1.1.18 - 1.3.18 72 °F
Our adventure for January is a cruise from Sydney Australia to Auckland New Zealand aboard Princess. I have been to Australia several times but have never been to the land of the "All Blacks".
I flew to San Francisco on New Years Eve to meet up with my cruise buddy who was visiting his daughter in Oakland. After a quiet day watching football, we boarded a Qantas flight for the 13.5 hour trip to Sydney. Their business class service was excellent, and we landed at 6:30 in the morning on January 3rd. Skipped January 2nd this year because of the Date Line.
Our driver was waiting for us and we headed to our hotel in the Wooloomooloo district of Sydney, on the water and next to the Botanical Gardens. Since our room was not ready, we decided to take a stroll over to the Sydney Opera House through the Gardens. It was a great way to stretch a little!
The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the building was formally opened on 20 October 1973 after a gestation beginning with Utzon's 1957 selection as winner of an international design competition. The government of New South Wales, led by the premier, Joseph Cahill, authorised work to begin in 1958 with Utzon directing construction. The government's decision to build Utzon's design is often overshadowed by circumstances that followed, including cost and scheduling overruns as well as the architect's ultimate resignation. The building and its surrounds occupy the whole of Bennelong Point on Sydney Harbour, between Sydney Cove and Farm Cove, adjacent to the Sydney central business district and the Royal Botanic Gardens, and close by the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Though its name suggests a single venue, the building comprises multiple performance venues which together host well over 1,500 performances annually, attended by more than 1.2 million people. Performances are presented by numerous performing artists, including three resident companies: Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. As one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, more than eight million people visit the site annually, and approximately 350,000 visitors take a guided tour of the building each year. The building is managed by the Sydney Opera House Trust, an agency of the New South Wales State Government. On 28 June 2007, the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first farm by European settlers on the Australian continent, at Farm Cove, was established in 1788 by Governor Phillip. Although that farm failed, the land has been in constant cultivation since that time, as ways were found to make the relatively infertile soils more productive. The Botanic Gardens were founded on this site by Governor Macquarie in 1816 as part of the Governor's Domain. Australia's long history of collection and study of plants began with the appointment of the first Colonial Botanist, Charles Fraser, in 1817. The Botanic Gardens is thus the oldest scientific institution in Australia and, from the earliest days, has played a major role in the acclimatisation of plants from other regions. After a succession of colonial botanists and superintendents, including the brothers Richard and Allan Cunningham, both also early explorers, John Carne Bidwill was appointed as the first Director in 1847.
Our driver on the way into the hotel suggested we get a hot dog at Harry's Famous Pies - it would make Coney Island jealous!