SHELLY BEACH SNIPPETS NO. 95 FEBRUARY, 2018.
Patricia Newell-Dunkley – Photographs Reginald J.Dunkley.
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A greeting from down under as we come to the close of February, the year seems to be speeding away. Hopefully the hot weather will soon be abating and we can turn our air conditioners off. It has been a long hot summer with the usual tropical weather which befits this large continent.
Here on the Central Coast of N.S.W. the holiday makers are dwindling and life is returning to normal. However, with Easter in March it will not be long before the beaches are full once again.
Sydney is the place to be with the Royal Easter Show commencing from the 23rd March to 3rd April. First held in 1825 the show is now Australia’s largest annual event, attracting over 800.000 people every year. It is a celebration of Australia’s culture, from our rural traditions to our modern day lifestyles, providing unique experiences for all.
Every Easter, the country and the city join together at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park, for fourteen days of agricultural competitions, animal experience, live entertainment, carnival fun, shopping and much more. For those that remember the movie ‘State Fair’ with Jeanne Craine and Dana Andrews, this is it all over again.
While in Sydney a trip on the famous Sydney Harbour with its iconic Harbour Bridge and The Opera House should be the first port of call. A visit to Taronga Zoo to see the wildlife, koalas, kangaroos, and duck billed platypus. Laze on the well-known Bondi, Manly, Coogee, or Tamarama beaches. Or simply spend some time in the city, shopping and where restaurants abound. You will be spoilt for choice in Sydney and here are a few of the sights to see.
Camp out for the night on Cockatoo Island. This is a UNESCO World-Heritage-Listed site, smack in the middle of Sydney Harbour. It is great for a daytime exploration, but it also has tents ready and waiting for your arrival. You can wake up to one of the best views in the world right on your doorstep.
Whale watching can be done between April and October. You are in the perfect place to see whales as they migrate from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef. You can see them from the coastline, but the best ways to see them is by taking a whale-watching cruise from the harbour and keep your eyes well peeled for Humpback and Southern Right Whales.
Glebe Market, an affluent inner-western suburb of Sydney is a browser’s dream with plenty of bric-a-brac, second hand clothes, records, books, artisan goods, and jewellery, all available at easy prices. Held every Saturday from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00pm the market is a great place to visit. Relax on the lawn and listen to live music, with plenty of food and drink stalls for refreshment.
Breakfast/Brunch has become an art form and fast taking over from the barbecue for many people. There are exciting cafes dotted all over the city. King Street, Alfred Street, Chippendale, Waterloo, Kirribilli, Castlereagh Street, Manly, Sutherland, Marrickville, The Rocks. They all specialise in their food and drinks, with some being strictly green.
There is also The Sydney Tower where you can enjoy a delicious buffet rotating restaurant, whilst taking in the best views of the city of Sydney. Alternatively Lunch or dinner from a la carte menu with views as far as the Blue Mountains.
For those who like a tipple there is “The Rocks Historic Pub Tour”. Visit The Rocks in Sydney and see where Sydney’s history of drinking began. Travel back in time when hard liquor was standard currency and convicts brewed beer in secret. As you make your way to five different historic pubs you will hear stories behind Sydney’s spirited heritage. Part tour and part sunset swagger, this unique adventure will bring to life the notorious history and tales behind the sailors, soldiers, convicts, and colonists who would do anything for a drop of the good stuff.
Chinatown Sydney is a vibrant fusion of shopping, cuisine and Asian culture just minutes from the city centre. Punctuated by street lanterns, archways and oriental architecture, Chinatown is renowned as Australia’s best showcase of Chinese culture.
As the attractions popularity continued to grow, so too did Chinatown now extending from Sussex, Hay and Dixon Streets to encompass a large area all the way to George Street and Darling Harbour in the east and west respectively. Dixon Street is home to some of the best restaurants and is extremely popular with tourists. Here, you will also find an eclectic yet authentic mix of Asian grocery stores selling a wide range of clothing, home wares, exotic foods and ingredients and traditional medicinal herbs.
The China New Year Festival is by far the most popular and most impressive and held over three weeks in February. The most remarkable Lunar New year celebrations held outside of Asia, it is also one of the biggest.
While in Sydney you must take in a full-day tour of The Blue Mountains and discover this natural beauty never to be forgotten. Including Featherdale Wildlife Park, Echo Point and rides on the Scenic World. It is just a ninety minute drive from Sydney and well worth the effort.
The Blue Mountains are beautiful all year round and ten times older than The Grand Canyon. The ancient rocks underneath the mountains are roughly 470 million years old and recognised as Australia’s 14th World Heritage site in the year 2000.
Here at Shelly Beach the garage conversion is completed and is magnificent, I now have a beautiful studio/gallery with paintings adorning the wall and plenty of room for me to paint. The garden is still full of birds and having two feeding sessions, one for the large white cockatoos who have taken up residence, and then for the smaller birds. Princess Pixie the Pomeranian has had a playmate Lilly a miniature Poodle, while her owner is on an ocean cruise around Australia. Next month we will visit the Hunter Valley.