Sunday, July 17, 2016

Australia 2016 Day 2- Watson's Bay, Hornby Lighthouse Walk, Behind-the-Scenes Opera House Tour

On my first full day in Sydney, I started the day by walking down to the Opera House for some business - I had to verify our tickets for that night's Behind-the-Scenes Vivid Opera House Tour! Once I confirmed that we were on, I grabbed a quick pic of me and my favorite building before catching a ferry out to Watson's Bay. 
Day 2 pic of me with my Opera House
I visited Watson's Bay last time I was in Sydney, and loved the quaint little seaside village. There is a lovely walk around the South Head, but last time by the time I got the opportunity to take the walk my legs were worn out, so I didn't do it. This time I made sure to do the walk EARLY in the trip, before my legs were so tired. And it was worth it - such beautiful views of the harbour, tiny beaches, WW2 gun emplacements, palm trees, cliffs with waves crashing on the rocks below, the cityscape in the distance, and of course the distinctive red and white striped Hornby Lighthouse.
I had to take the steps down from some cliffs onto the beach below - and I had to time it very carefully if I didn't want to get wet from the waves crashing on the beach.
Sea Plane!
Sitting at the point of the South Head, looking across the opening of the Sydney Harbour at the North Head, and out to the right is the open Pacific Ocean
The beautiful Hornby Lighthouse
In Scotland, they call the wind-blown white caps "white horses".
Funny story - I left Stephanie's flat that morning without filling up my water bottle because I thought I would be able to find a place with ice water to fill up - yeah, they don't have ice in a lot of places in Sydney! So I ended up doing this whole walk (about 2 hours) with no water - it was warm, and by the time I made it to the end, I was THIRSTY! So I was happy to see a convenience store back in town. I promptly bought a bottle of water, and poured one of my Crystal Lite grape drink packets in and shook it up. I opened it excited about a drink, only to have half the bottle spew everywhere - it was sparkling water! Oops! After laughing at myself and cleaning up a bit, I enjoyed my drink and walked up to another observation area for some more beautiful views of the cliffs on one side and the city/harbour on the other. I had worked up a bit of an appetite, so I treated myself to lunch at Doyle's Takeaway before catching another ferry back to the city and then around to Darling Harbour again. It was a really nice, relaxing day even with the hike around the South Head.
I made my way back to Stephanie's apartment, called the airline to start the suitcase claim, and then cleaned myself up for the Opera House tour, then went to meet Stephanie who was going straight there after work. We hung around outside taking a few pictures before the tour started. 
On my last visit I did a normal daytime tour, but this evening tour took us behind the scenes into the orchestra pit, the green room, the set elevator, and various other areas that most people never see. They also took us outside and gave us some information about Vivid - how the light show on the Opera House was created, etc. We got to go up the stairs on the outside of the Concert Hall that are usually closed to visitors, to the front of sails where the Bridge was reflecting beautifully in the glass front of the Opera House (cool!). But of course, the best part of the tour was the time we spent sitting in the Concert Hall, taking it all in, taking pictures (which is not allowed if any person is on the stage), and hearing stories and information about the hall. We ended the tour with a delicious dinner of filet mignon and chips (fries) - what an amazing evening!
I love how the bridge is reflected in the glass above, and the moon shows up so brightly!
The bridge lit up in rainbow lights in honor of the Orlando shooting.
So excited to be here!

After the tour, we walked back outside to see the Opera House all lit up, up close and personal. On the way back home we stopped at Customs House, one of Sydney's libraries, which had an animated feature about Sydney's hidden stories projected onto its exterior. We sat and watched for a while before walking back through The Rocks back to home. It was a really great day! 
One of my favorite of the Opera House designs, with what looks like 3D tiles.
Customs House
Here is a video of the start of the Customs House projection - 
all of this is on the outside of the building!
This exhibit in The Rocks is basically water bottles hung at various heights, with a small amount of tonic water in the bottom - the quinine in the tonic interacts with invisible ultraviolet rays to emit the glowing blue light.

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