the original settlers and has been taken over by the National Heritiage Trust. The Admission fee was $3.50 each. This is a self serve tour and the trust provide you with information booklets at the door that you can read as you go from room to room and venture down to the cellars and up to the attic. The house is quite empty and not really a musuem as such, as it is hired out for special events and weddings and the like.
On the way back to the Holiday Park we stopped of at the Monach Historical Museum, at Williamtown, which houses an impressive display of military uniforms, hats and memoribilia of many nations, but mainly Australian. There is a collection of rare comics and cartoons and there are a few other local items on display. The admission fee is $5 each and is well worth a visit.
Today we packed our stuff up, with a little disappointment that the stay had come to an end so quickly, and came home. But we have already arranged the next trip back there in our minds and can't wait.
So on Saturday we all congregated together, just down the road from their place, to decorate the mini van we had hired for the day with streamers, balloons and party treats and we arrived at thier doorstep making all the noise we could with party blowers and the vans horn. He was very surprised as his girlfriend had actually managed to keep the secret.
So off we headed to Wollombi. Wollombi is a small old settlers town, not far from the Hunter Valley town of Cessnock, on the way to the Hawkesbury River, and has some interesting shops to look through, an old bed and breakfast, if you wish to stop the night, and a great old pub with a open fireplace, great on a winters day. It also had a food bar where you can buy steak sandwiches, burgers, toasted sandwiches and other delicious fried food. We had lunch here before we continued on to the vineyards.
The first vineyard we stopped at was the Saddlers Creek Vineyard, at the corner of Marrowbone and Oakey Creek Roads, Pokolbin. We actually had a seated wine tasting session here as we were such a large group. The dessert wines were our favorites, although a couple of the others didn't mind the Semillon.
The last one we stopped at was the Ivanhoe Wines, Marrowbone Road, Pokolbin, where once again we fell in love with the dessert wines and ended up buying a bottle. We only had 1/4 hour here as the vineyards all close at 5.00pm.
But this was not the end of the day, not quite yet anyway, we then went to the Murphys Bar in Cessnock which is a friendly Irish bar located centrally on the main road through Cessnock. We played a couple of games of pool here, socialised with the locals and had a few drinks for the road and then climbed back on the minivan a bit worst for wear.
It was a great day and the birthday boy was very surprised.
Gloucester it located approximately four hours north of Sydney.
This area can be reached by travelling on the Pacific Highway to Raymond Terrace. Not far past Raymond Terrace, to the left, there is a turnoff marked Stroud and Gloucester, this is the road you need to be on.
To get around this area you will need a car and in some places a four wheel drive vehicle.
This area has plenty of things to see and do for both the young and the old, the outdoors type and the arts and crafts type. There is:
-The historic town of Stroud, which you pass through on your way to Gloucester, with it's old buildings and pubs, craft shops and quaint little cafes. Stop here for a Tea and Scones for two.
-The Mountain Maid Goldmine at Bowman. The area was originally pioneered by timberman because of it's abundance of Red Cider trees and then someone found gold. What was once a thriving community of 1,500 people is now a small town. You can go for a tour of the goldmine for $9.50 per adult and $7.00 per child. On the tour you will see glow-worms, bats and hear about the hardships of working in the mine. Afterwards you can have a go at panning for gold yourself - go luck.
-The rainforest around the Mountain Maid Goldmine has the largest plantation of Red Cider left in the world and therefore has conservation laws protecting the area and the trees. There are many bushwalks in the area that you venture on.
-Find your way to the Carson Pioneer Lookout for the best view in the countryside. Located 50km along the road heading from Gloucester to Walcha, at the top of the highest peak in the area, the lookout has the most amasing view of the Gloucestershire Countryside and the surrounding areas.
-Hire a kayak or get a rubber tube and head to one of the many rivers/streams in the area and have a ball.
-Put on your hiking boats and select a bushwalk which you think suits you - there are many in the area.
Most of all - enjoy.
Lobster Bay is located in the Bouddi National Park on the Central Coast, NSW - across the Brisbane Water from Umina Beach and Ettalong.
The easiest way to get there is to have your own boat, but there is a track, through the national park. To gain access to the track you have to park your car at Wagstaff. The track is a pleasant walk on a warm day but a bit of a nightmare on a hot day.
