shivered at vivid

A visit to Taronga Zoo Vivid last night was only for those who had already bought tickets and the ill advised. I’m not sure which group I fit into.

It was seriously cold with occasional drizzle. Still we braved the elements and enjoyed the show. As long as you kept moving and had warm clothing the unusually cold blast currently being experienced in Sydney wasn’t any bother.

The Vivid visual juggernaut is on until 15 June. It is amazing how much the face of a building can change when the Vivid moving animal and scenery show is projected onto the main entrance of Taronga Zoo. The first two photographs below are of the same building.

The range of colours and images are dazzling. The heritage building comes alive with flora and fauna in different coloured themes.

This year the story is about how humans are pressuring the animals on the planet.

One of the lanterns on display depicts a creature that is under serious pressure, the Southern Corroboree frog (last photo). Very few Australians have seen the delightful Corroboree frog in the wild as they exist only in a limited number of alpine locations and are endangered.

Vivid is currently on display at a number of locations in Sydney and the Taronga Zoo lanterns and multi-media projection lightshow is up there with the best of them.

The bilby is a shy nocturnal animal found in the desert regions of Queensland and Western Australia.

The bilby is a shy nocturnal animal found in the desert regions of Queensland and Western Australia.

see any critters?

see any critters?

damn bugs are everywhere

damn bugs are everywhere

Two of our Sydney tours can include a visit to Taronga Zoo. A close encounter with a koala is also available at certain times during the day.

Two of our Sydney tours can include a visit to Taronga Zoo. A close encounter with a koala is also available at certain times during the day.

A ribbiting lantern

A ribbiting lantern

Barangaroo Reserve

Barangaroo Reserve

Barangaroo is a 22 hectare inner city suburb of Sydney located on the north west side of Sydney’s CBD.

The suburb is named after an aboriginal woman who had a significant influence in early contact between Aboriginal people and British authorities. She has been described as a powerful woman and was a respected provider of food (fisherwoman). Her second husband was Bennelong. Unfortunately Barangaroo passed away shortly after giving birth to her daughter in 1791.

The adoption of the word Barangaroo as the name of this newly created suburb is yet another example of a distinctive indigenous word adding to the richness of Australia’s vocabulary. Many of Sydney’s place names are derived from Aboriginal words (eg , Bondi, Collaroy, Coogee, Cronulla, Curl Curl, Kirribilli, Maroubra, Narrabeen, Tamarama and Woolloomooloo).

The urban renewal of Barangaroo has been a landmark project in Sydney for well over ten years. The area was formerly docklands and known as the ‘hungry mile’. It was a tough, competitive and sometimes violent place. Workers from the 19th Century until the 1940s were known to walk from wharf to wharf searching for low paid work.

Barangaroo includes a 6 hectare headland park (Barangaroo Reserve) which was completed several years ago.

A significant part of the urban redevelopment in this new suburb has already occurred, however a six star resort and several residential buildings are still at the planning stage or under construction. A metro station is planned for Barangaroo.

The reserve is essentially an artificial hill, but it doesn’t look like one. Its contouring with the harbour, terraced plantings and dimensions generally make it fit in with its surrounds. Clever engineering and earthworks have given it the look of a hill whilst allowing a large void, known as the Cutaway, to exist underneath the parkland above.

The roof of the Cutaway required the fabrication, transportation and installation of massive concrete spans, which underpin thousands of cubic metres of rock, soil, grass and trees.

The Cutaway provides a unique area for events, exhibitions, television shoots, concerts and large gatherings. It is 120 metres long, 45 metres wide and the height of a six storey building. Natural light enters the space through a long vent on its east side.

A large scale planting of native plants, shrubs and trees (75 000 in total) has been undertaken at Barangaroo Reserve and the horticulturalists have largely chosen native flora that existed in the area prior to European settlement.

An incredible amount of sandstone has been used around the foreshore and throughout the reserve, showcasing the attractive look of this beautiful local material.

Barangaroo Reserve is a pleasant green addition to the City of Sydney which will improve over time as the trees increase in size whilst providing a unique multipurpose area that can be used by all Sydneysiders.

Sydney Nimble Tours visits Barangaroo Reserve in the Eastern Suburbs, Woolloomooloo, Barangaroo day out. Our half day Sydney Tour or the bespoke Sydney tour can include a visit to Barangaroo Reserve.

