We landed on Sydney Airport (SYD — Kingsford Smith International) early in the morning around 8 AM.
Took an Uber ride to our Hotel (Novotel at Darling Harbour).
At Novotel, the receptionist was gracious enough to let us in to our room (3PM is the check in time, we were there almost 10 AM!).
We asked for a room with a view of the Harbour… here is how the view looked like from our window…with the Sydney Tower …
As you can see, there are improvements going on… which is great. Darling Harbour turned 35 on May 4, 2023, and it sorely needs an overhaul. I am always for improvements — be that via a series of small changes (Kaizen) or one drastic change (Kaikaku).
Before this trip to Australia, we watched a lot of YouTube videos on Sydney… just to level-set on what to expect to see. It is time to explore these changes in person!
We arrived early so… we did not waste time. Explore we did!
When we looked back, we saw our hotel (Novotel — Darling Harbour)… a beautiful hotel with helpful staff.
Still… walking along Pyrmont Bridge we got reminded of the 2023 Women’s FIFA World Cup — yup, it is happening during our visit in Australia.
Long time ago, when my wife and I were living and working here in Sydney, a Mono-Rail used to go around the city including Darling Harbour as a station. That Mono-Rail is gone already. A remnant of it (the station) was left behind…
When we got to the City (only few minutes from our hotel)… we got to see the new thing we saw on YouTube — the new Tram (Sydney Light Rail)! These were not here when we were living and working in Sydney… buses ran here back then… but not anymore… buses were re-routed.
George Street is very cool. Lots to see…
lots of places to eat!
Wynyard Station is also nice and revamped! It is different from before… my wife used to work nearby…
Exceptionally clean restrooms! Just wave your hand and the door opens… contactless!
We went inside St. Patrick’s Church…to pray…
Time to go to circular quay… we walked… we did not use the Tram… to soak-in these huge changes in the City!
At the Circular Quay… we looked at a poster for information… so we know where to buy ferry tickets and which wharf to take to Manly Beach.
We probably really looked like tourists — well, most likely, 80% of people at the Quay are tourists like us anyway! — that a person suddenly appeared from the Quay to offer us his help.
It is from him that we learned about “Tap On — Tap Off”. In Sydney, as long as you have a credit card (or an Opal Card), you can use your credit card to get into Ferries, Busses, Trams (Sydney Light Rail), and Trains… no need to buy a ticket. In fact, if you have an iPhone (with apple pay working), you can use that too! Lucky for us, we all have 4 distinct credit cards to use. Yes, must be distinct… you cannot use the same credit card to pay for someone else because it triggers a “Tap-Off”… cancelling your earlier done “Tap-on”.
More on “Tap-On; Tap-off” in later topics. This is so incredible that it must have its own topic!
More to see around Circular Quay before boarding a ferry to Manly Beach…
Walked along this pathway… lots of places to eat. However, the buildings on the right hide the Opera House and the Botanical Garden. These buildings were not here when we were here a long time ago. So, we had to walk further up to see the Opera House.
And the Botanical Garden…
and the Sydney Harbour Bridge…
and the bird, Ibis…these birds openly interact with humans… no fear..
Ferry ride to Manly Beach! Using “Tap-On; Tap-off” — no more buying “Tickets” like we used to… very refreshing and liberating!
Arrived! No need to “Tap-off” because there is no other destination to go to for the Ferry… the system automatically taps you off.
The Corso at Manly! It connects Manly Cove (where the Ferry docked) to Manly Beach. Look at the picture… in Australia, they call “Chemist” to what we call in the USA “Pharmacy”….
It was getting dark and colder when we got here. Yes, it’s Winter season in Australia!
So, we headed back to the Corso to try some “Fish and Chips” …
And Gelato…this shop is famous, and it runs a long line during summer!
It was getting late… so we boarded a ferry… but not the leisurely-and-slow one… we took the fast ferry by mistake… but it was a pleasant mistake… we liked it…it was really fast.
We got back at the hotel… that’s the view that greeted us… what a beauty!
More beautiful was the present that was awaiting us… from the Novotel staff…
It is a “Welcome Back” gift… we’ve been away from Australia for so long… 25 years! Not 20 as the card says. They gave us a lovely card with their thoughts, local beers, and their famous chocolate, “Tim Tam”… lots of it! Tim Tam is unbelievably delicious!
Their welcome card and thoughts were the sweetest of them all.
My son and I said “Cheers, Mate!” — as we toasted before we drank the ice-cold beer, Tooheys… my favorite beer!
It is not midnight yet, so my son and I went out to the Star, Sydney — for their casino. We had a blast!
Along the way to the casino, we saw folks doing their night exercises…very fit people in Australia, I thought.
Australia is a really a lucky country.
What a Day!
Key Idea: Bask in the beauty of each day. Look at everything with curiosity. And treat each moment as a once-in-a-lifetime experience — will never be repeated again. Think of “Ichi-go ichi-e” every day.
There are many other ideas like this — short but sweet ideas — in my new book, ‘SAFe (6.0) Is like …’ . It is available on Amazon… and it has reached ‘# 1 New Release’ several times! Check it out.