Ten and half hours and over 5000 miles after leaving Hawaii we arrived in Sydney 24 hours after we left. Confused? We certainly felt it! Crossing the equator and the International dateline meant we lost an entire day and went from 9 hours behind the UK to 11 hours in front!
We were also 4 hours behind Hawaii so arriving at our hotel at 9pm meant we crashed out straight away but were awake at 4.30am! We had a refreshing swim in the rooftop pool at 6am (it was only 7 degrees ourside which was another shock!) and breakfast at 7am so were ready to enjoy our only full day in Sydney.
We noticed some runners going past the hotel and on further investigation discovered it was Sydney Marathon Day! This meant many of the roads were closed which made for an easy wander to Darling Harbour, round Barangaroo to Sydney harbour to see the impressive Sydney Harbour bridge and the beautiful Sydney Opera House. After cruising through the Bay on the 'Sourin' ride at California Advertureland, Disney it was fantastic to see it in real life! There was a great atmosphere with the marathon in town- a DJ playing and lots of people watching.
We ducked into the museum of modern art which was fun and then caught a ferry to Watsons Bay to have lunch with the Sansoms at Doyle's - a lovely beach and harbour front seafood restaurant. There was a fair going on there so that was lively as well!
The children were able to play in the sand and sea while we finished our meal, and we were joined by my step-sister Julie and her husband Simon for coffee which was just lovely.
Catching up with news and the easy Australian vibe meant it was 5.40 when we said our goodbyes and got back on the ferry, just in time to watch the sunset over the harbour as we cruised back into circular quay. We were just able to stay awake long enough to pop into the Opera House and get postcards for Sophia and Jake to send home to their classes at Royal Kent and then walked back through the park to our hotel.
The Pullman Hotel was a great spot in the CBD and the breakfast set us up well for both days. I discovered that evening that Andy Hayden who I went to secondary school with and was in touch with on facebook came third Australian in the marathon! I'd forgotten he lived in Sydney but he joined us for breakfast on day 2 and we enjoyed reminiscing.
We started our morning with a walk into the Botanical Gardens which were beautiful - full of spring flowers (we've gone from summer back to spring!) and brightly coloured native Australian birds.
We then headed to the NSW Art Gallery and had a really insightful tour around the aboriginal art. Jake had been studying Australia with Miss Murray in year 1 so was really interested in seeing some originals. Hearing about the native Australians was fascinating. We learnt where they used to live and how they used to have 200 different languages but now only 50-60 are used. We also learnt that the many spot paintings you see now for sale were actually introduced by an artist in the 1980's!
Dave went to meet Faz, an old roommate from Chiswick days for lunch and we had a picnic up on the rooftop of the hotel before we headed off to the airport for Brisbane (our 10th flight!). We were all so excited to be finally seeing our family!