Barangaroo Reserve fits in well with the Rocks and Walsh Bay

Barangaroo Reserve fits in well with the Rocks and Walsh Bay

the three green towers that descend in height are called the International Towers

the three green towers that descend in height are called the International Towers

it came from the purple tent - opening night of Vivid at Barangaroo

it came from the purple tent - opening night of Vivid at Barangaroo

looking west from the Stargazer Lawn at Barangaroo Reserve

looking west from the Stargazer Lawn at Barangaroo Reserve

Remarkable weekend in the Southern Tablelands

This weekend Sydney Nimble went outside of its usual patch and visited the Southern Tablelands.

A group of like minded individuals bonded by their sense of humour and children stayed at a working sheep station, known as Markdale. www.markdale.com/ The patriarch of Markdale, Mark, took the group on an outstanding tour of the sheep shearing shed on the farm.

There was no marking time on this outing and Mark’s explanation of the shearing process and sheep husbandry business generally was refreshing and enlightening for a group of city slickers. There is another world outside of the Sydney bubble.

Markdale has an outstanding garden which includes a small lake with a tiny island and row boat, arched timber bridge, stone retaining walls and an assortment of trees. The garden was designed by acclaimed Australian landscape artist, Edna Walling.

The layout of the trees which include golden elms, aspens, silver birch, and eucalypts frame the garden in a way that allows the delightful heritage homestead to be seen from the surrounding countryside.

The property has significant history with the previous owners (the Ashtons) having held it for four generations.

On the drive to Markdale from Goulburn several places of interest were observed: Pejar Dam, Crookwell Windfarm, and some pretty stone cottages in Binda and beyond. The closeness of the road to the wind turbines provides many vantage points from which to appreciate the massive structure of these winged warriors.

The Crookwell area has plenty of wind and clean air. The shire is known for its fine wool, fat lambs, beef cattle and potato cultivation. The drive to Markdale takes around 3-3.5 hours and this duration excludes it from being within the day tour range of Sydney Nimble Tours.

If you would like to visit the Southern Tablelands we recommend a minimum of three nights, which allows two full days to explore this charming region.

Crookwell windfarm late in the afternoon

Crookwell windfarm late in the afternoon

There’s sheep in them thar hills.

There’s sheep in them thar hills.

they always have to touch

they always have to touch

baa

baa

The Edna Walling Garden at Markdale is one of Australia’s great country gardens.

The Edna Walling Garden at Markdale is one of Australia’s great country gardens.

Balmain and Ballast Point

At times Balmain seems to have no end of small, narrow and windy streets. These streets contain a plentiful supply of heritage architecture, ranging from tiny cottages to grand colonial sandstone homes. It is a colourful suburb that is largely overlooked by visitors to Sydney.

Balmain is located across the water from Barangaroo and can be accessed by ferry or road.

We like Balmain’s history, heritage architecture, harbour panorama and vibrant atmosphere. It’s a nice place to take a stroll.

The East Balmain Wharf at the end of Darling Street and adjacent Illoura Reserve provide spectacular views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Barangaroo.

Nearby Fenwick Store was built in the 1880s and used for storage by a local tug boat operator. A first class restoration of this stone heritage building has recently been completed and it will soon commence a new life as a café/gallery.

There are other heritage houses nearby such as Ewenton House and Clontarf House that can be seen whilst walking on the Tom Uren walking route. Have a look at the Balmain Watch House (179 Darling St) which was built from Hawkesbury sandstone in 1854.

In the 19th century Balmain was known for ship building, engineering and boiler making. For a period of time the area even had a coal mine.

Balmain was a working class area. The industrialisation of the suburb resulted in many tiny cottages being built for workers and surprisingly drinking establishments flourished in this environment! Many of these pubs (public houses) still operate in Balmain today and they are great places to visit even if only to admire the architecture.

Balmain began to move away from its working class origins in the 1960s when its industry began to wane and Sydney siders started to appreciate the suburb’s desirability. The Balmain basket weavers, as famously referred to by a former Australian prime minister, began to move into the area. Gentrification and renovations followed bringing back to life many decaying historic homes.

