Category Archives: New South Wales

Sydney Opera House

Photogenic Sydney

Sydney is an undeniably photogenic city. The city is bathed in a strong Australian sun that rewards the point-and-shoot camera. It feels easy to point the camera in almost any direction and end up with a vibrant set of photos.

G'day Welcome Home - an emotional banner
G’day Welcome Home – an emotional banner
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House
New buildings loom over old in the centre of Sydney
New buildings loom over old in the centre of Sydney
A stunning place for a wedding
A stunning place for a wedding
Fountain in the Royal Botanic Gardens
Fountain in the Royal Botanic Gardens
Flaking and peeling tree bark
Flaking and peeling tree bark
A weather front moves in over Sydney's southern suburbs
A weather front moves in over Sydney’s southern suburbs
Jellyfish in the water at Darling Habour
Jellyfish in the water at Darling Habour
Sculpture of a car crushed by a rock
Sculpture of a car crushed by a rock

Sydney is a massive city. The suburbs stretch for hours from the centre. However, the inner city houses many older residential terraced homes. Over time these properties are being replaced by apartment blocks. Thankfully the transition is slow.

An inner Sydney suburb
An inner Sydney suburb
Looking down a residential street of an inner Sydney suburb
Looking down a residential street of an inner Sydney suburb

The centre of the city focuses on the stunning harbour. A harbour I am delighted to think that I once lived near and could incorporate into my running routes. I doubt I will ever be able to match the feeling of running across the Sydney Harbour Bridge; the experience never failed to boost my flagging energy.

Looking up at Sydney Harbour Bridge
Looking up at Sydney Harbour Bridge
A view across Sydney's harbour
A view across Sydney’s harbour
Walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Happy Christmas banners adorn the city of Sydney

Christmas Decorations Around Sydney

Decorations started appearing around the city of Sydney in November. As we sped from one event to another around the city, it was difficult to resist stopping and taking the odd photo.

Happy Christmas banners adorn the city of Sydney
Happy Christmas banners adorn the city of Sydney
Myer Food Court - Christmas trees line the entrance
Myer Food Court – Christmas trees line the entrance
Manly - decorations wait to be unboxed
Manly – decorations wait to be unboxed
Manly - decorations wait on a bench
Manly – decorations wait on a bench
Darling Harbour - Father Christmas looms over a boat
Darling Harbour – Father Christmas looms over a boat
Darling Harbour - Father Christmas looks down on shoppers
Darling Harbour – Father Christmas looks down on shoppers
Darling Harbour - Father Christmas looks down from the shopping centre
Darling Harbour – Father Christmas looks down from the shopping centre
Darling Harbour - Father Christmas hangs onto the Convention Centre
Darling Harbour – Father Christmas hangs onto the Convention Centre
Sydney City Westfield - a light decoration
Sydney City Westfield – a light decoration
MCA living Christmas tree
MCA living Christmas tree
The Rocks - MCA's living Christmas tree of plants
The Rocks – MCA’s living Christmas tree of plants
The Rocks - two Christmas wreaths
The Rocks – two Christmas wreaths

A year ago, I was photographing Christmas decorations in Melbourne.

A captivating but disturbing room; the audio loops an awkward conversation

NSW Art Gallery

Arrangements did not go entirely according to plan and I found myself with some time alone in Sydney. With this fragment of time I visited the NSW Art Gallery near the Royal Botanic Gardens.

I avoided trying to see all the gallery had to offer. I had been before many times and have learnt to focus on one or two sections per visit. To do more, is to risk becoming fatigued and souring the visit.

The gallery’s collection has grown since my last visit. I left uplifted and delighted with the time I spent slowly moving around the exhibit space.

