One more week in Sydney and then I’ll return to the Netherlands. It’s been three years since I first set foot on Australian soil to start my postdoc at the University of Sydney. And those were three good years. That was of course because of the great Aussie people, but it also had to do with Sydney’s great places. Here are a few that I will definitely miss…
First an outer Sydney location. Actually, I love all of them, simply because Sydney is surrounded by beauty. At the East there are of course Sydney’s world famous beaches. Manly, just north of Sydney Harbour and Bondi and Coogee south of it. And many more, between Palm Beach in the north and Cronulla in the South. South of Sydney is the Royal National Park, with a beautiful scenic coastal walk (and some scary snakes). Inland, on the Western fringes of Sydney, the flat land turns into mountains, …Blue Mountains. Just a two hour train ride from bustling Sydney. But my favorite outer side of Sydney must be in the North: beautiful Kuringgai Chase National Park, with its lovely islands and scenic bays.
From outer Sydney to inner Sydney. Not surprising, nor original; my favorite spot here seems to be the favorite spot of every tourist visiting the city: Sydney Harbour. With its beautiful Australian icons: the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. It’s a place I’ve seen many times of course, but somehow I am still amazed by the stunning views, especially Sydney Harbour by night.
Closer to home is a site I’ve seen many many times: the campus of the University of Sydney. Australia’s oldest university, founded in 1850. Despite a few horrible postwar makeshift buildings, it is a beautiful campus with the lovely quadrangle as its Oxbridge-like center. Unfortunately, It’s a bit of a construction site at the moment, but by 2010 it should all be up and running again.
But the place I will miss most, without any doubt, is Newtown. Three years ago, I was immediately captured by this suburb in Sydney’s Inner West and by its bustling artery, King Street. Daily morning walks to Sydney Uni through King Street always are a lively start of the day. Despite the noisy traffic, King Street’s many coffee shops fill up every morning with Newtown’s Latte lovers, enjoying their big brekky or Vegemite sandwich. In the evenings Newtown’s chardonnay socialists seek refuge in King Street’s many bars and countless restaurants, appreciating their Thai, Lebanese, Greek, Italian, African, Turkish, Vietnamese, Korean, Malay, Macedonian, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish or Nepalese dishes.
In an earlier post I cited a lonely planet quote on Newtown, one that is still very true today:
“a melting pot of social and sexual subcultures, students and home renovators. King Street, its relentlessly urban main drag, is full of funky clothes stores, bookshops and cafes. Newtown comes with a healthy dose of grunge, and harbours a decent live music scene.”
“a swag of funky cafes and restaurants lining King Street offer an interesting introduction to the suburbs community life”
If you ever visit Sydney, don’t forget these places. I definitely won’t!