If you have time squeeze in a short walk around Ballast Point Park, which is only a 5 minute drive from the East Balmain Wharf. The park was created in 2009 after an oil refinery was demolished and the land decontaminated.

This urban renewal project has given the community several different recreational areas and provides a great place for a picnic or BBQ on the harbour’s foreshore.

Sydney Nimble Tours would be delighted to take your small group on a walking tour of Balmain and Ballast Point Park https://www.sydneynimbletours.com.au/inner. This activity can form part of our Inner Sydney Tour or added to one of the other days out. We visit Balmain for about two hours.

 

Fenwick Store was in a dilapidated state for many years. The recently completed restoration is a job well done.

Fenwick Store was in a dilapidated state for many years. The recently completed restoration is a job well done.

Ewenton House with exquisite oriel window

Ewenton House with exquisite oriel window

The Exchange Hotel is part of the fabric of Balmain.

The Exchange Hotel is part of the fabric of Balmain.

No this is not a tribute to an Easter Island Moai. The rustic quote at Ballast Point Park reads ‘Stone statues of ancient waves, tongue like dingoes on shore’. These words are taken from a poem (The Death of Isaac Nathan) by recently deceased Australian poet, Les Murray. The font is designed in dots to represent the rivets used on this former industrial site.

No this is not a tribute to an Easter Island Moai. The rustic quote at Ballast Point Park reads ‘Stone statues of ancient waves, tongue like dingoes on shore’. These words are taken from a poem (The Death of Isaac Nathan) by recently deceased Australian poet, Les Murray. The font is designed in dots to represent the rivets used on this former industrial site.

The bright colours of Mort Bay as seen from Ballast Point - Barangaroo and city buildings in the background.

The bright colours of Mort Bay as seen from Ballast Point - Barangaroo and city buildings in the background.

butcher and candlestick maker?

butcher and candlestick maker?

New Inner Sydney Tour

Breaking news: Sydney Nimble Tours announces the addition of a new tour, the Inner Sydney Tour.

Listed below are places that are often missed by visitors to Sydney. They pass our highly discerning ‘great place to visit’ filter:

  • White Rabbit Gallery and neighbouring green building, Central Park

  • Brett Whiteley Studio (Friday to Sunday)

  • Sydney University

  • Short walking tour of Balmain including the wharf area, Fenwick House and the dry dock

  • State Library

  • The Grounds of Alexandria

  • Artisan distillery or microbrewery at or near the end of the day

All of these places are close to the city (within 10-30 minutes).

Why not check some or all of them out?

If you are interested let us know and we will reply with a day plan for your approval.

The minimum time is 4 hours, so pick at least three or four places. If you would like to select most or all of the above places the inner Sydney tour can be made into a longer day trip (6-8 hours). 

Personalise an existing tour

If one or two of the above inner Sydney destinations appeal to you we can include these in any one of our other existing tours (except for the Blue Mountains).

After you have advised which one or two places you would like included and the tour you would like adjusted we will send a revised day plan for your approval.

 

Sorry but Harry Potter was not filmed here - entrance to the Quadrangle at Sydney University

Sorry but Harry Potter was not filmed here - entrance to the Quadrangle at Sydney University

don’t forget your hat, Ewenton House, Balmain

don’t forget your hat, Ewenton House, Balmain

Buildings don’t get any greener than Central Park, Chippendale

Buildings don’t get any greener than Central Park, Chippendale

Sydney Town Hall

As a part of Sydney Nimble’s continuous improvement program several representatives of the company attended a tour of the Sydney Town Hall (STH).

We were fortunate today in that most of the building was accessible. Sometimes areas are off limits if meetings or other events are being held. The STH is a working building.

It is a proud and forthright building constructed from brick and local fine grained yellow sandstone. The land on which it is built was formerly the site of the Sydney Old Buriel Ground (Sydney’s first cemetary). The STH was constructed in stages and officially opened in 1889. It is a mix of architectural styles, incorporating details from different periods and countries.

It has many exquisite features including, large doors and joinery crafted from red cedar, marble tiles and mosaics, two large triptych stained-glass windows, etched glass windows, tiled daddo panels, intricate plaster work, metal pressed ceilings and a 9000 pipe grand organ.

