Although it is winter in Sydney the last week saw us experiencing many beautiful days of sunshine and blue sky. I had an unusually lovely week. I felt like a tourist in my own city discovering new delights and treasures. We are fortunate to not live too far from the city so we take advantage of all that it has to offer as often as we can. I thought I’d share some of the places we visited during the week.
While AJ was away at band camp for the weekend we took BJ into the city to explore some new areas. We had heard The Eveleigh Market at Redfern was a great Farmers and Artisan Market and we were not disappointed. A ramp from the road gave us wheelchair access to the market held in the heritage listed Blacksmith’s Workshop.
We sat in the sun and enjoyed delicious steamed savoury pancakes cooked by chef Kylie Kwong.
We bought fresh produce, cheese and pasta.
The fruit loaf from La Tartine bakery is the best. The loaf is packed full of flavour with a mixture of figs, apricots and sultanas.
The flavours of fresh produce really can’t be beaten and we plan to go back again when time permits.
There is good ramp access into the market from street level, we parked in a disabled parking spot right opposite the market’s entry but it was very busy. There is a disabled toilet facility within the market. The market is on every Saturday from 8am – 1pm.
AUSTRALIAN MARITIME MUSEUM
Naturally BJ wasn’t that enthused by the market but he did enjoy a visit to the Australian Maritime Museum to see the Amazing Whales exhibition which is currently showing. Each school holidays the museum has a different theme and these holidays it is a whale exhibit. There are interactive displays which provide an enormous amount of information about whales. Did you know a baby blue whale drinks the equivalent of 850 baby bottles every day? Entry to this exhibit requires an additional ticket but there is plenty to explore in the museum if you are on a tight budget.
In the past AJ has done the craft workshops at the museum and thoroughly enjoyed them. The museum is wheelchair accessible and has good facilities including accessible bathrooms and cafe. There are two disabled parking spots at the rear of the museum (these are accessed via an intercom and boom gate on a first come basis)
MRS MACQUARIE’S POINT
Hubby and I don’t spend much time together by ourselves but last week we managed two lovely dates. A trip to the city on Wednesday saw us admiring the city views from Mrs Macquarie’s chair before parting ways for the day.
I felt lucky to call Sydney home sitting at Mrs Macquarie’s chair while having a coffee and watching the bus loads of tourists coming to one of the best photo opportunity spots in Sydney. Our Harbour knows how to dazzle and on that morning it was at its finest.
After Hubby and I had our coffee he had to head to the airport to pick up a work colleague but I still had more time to explore the city prior to my appointment. Here are a few of the spots I visited.
ART GALLERY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
Don’t let the photo with stairs put you off visiting the Art Gallery of New South Wales. There is wheelchair access and even parking at the rear if you have a wheelchair (on a first come basis via security gate to the right of the building as you look at it) We have visited the Gallery many times during school holidays as they always have interesting programs for kids. They book out early so check the website or join their mailing list to receive email alerts. BJ often enjoys the shows and AJ loves the hands on programs. They once had a cartoonist demonstrating how to draw a cartoon character, that was free and very popular with the kids and parents.
LUCKY BOAR OUTSIDE SYDNEY HOSPITAL
The lucky boar statue outside the Sydney Hospital always seems to have tourists mingling around it rubbing its nose for luck. On Wednesday I stopped to have a close look. Sydney hospital is Australia’s oldest hospital and has a grand sandstone facade but it is the boar statue which gets all the attention.
The plaque on the statue, Il Porcellino states that if coins are dropped in the fountain or left in the donation box “legend says that if you rub the nose of the boar you will be endowed with good fortune.” All donations help those in the hospital. You can see by the shine on the boar’s nose that many seek good fortune when they visit Sydney.
PARLIAMENT HOUSE NSW
My next stop, and the reason for my trip into the city was a visit to Parliament House NSW at the invitation of our friends at Touched By Olivia Foundation and hosted by Victor Dominello MP.
I have walked past Parliament House many times but this was the first time I have been inside so that was interesting in itself. There was airport style security, ID to collect and then we were standing in the foyer. It was decorated in rich colours with leather seating, something like what I imagine you may have found in a gentlemen’s smoking lounge in years gone by.
Going to a morning tea where everyone is involved or dedicated to make inclusive play spaces is a wonderful experience. One that I could only have dreamt about when BJ was little. Two of the volunteers, Malcolm and Shirl Ellis received a certificate and Ministerial Mention for their efforts in fundraising. It was great to be able to speak with them and let them know from a personal perspective what their work means to our family and others.
It felt deliciously naughty being in the city on a weekday by myself. It reminded me of the joy of having a day off school when you were not supposed to. People watching is always fascinating and just having time to walk around by myself was liberating. After morning tea I continued to explore.
STATE LIBRARY NSW
I poked my head into the State Library where people were bent over books and the walls were lined with history. It was so quiet inside, a fabulous place to retreat if I need alone time in the future.
My day was fast coming to an end but there was time to meet an old friend for a catch up and then it was back to reality. I was getting so carried away with enjoying the city I nearly missed my train home.
The rest of the week was filled with the usual commitments like homework, early morning band rehearsal, conversations with therapists and routine. When my parents offered to mind the kids so we could go out for the night on the weekend we jumped at the chance and after being in the city during the week I was keen for that to be our destination.
SYDNEY AT NIGHT
As I said before we don’t often get out by ourselves because it is hard to organise someone to stay with the kids, but it is so worthwhile. Time as a couple without distraction is a vital part of a relationship even if infrequent.
We hadn’t booked a restaurant so we just headed to the city and decided to have a spontaneous evening. It is lovely not planning something down to the last detail.
We headed to Ventuno restaurant at Walsh Bay for some hearty pasta. Being Saturday night they were very busy but found us a seat at the bar and we sat and chatted and enjoyed a delicious meal. The restaurant is wheelchair accessible and although they do not usually take reservations prior to 8pm they advised they will for anyone needing wheelchair access. They also have a disabled bathroom facility which they keep locked so it is only used by patrons that really need it. The restaurant looks out onto the boats moored at the pier and the Harbour. Disabled street parking is available in the area.
After dinner we decided to enjoy a walk around the Harbour. After the crowds we had encountered during the Vivid Festival, the city seemed quiet. The Sydney Opera House was back to a very elegant plain white but still looked beautiful.
Many sights in the city are very familiar as we have walked past them many times but it is great when you can be a tourist for a day and stop and read the plaques. Suddenly you see something you have seen a million times in a different light. That doesn’t mean that I now understand the sculpture pictured below (Still Life with Stone and Car).
Finally, our week ended on Sunday with a wonderful walk at Coogee Beach. We had never done this walk before and it is always exciting to find another accessible walk. This one is fairly spectacular as it hugs the coastline and to our surprise the wildlife (despite being a busy walkway with every man and his dog exercising along the route) was abundant. We saw whales breaching out to sea, a turtle swimming close to shore and lots of bird life.
This is now my favourite accessible walk in Sydney. We parked at the rear of the swimming pool at Coogee Beach in an accessible parking bay. This was fine for us but the parking spaces are not particularly wide. There is also a small incline for the first part of the walk if you start at this point. There are several parking bays further along the walk (for example near the corner of Wisdom Street and Alexandria Parade there are wider spaces) so I would suggest one of the others if a bit of a hill or narrow parking places are a problem for your family. There is a MLAK key locked accessible bathroom near the park on the walk. Check the Randwick Council website for further information regarding this walk.
Sydney is my home town but I am still amazed by the variety of things to do in our beautiful city.
I’d love to hear about your favourite places in Sydney? Do you know of a great accessible walk or other attraction?
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