With the plan in action on the 31st December 2005 we arrived around at Sharon and Ian's place with our sleeping gear, deck chairs, blow up lilos, beach towels, sun block, gas BBQ (there is a total fire ban on due to the hot summer we had had to date), water, drinks and food - ready for every thing and anything - which was then packed, tidily, into their boat. Their boat is large enough to take 4 adults comfortably and has an outboard good enough to take people on banana rides - this was going to be great fun.
The boat was launched at the Gosford boat ramp and after a half hour trip we had arrived and rearing to go. The weather was fantastic, the white sand silky and soft and the water warm and inviting - we spent the day frolicing around, in and out of the water, sunbathing on the beach, drinking and playing a bit of beach volleyball.
Plenty of other boats were coming and going all day with an assortment of people. Larger boats were chugging past the beach heading to Sydney Harbour for the nights festivities - boy there's some money out there.
All and all the day was great and we were just kicking of - the sun was setting - bright orange against the deepening blue sky, pretty amasing - and the dusky night was coming on with the promise of fireworks, a small snake trapped in the sand pit and plenty of party drinks, food and rejoicing - even if there was only four of us.
At 12am, from Lobster Bay, we could see the fireworks at Umina Beach and those set off from different residences across the shores. Meanwhile we were taking it all in from out deck chairs on the beach. One of the better New Years Eve's I've had for a while.
The following day, New Years Day 2006, we woke up and moved from the boat to the beach where we were greeted by a baby bush turkey - how cute. The day held plenty of promise, endless blue skies all round, but the coolness of the morning provided no hint of what the weather was going to throw at us. By 9.30am we got some clue as the temperatures were already soaring - soaring all the way to 45 degs eventually. Boy was it hot - couldn't sit on the beach, ended up spending most of the day in the water only exiting for drinks and food. There was a breeze but it was hot - no relief there. The water was the best place to be.
And then we saw it start--a whisp of smoke on the ridge across the water. A half-hour later, it was out of control, and then there were the second and third whisps. Then the bushland behind a suburb in Gosford erupted, smoke filled the area, blanketing the area, and the sun was a orange disk in the sky - bushfire season had made it to the Central Coast. Boy, we sure felt sorry for those Bush Firemen and women who had to go out a brave them.
By mid-afternoon, the smoke covered the Brisbane Water and Sharon and Ian were becoming a little concerned that the fire may move towards their house so we packed up our area of the beach, reloaded the boat and proceeded back to the Gosford boatramp.
On the way we decided to have a few banana boat rides, swirling the boat around in a series of erratic circles and sudden spins all designed to make the rider of the banana boat get unceremoniously thrown of into the harbour waters. Definitely a fun way to end great 24 hours.
The bush fires took 3 days to get under control and only one house was lost - no lives - thanks to the bravery of the many fire fighters from all over NSW.
First stop was Sydney Harbour so we caught the train form Central Station to Circular Quay, via the City Circle line. The crowd was already big and large congregations had gathered around the regular street performers, scattered around Circular Quay, performing their stunts/shows. From Circular Quay it was a short walk around the ferry terminals to the Opera house and the Royal Botanical Gardens and Domain.
Hundreds of people had already found their way to the Gardens and Domain and had laid claim to some of the good viewing spots. As there were only 2 of us we managed to find a small space in the Domain’s Tarpeian Precinit, just up from the Opera House and to the left hand side of Government House. From this vantage point we could see the boats and ferries coming and going from Circular Quay, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Brightly decorated boats of all shapes and sizes were milling around everywhere. Some were covered with Aussie flags while others had balloons and streamers. The 3 tall ships were busy making their way down the harbour mouth – the starting point of the Australia Day boat race – one of the main attractions of the day. We had missed the ferry race and the boating regatta which were run earlier – the ferry race is another one of the main attractions of the day.
After about ½ hour of sitting in this location we decided to venture around the park further to the Rockery in the Botanical Gardens – located on the harbour just in front of Government House – a 5 minute stroll from our last location. Here we found a great spot on top of a small rock outcrop where we had a great view of the harbour, the Opera House, the boats and the crowd. It was here at 2.00pm the witnessed the Australian Airforce flyover – 4 jets in a diamond shape formation flying straight down the middle of the harbour.
It was time for another move - this time to the Domain’s Yurong Precinit and Mrs MacQuaries Point – a good 20 minute walk around the harbour, past the outdoor cinema. From the top of the hill at Mrs MacQuaries Point you get the best views of the harbour in all directions, the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the navy base. At 3pm, the tall ships race started and we watched these majestic ships sail past with the more modern boats and ferries circling them and coming up the rear. It was a great sight to see and well worth waiting for. A half-hour later there was a aerial acrobats show by the airforce where 6 planes demonstrated their specialized skills, flying in many different formations – sometimes upside down.
