Wednesday, June 22, 2011

10 May 2011: Sydney Highlights and Bondi Beach Gray Line Tours

The Gray Line Tour.

I foresee that my mother would like a less physically demanding itinerary on 10 May 2011 so I had made reservations for two to Gray Line Tours' Sydney Highlights and Bondi Beach half-day tour in advance. We set off on this tour on 10 May 2011 in the morning.

See Sydney Attractions Pass comes in handy

The See Sydney Attractions Pass was the card to use. When we collected our See Sydney Attractions passes at the Australia Travel Specialist outlet, the staff member at the outlet strongly recommended the "Sydney Highlights and Bondi Beach" Gray Line Tours. Since I do not know better, I went along with the suggestion with the intention to catch a ride to Bondi Beach. I was very happy with this choice of mine.

Usually, a half-day tour with Gray Line Tours would cost AUS$71 per person.

Pass holders of the See Sydney Attraction Pass have the great privilege to enjoy the half-day tour free!

Service by Gray Line Tours was wonderful. Shuttle bus services from one's accommodation in Sydney's city to the departure point of the tour are available upon request. Making reservations over the phone was a breeze.

The Sydney Highlights and Bondi Beach Gray Line Tours is indeed the quintessential introduction to Sydney. It brought us to many scenic and picture-perfect places that I wish I have had many spare batteries that came along with my Canon camera. Thankfully, I had another extra camera to take lots of photographs with.

Lord Nelson Hotel. One of the Oldest Hotels in Sydney.

The Rocks and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Sydney city on the bus:
The first part of the tour began with a tour of Sydney city on the bus. During the journey, the bus-driver and also our very important guide for the day added interesting commentaries to share with us anecdotes of the Sydney city.
Martin Place.

Fabulous views from Mrs Macquarie's Chair:
The first stop of the tour was Mrs Macquarie's Chair near the Royal Botanic Gardens. Mrs Macquarie was the wife of one of the governors of New South Wales, Major-General Lachlan Macquarie. We were told that she was known to visit this very area near the Royal Botanic Gardens to enjoy the views of the harbour.

This place offers a fabulous view of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. I urge that if schedule would permit, please do visit Mrs Marquarie's Chair for the world class views that it offer. There is no admission charge at all to get a great view from this lookout position.
One of the trees at Mrs Macquarie's Chair area.

One of my friends told me that her husband had proposed to her at Mrs Macquarie's Chair. I wonder whether the knowledge of this had made me kept my eyes wide open to admire the beautiful view from Mrs Macquarie's Chair, and to imagine how my friend's heart was won by the sincerity of her lover and the beauty of the views?

The scenic views from Rose Bay:
The next stop was nearby the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Rose Bay. This building overlooks the bay and has a scenic view of the harbour. I was told that it now houses the Kincoppal-Rose Bay school for girls.

Awesome Watsons Bay:
An essential stop before reaching Bondi Beach was at Watsons Bay. Our driver-and-guide drove us to experience the entrance to Port Jackson (Sydney harbour). I am still trying to figure out why the folks in Sydney call them "Sydney Heads". The good news is that I have managed to learn to recognise North Head and South Head. I wish I had more time to while away at Watsons Bay.

North Head in the background. South Head in the foreground.

Macquarie Lighthouse

Bondi Beach:
The attraction of the day was Bondi Beach. The word "Bondi" is Aboriginal in its origin and means "water breaking over rocks".

Our driver told us that it could rightfully be named Bondi Bay since it was not large enough to be considered a long stretch of beach. Whatever its name is, Bondi Beach is a place to witness large waves and to see many seagulls. My ears enjoyed the constant music made by the sounds of water breaking over the rocks and the shores.

This photo was taken using the Fish-Eye program of the camera.

Bondi Pavilion.

We saw a dog at Bondi Junction.

Back to the city and the Sydney Opera House:
After our visit to the Bondi Beach, the tour group headed for the city. On our way to the city, the bus passed by Bondi Junction and that reminded me of a memorable dinner the previous night.

The bus stopped by Sydney Opera House before heading back to the various hotels. My mother and I decided to end our bus tour at the Sydney Opera House. My mother could not figure out why I would still visit the Sydney Opera House again when I was there just a day ago. Anyway, my reply to her was that for each and every visit, the Sydney Opera House will look different because of the lighting and weather condition. Isn't it the same in life? Each day may seem no different from the other, but each day is actually unique on its own?

Sydney Opera House.

Overall, this is a tour that I would recommend. Firstly, it is easy on the feet since most of the journey will be covered while the guests are sitting on the bus. Secondly, it brings its guests to places in Sydney with beautiful views. Thirdly, the guide often enlighten its guests with interesting anecdotes of Sydney.

Last but not the least, I am feeling grateful for the good weather that day.

Sydney Harbour Bridge, taken nearby Sydney Opera House.

Gray Line Tours
Tel: 1300 858 687


Please also see: My visit to Sydney, May 2011
All the photos on this post were taken using a Canon Digital IXUS 1000HS camera.

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