Established in 1788, just a few months after Sydney , Parramatta is unofficially Australia’s second oldest city but is heavily under-rated, despite its history and heritage. In modern times, Parramatta has merged within the embrace of a hungry Sydney that continues to grow westward, but there are still a lot of legacy strewn around this place that will remind you of the colonial history here, the contributions of the pioneers, and finally the tension that tore the peace between the visitor and the visited.
On first mention, you will not even bother to think twice of this place. Un-evocatively named the ‘Brick-pit Ring Walk’, it will sound too urban, uncultured, and uninteresting. The truth cannot be any far from that. The picturesque steel ring, uplifted 20 metres in the air on stilts, is splashed with pastel colours and is tucked away, obscured, in one corner of the Sydney Olympic Park area. Not only is it a peaceful calming walk upon a shamrock green lake but is also one powerful download in zoology and geology.
Sydney has its share of riches – yet, there are so many of those quaint, quiet treasures that lie like a recluse waiting for a wayfarer to discover. And get overwhelmed. Such as the hidden shipwrecks on Homebush Bay. Iron giants in retirement, anyone?
I have been to the Taronga Zoo umpteen times and have written about it on numerous occasions earlier. This time, it was the charisma of the Capybaras. To be ignorantly honest, I didn’t even know these critters existed. Yet when I read these are the world’s largest rodents, I had to see them. I had told you – some people just require an excuse!
Spring descends in Sydney with an outburst of colours that almost makes you want to celebrate. Flowers of nearly every imaginable pastel colour pops up in the most common alleys and boulevards, suddenly awakening you up and making you take those deep breaths of rejuvenating freshness, courtesy la primavera. Reflective of the unputdownable multi-cultural spirit of this city, the zest of spring abounds in flowers from nearly every part of the world – yellow daffodils from the Motherland, pink cherry blossoms from Japan, purple magnolias from China, lavender jacarandas from Brazil, crimson rhododendrons from India – the list is one long […]
The onset of spring. Solitude and peace in a Japanese garden. Cherry blossoms waiting patiently for a sensuous rampage. While the magnolias and chaenomeles can no longer wait. They have burst forth like the vanguards of the season. So many scurrying thoughts, yet so much peace. Zen.The outcome? Haikus on Spring, Sakura and solitude…
The last weekend was a damp, cloudy day right in the middle of a chilly winter. Yet I was treated to a dazzling and precocious glimpse of Spring. For I was at the Illawarra Rhododendron Gardens. Not the best of times to visit. Or so I thought. Yet, even in the middle of winter, the floral extravaganza was a pure delight. The gardens comprise largely of undulating temperate rainforest in the shade of Mount Keira. It is only in one corner of the garden, towards its entrance, that you will find shrubberies, well-manicured lawns and a duck pond. But at […]
It started as a rough day – with a punctured tyre, I was stranded. It was the year end, long break, and chances of a tyre replacement looked grim. So there was I, 450 km south of Sydney. In Merimbula. Atop a grassy hill that overlooked lagoon and the town’s famous oyster culture, where row upon row of baskets penned dark lines on the brackish waters of the lagoon. Thus rendered stationary, I had nothing but time. To stare at the boundless skies and cloistered seas. Time and peace settled. And I sat on the grass, breathed in deep gulps […]
About 120 km south of Sydney lies the beautiful coastal town of Kiama. A superfast expressway makes it not only a quick, but scenic drive as well, as you zoom past the shoreline full with expansive Pacific views. Timeless Kiama Like many other coastal havens on this side of the NSW coast, Kiama has its fair share of aboriginal history, overshadowed by two centuries of Caucasian settlement. Yet, unlike other townships, Kiama to me, seemed like a small, quaint jewel box that contained within itself a sense of timeless nostalgia. It is perhaps not hard to imagine that the natural […]
If you have not heard of the Pylon Lookout, then believe me, you are unaware of Sydney’s best kept secret. For it is the greatest vantage point in the city (move aside Cremorne, move aside Vaucluse). I mean, it would be hard to beat the panoramic landscapes of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour, seen from one of the highest points of the Harbour Bridge itself. While most Sydneysiders and tourists alike are aware of the bridge climb, there is a less expensive option of reaching the same dizzy heights. Almost. That’s your Pylon Lookout (AUD 15 entry ticket). […]