An organic wooden sculpture
An organic wooden sculpture
Reflective bowl
Reflective bowl
Mould of the artist mounted on a bronze block
Mould of the artist mounted on a bronze block
A hyper real sculpture
A hyper real sculpture
A captivating but disturbing room; the audio loops an awkward conversation
A captivating but disturbing room; the audio loops an awkward conversation
Ignore the body, it is not important
Ignore the body, it is not important
A blocked/bitmap sculpture of a human
A blocked/bitmap sculpture of a human
A vase of flowers
A vase of flowers
Vanity
Vanity
NSW Art Gallery is home to more traditional paintings
NSW Art Gallery is home to more traditional paintings
A close up of the painting above shows the ability of the artist
A close up of the painting above shows the ability of the artist
A selection of works by popular artists is casually displayed
A selection of works by popular artists is casually displayed
Manly ferry terminal

Manly and the Corso

Manly often plays second fiddle to Bondi. Both beaches are within Sydney and easy to access using public transport.

When I lived in Sydney, I did not visit the beaches often; I am not a bake in the sun type of person. Despite this, after traveling all the way back to Australia we knew we had to visit at least a couple of beaches during our short stay.

Over the years, I have come to prefer Manly. The approach on the public ferry is stunning and the streets around feel less crowded. It was at Manly that I heard my first public announcement warning swimmers of jelly fish. It was at Manly that I spent my first New Years Day in Australia many years ago. It felt good to return and wander aimlessly around for a few hours.

I put together a short film to remind myself of the beach. The film is embedded below and available on my YouTube channel.

Beautiful expanse of sand at Manly beach in Sydney
Beautiful expanse of sand at Manly beach in Sydney
The Corso leads from the ferry terminal to Manly beach
The Corso leads from the ferry terminal to Manly beach
The Corso is lined with shops and cafes
The Corso is lined with shops and cafes
Manly is home to a mix of older and more recent buildings
Manly is home to a mix of older and more recent buildings
Manly ferry terminal
Manly ferry terminal
Muffin Break Choc Mousse Cake and calorie count behind glass

Counting the Calories

During the months since we left Australia, the large fast food brands have started putting calorie information in their menus. In Australia, this dietary information was previously available in the outlet or online, but now the values are next to individual items on the above-counter menu displays.

Gloria Jeans - coffee choices with calories
Gloria Jeans – coffee choices with calories

The effect for me was dramatic. We enjoyed meals from a couple of fast food outlets – in particular, those we can not get locally in Lyon, Oporto and Gloria Jeans. Seeing the difference in calories between a small, medium, and large was enough for me to consistently pick the smaller size of any two I was comparing.

This shift to showing the calories does not appear to be a legal requirement. Smaller food outlets are not displaying this information but most of the larger brand outlets are. Is this an attempt at self regulation and responsible food retailing?

One choice is to realise that the calorie information displayed often assumes a zero calorie drink with any meal option. A can of sugary 375ml drink can easily add another 675kJ to a meal.

Unchanged is the notion that these types of meals are to be enjoyed sparingly and as part of a balanced lifestyle. I wonder if having the calorie information immediately on display will change the way people see these food types and the available choices.

Oporto chicken burgers and calorie counts
Oporto chicken burgers and calorie counts
Subway sandwiches and calorie counts
Subway sandwiches and calorie counts
Muffin Break drinks and calorie counts
Muffin Break drinks and calorie counts
Muffin Break cakes and calories on display
Muffin Break cakes and calories on display
Muffin Break Choc Mousse Cake and calorie count behind glass
Muffin Break Choc Mousse Cake and calorie count behind glass
KFC meal choices and calorie counts
KFC meal choices and calorie counts
KFC chicken burger and text about calorie choices
KFC chicken burger and text about calorie choices
MacDonalds meals and calorie counts with fries or salad
MacDonalds meals and calorie counts with fries or salad
A palette of Coke bottles showing different names (2011)

Coke by the Numbers

It appears Australia is being used to test Coke’s latest marketing ideas. Australia is a small isolated market of twenty something million people. Products and brands can be trialled, tested, and measured without affecting other larger markets.

In 2011, Coke started selling bottles with common first names printed on the labels. The marketing worked and I saw numerous friends on Facebook posting about buying the bottle carrying their name. It was undeniably fun.