The vestibule to the main hall is exceptional. Its ceiling comes with altitude and is decorated in High Victorian style. The elliptical dome in the centre of the ceiling contains no less than 12 panels of curved stained glass. Each panel represents an allegorical virtue (eight in total) or one of the four elements (earth, wind, air and fire). A large crystal chandelier is suspended beneath the dome.

The main hall can accommodate approximately 2000 people. It has been used for multiple activities ranging from civic and public meetings, concerts, balls, dinners, corporate events and school presentations.

Tours of the STH are conducted by passionate volunteers and are a worthwhile investment of time, particularly if you like heritage buildings and or have an interest in Australian history.

Sydney Nimble Tours can include a visit to the STH in one of our days out but if you are staying in the city it is an activity that you can easily organise on your own. Whilst there don’t miss, if you haven’t already seen it, the Queen Victoria Building across the road.

the vestibule dome is stunning

the vestibule dome is stunning

Captain James Cook

Captain James Cook

The stained glass in this image was made for the centenary of the Colony of New South Wales in 1888. The woman signifies New South Wales.

The stained glass in this image was made for the centenary of the Colony of New South Wales in 1888. The woman signifies New South Wales.

Sometimes referred to as a ‘temple of democracy’ Centennial Hall is a pleasant place to enjoy an event

Sometimes referred to as a ‘temple of democracy’ Centennial Hall is a pleasant place to enjoy an event

Coat of arms from yesteryear - it was thought appropriate at the time for the indigenous gentleman on the left to be clothed in yellow shorts!

Coat of arms from yesteryear - it was thought appropriate at the time for the indigenous gentleman on the left to be clothed in yellow shorts!

Sydney Harbour Beaches north of the bridge

Sydney Harbour has some quality beaches which are often overlooked by visitors and locals alike. Bondi Beach, Palm Beach or Manly Beach are more likely to attract the attention of beach goers.

Standout harbour beaches located to the north of the Harbour Bridge include Balmoral Beach, Chinamans Beach, Clontarf Beach and Castle Rock Beach.

These beaches offer something different by providing a safer place for a dip, being largely protected from the surf. Some harbour beaches, such as secluded Castle Rock Beach, are enhanced by a natural bush setting. Castle Rock Beach can be accessed via the Manly to Spit Bridge coastal walk and is adjacent to the Sydney Harbour National Park.

Another less known beach is Chinamans Beach, which was named after Chinese residents who organised market gardens in the reserve approaching it. The beach stretches for about 200 metres and faces directly north. This beach is a solid choice if you seek a mellow experience away from the crowds.

Balmoral Beach’s popularity can sometimes be a negative as it gets busy on warm weekends - too much love! The better option is to visit during weekdays or early in the day on a hot weekend. It is however a beautiful beach with great views towards the entrance to Sydney Harbour (the Heads). On a Saturday afternoon you may catch the impressive sight of yachts racing in the distance.

There are several restaurants on Balmoral Beach. Alternatively follow the advice of local real estate agents and have take away fish and chips at the beach whilst enjoying the village atmosphere!

Although referred to as Balmoral Beach, it is in fact two beaches, with Edwards Beach being located to the north of Rocky Point Island (you can’t miss it) and Balmoral Beach located to the south.

Sydney Nimble Tours can include a visit to any of these Sydney Harbour beaches on our Sydney Harbour, Northern Beaches, National Park day out. There are other harbour beaches on offer but why give away all of our secrets in one blog?

Go forth and get harbour beached!

a small and secluded harbour beach

a small and secluded harbour beach

The official canine representative of Sydney Nimble Tours at full speed - Sandy Bay, a designated dog beach near Clontarf Beach.

The official canine representative of Sydney Nimble Tours at full speed - Sandy Bay, a designated dog beach near Clontarf Beach.

slick curves at Clontarf

slick curves at Clontarf

no mob at Chinamans

no mob at Chinamans

A harbour beach to yourself?

A harbour beach to yourself?

A royal day out

Yesterday Sydney Nimble Tours took a small group to the Royal National Park. The day started with a stopover at the perfectly still waters of Audley Weir. This was followed by a walk along the Jibbon Loop Track to the Jibbon Headland Aboriginal engravings and Shelley Beach.