Australia Day is supposed to be the busiest day on Sydney Harbour – I’d vouch for that.
By this time we were getting a bit puckish so we headed back into the Botanical Gardens to the Gardens Shop and Restaurant, located in a central spot in the Palm Grove Centre near the pond. We bought a couple of sandwiches and drinks and sat near the pond watching the flying foxes in the trees, the wading birds and their babies and the carp swimming around. A great way to escape the crowd.
It was time to head back to the hotel to relax for a while and get ready to walk down to Darling Harbour for the Australia Day fireworks and dinner.
The Carlton Crest Hotel is a short 10-minute walk from Darling Harbour which was great. We didn’t catch up to the crowds until we reached the Sydney Entertainment Centre, located at the top corner of Darling Harbour just down from Chinatown, and then you knew that something was happening. There was a free outdoor concert being held in the park area near the Entertainment Centre – this concert was due to finish when the official ceremony was to begin – about 8:45pm. The people here were overflowing out onto the walkways and into the many fountains and ponds as it was a hot day. Mothers and Fathers were watching children playing in the water or even getting in themselves.
We didn’t enter into the park to watch the concert but instead, continued walking along the pathway to Cockle Bay where the crowd was already massive. Any patch of ground in the vicinity or at the edge of the wharves was already taken – at least they were sitting down so the people at the back could see. It was 7:30pm and food was foremost on our minds – our stomachs were grumbling - boy do we wish we had bought our dinner back at the hotel – the eatery was packed as were all the restaurants that line the bay – a restaurant owners dream. Suggestion - If you decide to go and see the Australia Day Fireworks have dinner before you go or take it with you. We finally got our food – a Kebab, a salad and a drink each – and found ourselves a good position towards the back of the crowd.
At 8:45pm the official ceremony commenced with a parade of working boats - including pilot boats, fire fighting boats, police launches, fishing trawlers and the like – while the navy band played – followed closely by a couple of brief speeches - including one by the Governor General - and a number of Australian artists singing aussie songs. After ¾ hour the fireworks started – wow, what a display – they went all out this year – sky rockets, shooting stars, low level sparklers – no expense spared – and then as quick as it started it was over – what a great way to finish a great day.
The date is January 27, 2006, and the place is Sydney. We awoke in our room at the Carlton Crest Hotel to be greeted by a beautiful sunny day, a great day to see and witness some of the attractions at Darling Harbour, located within a 10-minute walk down the road, adjacent to Chinatown.
The first point of interest for the day, and somewhere we'd never been before, was the Chinese Garden of Friendship. If you want a nice, peaceful place to go and relax, this is the best place to go and is the best value for your money, at $6 per adult, $3 per child, and $15 per family, in the centre of Sydney.
At the southern end of Darling Harbour, near the Sydney Entertainment Centre, we discovered the stone gateway to the Chinese Gardens. Upon walking through the gateway and paying the entrance fee, we were transported to another secret world of calmness and serenity.
The gardens were designed in China for the Australian bicentenary in 1988 and is set out in a traditional Chinese landscape. We made our way along winding paths through archways, pavilions, and gardens, and past waterfalls and lakes. The wildlife here is abundant, and we saw plenty of water dragons, skinks, ibis, and small birds along our journey. Seats and benches have been provided in pavilions and along the walkways, so you can sit down and enjoy the peace and landscape. The walk took us about 1 1/2 hours, and if we didn't have other places to go and see, we would have stayed longer.
Hungry, no problem: there is a tea house/cafe where they sell hot and cold drinks, pastries, sandwiches, and other yummy treats. There is also a gift shop where you can purchase a small memento of your visit.
The gardens can also be hired out for functions and weddings, with a number of pavilions or gardens areas to pick from. For additional details, call +61 2 9281 6863.
Then it was back to the real world--Darling Harbour and the not-so-serene chaos that exists there. Our next stop is the Sydney Aquarium, approximately a 20-minute walk north past Darling Harbour's Cockle Bay area.
Sydney Aquarium is forever changing its exhibitions, and it is well worth the $27 adult admission fee.
Entering through the gates we were submersed into an underwater world full of wonder. From salt-water crocs, penguins, and seals to deeper salt-water fish and sharks, from bright coral, reef fish, and reef lifeforms to the murky river waters and the platypus, the Sydney Aquarium had them all.