Cokes bottles with common first names in Sydney, Australia (2011)
Cokes bottles with common first names in Sydney, Australia (2011)
A palette of Coke bottles showing different names (2011)
A palette of Coke bottles showing different names (2011)

As a marketing scheme I wondered if it would go international. It did not. There are a number of problems Coke would need to overcome. What names do you pick in each country? How localised will your choice have to be? Are you going to cover multiple spellings of each name? What about different scripts and dialects?

In 2012, Coke has iterated on their notion of unique labels. This time the scheme can scale globally. Bottles of Coke in Australia are now carrying years. The marketing calls on customers to buy the coke with a year relevant to them – be that a birthday, anniversary, or other notable year. A clever iteration on the original personalisation.

Coke iterated to showing years (2012)
Coke iterated to showing years (2012)

I also notice Pepsi has released a new brand in Australia that I have yet to see in France, Pepsi Next. This lower suger edition is being heavily pushed. It contains Stevia as a partial sugar alternative. Stevia is available as a niche sugar substitute here in France but I have seen little comment about its benefits or otherwise.

Looking up at the captain's wheel house

Ferry to Bundeena

We joined Megan‘s grandparents for a ferry ride from Cronulla to Bundeena. The ferry we took was called “M.V. Curranulla”. The operators claim this ferry to be the oldest commuter ferry in Australia working to a regular timetable.

A short film of the ferry painted in Australia’s national colour scheme, gold and yellow, is embedded below.

Preparing to board M.V. Curranulla at Bundeena
Preparing to board M.V. Curranulla at Bundeena
M.V. Curranulla docked and awaiting passengers
M.V. Curranulla docked and awaiting passengers
Inside M.V. Curranulla
Inside M.V. Curranulla
Looking up at the captain's wheel house
Looking up at the captain’s wheel house
Looking out from the bow of M.V. Curranulla
Looking out from the bow of M.V. Curranulla
Ferry docked at Cronulla wharf
Ferry docked at Cronulla wharf
Close up of two ants in Sydney, Australia

Australian Ants

Australia’s reputation for large insects and dangerous animals is well known. In daily life encountering the nastier creatures however is unlikely. What does surprise me is the size of the more mundane animals.

Ants in particular stand out as both bigger and smaller than those I know from the United Kingdom. There are multiple sizes of ants and they appear to be able to nest in overlapping regions.

Close up of two ants in Sydney, Australia
Close up of two ants in Sydney, Australia

I have frequently watched tiny swarms of ants walking around larger single ants. They do not interact and seem not to be from the same nest.

This afternoon I noticed a larger pair of ants and took the opportunity to take some footage. The resulting film is available on YouTube and embedded below.

The larger ant follows the smaller for most of the time.
The larger ant follows the smaller for most of the time.
The scale of the ants is difficult to judge.
The scale of the ants is difficult to judge.
The ants have no problems scaling vertical surfaces.
The ants have no problems scaling vertical surfaces.
Close up of a chandelier hanging in Sydney Town Hall

Town Hall Lights

I had a few minutes to spare outside Sydney’s Town Hall. The main door was open and I took the opportunity to venture inside with my camera in hand.

The beautiful cut glass chandeliers caught my attention.

Crown like chandelier hanging in Sydney Town Hall
Crown like chandelier hanging in Sydney Town Hall
Close up of a chandelier hanging in Sydney Town Hall
Close up of a chandelier hanging in Sydney Town Hall
Ring of lights around a chandelier in Sydney Town Hall
Ring of lights around a chandelier in Sydney Town Hall
Suddenly the hail begun, Sydney, Australia.

Sudden Hail

We were not long in Hyde Park before a rumble of thunder suggested we move on. Within a few moments of reaching shelter a hail storm begun. The hail was dense and soaked those caught within its reach.

While not as intense as the hail storm we experienced in Melbourne, the storm was impressive for being so sudden. These storms are not rare in Sydney; the storm drains are built to handle the deluges and the traffic continues largely unaffected.

Suddenly the hail begun, Sydney, Australia.
Suddenly the hail begun, Sydney, Australia.

I took some footage and have embedded a short film of the hail below.