At this point of time it was essential to have an all important coffee at Bundeena before heading to Garie Beach for a picnic lunch. The main event for the day was a bush walk from Garie Beach to Thelma Head.

The group showed off its fitness on the ascent to Thelma Head. The views of Garie Beach to the North and Era Beach to the South reveal the grandeur of cliffs and lushly forested hills abruptly ending before the Pacific Ocean.

On the way to Thelma Head the shoreline has a significant area of tessellated pavement which in parts was rectangular and in others triangular. The name tessellated originates from the resemblance of the rock to the tiles of a mosaic floor.

The day was completed by a refreshing body surf at Garie Beach.

See www.sydneynimbletours.com.au/royal-national-park-tour/ for the Sydney Nimble Tour that includes Wedding Cake Rock.

Enchanting reflection of gum trees at Audley Weir

Enchanting reflection of gum trees at Audley Weir

Smiles all round for a picnic lunch of rice salad, meatballs, rocket, avocado and chicken salad and fresh Italian bread

Smiles all round for a picnic lunch of rice salad, meatballs, rocket, avocado and chicken salad and fresh Italian bread

Alien messages or tessellated pavement?

Alien messages or tessellated pavement?

The beginning of an era… (North Era Beach)

The beginning of an era… (North Era Beach)

A bird in a blog is worth two in the .....

You know you are fortunate when you drive down the street and not only are the Eucalyptus trees blooming but you also have Rainbow Lorikeets gorging themselves on the nectar loaded flowers. Rainbow Lorikeets are equipped with a hairy tongue which enables the extraction of sweet sticky nectar and pollen from native flowers.

The Rainbow Lorikeet is a species of parrot found in northern and eastern Australia and more lately in Western Australia (from 1960s) and is one of the most beautiful birds found in Australia.

The explosion of colour provided by a combination of this bird’s plumage and the bright red flower of a gum tree is extraordinary.

The trick to taking a photo is to get reasonably close to the birds without panicking a flight to safety. If successful you will be well rewarded. Both of the bird species below were photographed on the route of Sydney Nimble Tours’ Harbour, Northern Beaches and National Park day out https://www.sydneynimbletours.com.au/sydney-harbour-and-northern-beaches-tour/.

Another iconic parrot flocking around Sydney lately is the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. These guys make a raucous screech if they are in the mood.

In the second photo even the other Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are impressed by the precision of their friend’s landing. Three screeches for all!

explosion of colour

explosion of colour

loud proud and great landing technique

loud proud and great landing technique

a bird banquet of sweet sticky nectar

a bird banquet of sweet sticky nectar

an item? - probably Rainbow Lorikeets commonly travel in pairs

an item? - probably Rainbow Lorikeets commonly travel in pairs

A New Yorker in Sydney

Sydney Nimble Tours recently journeyed with New Yorker, John. He was here visiting old mate Gareth, and booked the Eastern Suburbs, Woolloomooloo and Barangaroo day out https://www.sydneynimbletours.com.au/eastern-suburbs-tour/.

Proceedings commenced with a drive to Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte followed by a walk along the coastal walkway. The walk was kept relatively short (15 minutes return) as Sydney was in the middle of a heat wave. Our next destination was a swim at Clovelly, a protected beach.

Suitably refreshed the group headed to Paddington, Woolloomooloo, Sydney Harbour Pylon and Barangaroo. At the end of the day the boys requested something out of the way and after some discussion it was decided to visit the Cannery in Roseberry (formerly the Rosella soup factory) followed by the Grifter Microbrewery in Marrickville. It was a long day!

John became a half Aussie picking up expressions such as ‘no worries’ and whilst in Sydney he spent a whole day at the Cricket Test between Australia and India. John did have trouble in determining which front seat of the car to get into and the most appropriate direction to look before crossing the road. Very understandable!

John was philosophical about the fact that he could not see everything he would have liked in Sydney and surrounds saying ‘he had to leave something for next time’.

The pictures below are of John and Gareth in sensible hats at Barangaroo and on the coastal pathway. Clovelly in the middle picture provided relief from the heat.

In the groove and on the move at Barangaroo

In the groove and on the move at Barangaroo

cool Clovelly

cool Clovelly

seeking redemption on the coastal walkway…

seeking redemption on the coastal walkway…