We arrived in Sydney early Sunday morning to spend a full day checking out the sights. We did a TON of walking, but we saw a lot. After checking into the hotel, we started by taking a quick stroll past the Archibald Fountain and through the Art Gallery of New South Wales. You could probably spend a whole day just in there. We saw some Aboriginal art, a self-portrait by DaVinci, some strange sculptures, and a Picasso painting (pictured below).
Then we walked through part of the Royal Botanic Gardens, where there were lots of interesting birds (more about that in another post). We ended up at a Mrs. Macquarie's Chair, a seat carved in the stone that gives a good viewpoint of Sydney Harbour. Then we walked around Farm Cove to the Sydney Opera House. I got goosebumps when I first saw it...I guess because it's such an iconic structure, and it was hard to believe I was seeing it in person. It really is a strange series of buildings; they kind of look like helmets or something. We walked around them, went inside one, and then had a relaxing lunch sitting in the sunshine outside with a view of the Opera House on one side and the Harbour Bridge on the other side.
Sydney is definitely different from Melbourne. We think we like Melbourne better overall. The weather might be a bit better in Sydney; it seems to be sunny more often and a few degrees warmer. It is a very clean city; the taxis are immaculate and the streets are spotless. But it seemed to lack some of the character of Melbourne. The downtown area is kind of dead; the only "happening" area we saw was Circular Quay with the tourists. Their Chinatown is underwhelming, and the main mode of transportation is bus versus electric tram. It just doesn't have the same charm. Melbourne has so many unique areas of town with various shops and cultures and crowds. Maybe we are biased, but we get the impression that Sydney is a great place to visit, but Melbourne is a better place to live. But it is a beautiful city right on the water, and we had a splendid Sunday exploring Sydney!