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Apr 5 / Amy

Australia: Day 14, A Day of History

We woke up after a good sleep and got ready for our day on the town.  We left our room around 11 am after getting ready and Skyping with my mom again.

First stop, the Pylon Museum!

When you do the BridgeClimb, they give you a ticket to visit the Pylon Museum for free.  We made our way to the pedestrian walk way to make our way onto the bridge.  The pedestrian walk way can be found on the Eastern side of the bridge from the city side (use the ‘Bridge Stairs’ in Cumberland Street, The Rocks). Or if you are coming from the North side you can use the steps near Milsons Point Railway Station.

If you’re not able to climb the bridge, definitely make time to go up on the pedestrian walkway – you’ll have great views of the city.

We made our way up the stairs and turned in our tickets, and continued to climb a few more flights of stairs.  We got to the top and read all about the bridge and look at historical artifacts on display.

Old signs from the Sydney Harbour Bridge’s opening


Fun Facts about the Sydney Harbour Bridge:

  • The bridge opened on 19 March 1932
  • It’s made of 58,202 tons of steel, 600,349 cubic feet of granite, and 3,354,893 cubic feet of concrete.
  • The arch of the bridge is 439 feet (134 meters) above sea level
  • The length of the arch span is 503 meters / 1650 feet / .32 miles
  • It took 71854 gallons (272,000 liters of paint to give the bridge the initial three coats of paint)
  • The area of steel work that gets painted on the bridge is about 5,220,496 square feet (485,000 square meters)
  • Back in 1932, it cost 10,057,170 pounds, 7 shillings, and 9 pence to build the bridge.  This would be approximately $160,902,000 USD today
  • The Sydney Harbour Bridge isn’t the biggest steel arch in the world, but it’s the third longest.  It’s also considered to be the greatest because of combination of span, width, and load bearing capacity

We also took photos of the Sydney Opera House (because I didn’t have enough by this point – ha!).

Gorgeous day on the Harbour

While we were at the top of the Pylon, we could see them setting up for New Years Eve along the top of the Bridge.  I got *very* excited seeing this, because I knew we’d be watching the fireworks so very soon.

Close-up of the fireworks setup going on

In the shop we picked up a few postcards and a coffee table book about the history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  On our way down we watched the movie playing with aerial views of the city.

We walked back down the steps and decided to stop at The Australian Hotel for lunch.

The Australian Hotel

Taken from their menu:

The Australian Hotel was originally located on George Street, next to where the Museum of Contemporary Art
now stands. The Sydney Gazette announced that The Australian was open for business on 12th August 1824,
making it the oldest continuously licensed pub in the City of Sydney. When the plague hit Sydney in 1900,
many of the buildings were pulled down to prevent further outbreaks, including The Australian Hotel.

In 1913 the present building was constructed and remains to this day, one of the most intact pubs in Sydney, still retaining its original features and unique split level bars.

The building is still an attractive and well preserved example of Edwardian style architecture with quality and
taste present throughout the hotel, from the tiling through to the tap faucets. The Australian Heritage Hotel still
has many of its pre-existing features, such as the metal awnings, etched signage and saloon style bar doors.

The menu was rather large and everything looked delicious.  Josh opted for the Crispy Bacon pizza [Mushroom, slow roasted tomato, red onions & mozzarella cheese], and paired it with a bottle of Endeavor (pale ale).  I chose the Queenslander [Crisp smoky bacon, roasted tomatoes & chunky pineapple] and a schooner of their house brewed Scharer’s Lager.  Both were delicious!

Queenslander pizza

After lunch we made our way over to Hyde Park, which to me, is a beautiful spot within the city. We took a quick walk through on our way to the Australian Museum.

The Australian Museum

As we walked up to the counter, the guy working immediately asked if we were from the States – I guess it was a little obvious when we spoke!

There was an Aboriginal art gallery open, which we walked through first.  I love Aboriginal art, so we spent a lot of time in there!

Aboriginal art piece

Next was the Indigenous Australia exhibit.

Here fishy, fishy!

Then we walked through the Wildlife Photography Exhibit, which had some AMAZING photos from all different ages and categories.  It was pretty inspiring!

When we left the museum, we walked over to St. Mary’s Cathedral.

St. Mary’s Cathedral

We walked in through the shop on the side of the building, and I looked everywhere for signs saying no photography – and I didn’t see any in our pathway inside.  I couldn’t recall if we took photos when we were there several years back.  So we found a pew in the back away from everyone and I snapped a couple photos (no flash).

Inside the cathedral

As I was putting my camera up a man approached us and told us that we shouldn’t be taking photos, and that Josh needed to take his hat off.  Ooops.  I really didn’t mean any disrespect and was the quietest I could be.  We picked up our stuff and walked out, and I made a donation to the church on our way to the door.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped for an ice cream cone and a Coca-Cola and sat in the park and people watched.  It felt good to sit down since we’d been walking around all day!  Once we felt rested, we continued onward and stopped at a few shops on Market Street and in the Queen Victoria Building (such a pretty mall!)

Once we were shopped out, we stopped at a convenience store to pick up stamps for our postcards near the hotel.  We went upstairs, backed up the photos from the day to the computer and external hard drive, and discussed what we wanted to do for dinner.

We opted to go back to Goshu Ramen Tei as the food the previous visit was really good!  They even recognized us and welcomed us back. 🙂

After dinner we went back up to the hotel room to relax, work on postcards, and watched TV.  Josh fell asleep really early, while I was up until 11:30 or so.  I had a hard time falling asleep because I knew that the next day was going to be the day I’d waited to experience for as long as I can remember!  New Year’s Eve in Sydney, in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House!  AH!!!!


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