Circular Quay and The Rocks

On Saturday morning, DH and I caught the train a couple of stops around the city loop to Circular Quay. For those who aren’t familiar with Sydney, (like the visitors to Australia who got off the train at the same time as us), this is the impressive view from the platform where we got off the train:

View from Circular Quay railway platform

View from Circular Quay railway platform

Even for someone like me, a frequent visitor to Sydney, seeing those two iconic images of the Bridge and the Opera House together is always wonderful.

Circular Quay is at the site where Europeans first settled in Australia, back in January 1788. It’s changed radically over the ensuing two centuries, of course – and it’s a long time since the Quay was circular! Cross-harbour ferries, tourist boats, and the river cat boat that goes down the river to Parramatta all depart from here, so it’s a lively and busy place, bustling with commuters, tourists, and buskers.

We strolled around the east side of the Quay, towards the Opera House, and stopped for a very pleasant morning tea at the Guylian chocolate cafe. There are many jacaranda trees in the area; their purple-blue flowers stunning against the blue of the sky:

Jacaranda tree in flower

Jacaranda tree in flower

After morning tea (waffle with chocolate sauce – yum!), we strolled back around to the other side of the Quay. The Rocks area was the site of the first buildings, and there are still many historic buildings there, with a preservation effort from the 1970s onwards balancing preservation reasonably well with development. Cadman’s Cottage is one of the oldest buildings in the country, having being built (I think) about 1817:

Cadmans Cottage, The Rocks

Cadman's Cottage, The Rocks

(Yes, I know that’s positively ‘young’ architecture by European standards, but we don’t have many old built things here. Landscapes, yes – incredibly ancient and stunning ones. Buildings, no.)

Wandering around The Rocks, you get frequent scenes of old contrasting with newer:

The Harbour Bridge above the old Campbells warehouse buildings

The Harbour Bridge above the old Campbell's warehouse buildings

Laneway, The Rocks

Laneway, The Rocks

(By the way, for those of you who love seeing photos, that photographer in the middle of the image is my DH, Gordon, and he has a photoblog. He posts a new image every day. Enjoy!)

We ate lunch in a lovely courtyard patisserie, then wandered back to the train and then to our apartment for me to have an afternoon rest. (I’m doing very well, but making sure I don’t overdo things.)

After our pleasant wander around the Quay area, we were saddened to hear last night on the news about the passing of the designer of the Opera House, Danish architect Joern Utzon. It is truly a stunning building, an original and breathtaking work of art.

Sydney Opera House, photographed from The Rocks

Sydney Opera House, photographed from The Rocks

2 thoughts on “Circular Quay and The Rocks

  1. Oh thank you, Bronwyn! I love the images–the jacaranda tree is making me homesick (there was a number of them in the street I grew up in, in Mexico City). And the images of the Opera House always leave me in awe.

  2. I found your blog in my hunt for information about “As Darkness Falls” after reading a review (and the first chapter; bad idea for a book I knew I couldn’t get here!) and I just had to comment to say how much I love your photos of Sydney. I haven’t had the chance to go there yet (it’s quite a trip, considering I’m in Southern Ontario, Canada), but it’s definitely high on the list of Places I Must Go Someday.

    Also loved your comment about having ancient landscapes but “young” architecture by European standards; Canada is very much the same in that respect. 🙂

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