The aquarium has three large walk-through tanks. The first housed the seals, which has above-water viewing platforms as well as a see-through underwater walkway, which we walked on gazing at the seals speeding through their underwater paradise. The second tank housed the deeper saltwater fish: sharks of many varieties, kingies, rays and other predator fish.
But our favorite was the third tank that provided us with great views of a reef as we strolled around with bright corals; stunningly coloured reef fish, both large and small; reef sharks; and other reef life forms. At one point around the tank, there is an area where the aquarium provides a couple of steps in front of a large viewing window where people can sit and watch the antics of the tanks inhabitants. This is where we sat transfixed for 1 and a half hours before leaving the building and heading to the IMAX.
The IMAX is located at Cockle Bay, approximately a 10-minute walk from the aquarium. The IMAX Theatre has the biggest movie viewing screen in the world, or so they boast. It shows 3-D movies, usually ones you don't see in normal theatres.
We opted to see "Walking on the Moon," a documentary-type film with never-seen-before photos and film footage of the astronauts and their antics on the surface of the moon.
We purchased our tickets, $18 per adult (kids are less, $13 each, and there is a special deal for families, $50), bought drinks and something to snack on, grabbed a pair of 3-D glasses from the ushers, found a great seat in the middle of the theatre, and proceeded on our voyage to the moon, which lasted for 45 minutes.
Another great day in the city full of a variety of wonders, fun, and entertainment.
I have always wanted to experience some of the celebrations that take place for the Chinese New Year, and Sydney is supposed to have some of the best celebrations in the world, outside China itself that is. So, while we were down in Sydney for Australia Day, I thought it would be a great idea for us to attend the official opening of the Chinese New Year, Year of the Dog, to be held in Hawker Central Food Markets, which were in their temporary location in Belmore Park, just outside Central Station, Sydney.
First stop for the afternoon, at approximately 4:30pm, was the Chinese Street Markets held in the Dixon Street Mall, Chinatown. The markets are held every Friday night and stay open until 10pm. During the Chinese New Year, they open for the first few days of the new year. The markets on this afternoon were a vibrate sea of colour, noise, and activity, with busy stalls, a crowded street, and sideshows. Stalls and shops sold anything, from delicious meals and snacks, toys, herbs, herbal medicines, and Chinese lanterns to Chinese antiques and artifacts. It was great fun, and we were tempted into buying some yummy pancake-type snacks with chocolate and cheese stuffed into the centre, and also some seafood dumplings.
Just adjacent to Dixon Street Mall, you will also find the undercover Paddies Markets, great if you're looking for cheap veggies, fruit, knickknacks, clothes, or shoes. We browsed around here for a half-hour, but the street markets were more interesting and had more interesting merchandise on offer.
At 6:15pm, we headed to Hawker Central Food Markets for dinner. We'd heard that there was plenty to choose from, and it was all nice and they weren't wrong. Hawker Central was a temporary site set up with several marques, three holding food stalls, one housed a makeshift pub and the other two were eating halls. A main stage was also set up, with seating, for performances. The food stalls sold just about any Chinese dish you could think of: fried rice, crispy chicken, seafood dishes, etc. Both sides of the stage were beautifully decorated with two stunningly large lanterns in the shape of a dog and a rooster (the rooster being the animal from the previous year). These lanterns were made in China and specially shipped over to Sydney for the festival, along with several Chinese performers.
While we were eating, some of the performers who were participating in the opening were rehearsing on the stage, so we got a bit of an uninterrupted show for a while until the crowd showed up. Once all the dignitaries were seated, the mayor of Sydney and other special guest speakers, the entertainment began, consisting of dancing, a demonstration of martial arts, speeches, and the moment the crowd was waiting for--the Chinese Dragon and Lions dancers, who wound their way up from Hays Street to Belmore Park and continued to wind their way through the crowd performing acrobatics. At the end of it all, a fireworks structure in the form of a dog was lit up to chase away any bad luck for the coming new year.
We had a brilliant time, and what's more, it was all free, except the food.
If you are ever in Sydney during the Chinese New Year, I recommend you try and make it to one of the New Year's celebrations. Each year it is different. Information about what's on during this time can be found on the Internet; I entered "Sydney Chinese New Year" into the browser and it came up with all the sites. There was information to download and print.
Other popular things to do during the celebrations include the dragon boat races, held in Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour; the main parade, which runs from the town hall, on George Street, and ends in Hays Street; the Lantern Festival, held in the casino; a children's festival; and various other arts festivals at a number of locations.