Sydney 1st December – 9th December 2012
We fly into Sydney on Saturday, arriving in time for lunch. Our apartment in Chippendale was walking distance to Broadway Road, where we ate lunch at Vrndas. It had a very limited menu -one set lunch option only of a basic rice, curry, salad and paddadum. It also came with a very bizarre dessert with a grainy cold “custard”. The Broadway shopping centre was just up the road and we did some grocery shopping before heading back to the apartment for an afternoon nap. For dinner we walked into town and ate at Mother Chu’s on Pitt Street. We enjoyed the deep fried tempeh and a marinaded eggplant dish along with some tofu icecream and buns for dessert.
On Sunday we meet up with Andrew and Sayaka at the Chinese Gardens at the South end of Darling Harbour. It was about a 20 minute walk from our apartment, and a quiet oasis in the middle of the noisy city. There was a wedding being held in the water pavillion, and too many uneven stone steps to make pushing the pram a convenient option for carrying Hugo around. The limestone rocks in the middle of the lake were meant to resemble animals, and they had some lovely bamboo groves, some lizards sunning themselves on rocks and brightly painted pavillions on the hill. After attempting to board the monorail at Chinatown but failing (that particular station inside a store was shut) we walked to Westfield in the mall and ate lunch at Iku Wholefoods in the most upmarket shopping centre food court ever. The lasagna and quiche were quite delicious, as was the organic coconut water. We also had some cakes. It was fortunate that the chocate in HappyLab wasn’t vegan, otherwise I might have walked out with a suitcase full of test tubes and conical flasks filled with sweets. In the afternoon we caught the train to Newtown and met up with Jeremy and his sister at Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher where we ate burgers and hot dogs, bought some festive Christmas sausages and nibbled on kentucky style tofu nuggets with a cannelini bean based mayo.
Monday it poured with rain and while Hugo stayed warm and dry in his pram under the raincover, we got quite wet walking around. We caught the train to Circular Quay and took some dreary shots of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House covered in foggy rain. We had a quick walk through the Botanic Gardens, but the rain and an unhappy Hugo forced us out to an early lunch at Peace Harmony on Erksine Street. The sign on the door suggested that it was all vegan, but this Thai eatery served ‘Thai soymilk’ that contained dairy milk in it. Not very vegan. The pad thai was a little flavourless, but otherwise ok, while the stirfry dish had lots of spice. The festive sauages that we bought the day before from Spoon’s became our dinner.
There was much better weather on Tuesday, with the sun out and no more rain. We put Hugo in the sling and walked around The Rocks and up the steep steps to the Harbour Bridge pedestrian walkway. We walked over part of the bridge and had a lovely view of the harbour. There was a living Christmas tree made out of pipes and hundreds of succulent and grass plants by the station. From there we took the train to Newtown again and ate at Sadhana, a raw vegan eatery with a yoga studio attached. Some hippy mums and their babies became entertainment as we rolled our eyes at the conversation about how the babies being born now have really great energy. We had some raw tacos in lettuce leaves and a raw lasagna with salad, along with a warrior smoothie. Benno had his conference expo in the evening at The Rocks so I went out with Hugo to the Broadway Lounge (conveniently about 10 minutes walk from our apartment) and caught up with the Sydney Vegan Club crew. The pub puts on a special vegan menu on Tuesday nights. I had the lasanga with chips and salad, with the other options being tacos, pasta or tofu with rice.
Benno’s OSDC conference started officially on Wednesday. We walked together to the UTS broadway campus, then Hugo and I headed to the Powerhouse museum a little further up Harris Street. Apart from the Wiggles exhibit, there wasn’t actually much very interesting for Hugo so we didn’t spend long there. We ate lunch an Iku Wholefoods in Glebe. I had a burger while Hugo slept in the pram, then I got some takeaway chickpea, beetroot and liquid smoke salad for dinner that I had with the rest of the Spoon’s festive sausages and a takeaway pack and chocolate friand for my lunch tomorrow. Benno had his conference dinner near Redfern station, so Hugo and I had dinner at the apartment and walked around in the rooftop garden until it was kitchen-sink bathtime and bedtime.
Hugo and I had a big day on Thursday. We caught the train from Central to Circular Quay before boarding a Captain Cook scenic ferry to Taronga Zoo. Then I had to push the pram up steps to get to the cable car that took us all the way up the hill to the top entrance of the Zoo. We walked our way through the zoo during the morning, seeing dinosaurs, elephants, chimps giraffes and a magnificent view of the Harbour from the central lawns. We ate our Iku takeaway lunch while fending off birds, including several ibises with long beaks that kept trying to steal a bite, then kept wandering down to the empty red panda exhibit (they must have been sleeping or hiding because we didn’t see any) and out to the ferry again. It was the scenic route back to Circular Quay docks, taking 40 minutes to wind around the harbour passing Shark Island, Watsons Bay, Fort Denison, and going along the coast pointing out the expensive real estate (54 million dollar mansion anyone?). After an afternoon nap, we meet Benno at UTS and walked back to the apartment. While waiting for the conference to finish, we saw Goose from Good Game walk out of the ABC (next door to UTS). We checked out the coop bookstore and got some note paper in the shape of a 3D pear. We walked up Cleveland Street to Nourishing Quarter for dinner. It was a delicious meal – perhaps my favourite meal of our Sydney trip – but an ecclectic environment with the description on happycow summing up the decor well as “vintage great aunt dining room”. We had quinoa and chia rice paper rolls and a curry with quinoa and salad and a tofu lemongrass stirfry. Portraits of the queen and Roy Orbison music completed our dinner, along with a quick read of “The Wartime Kitchem Garden” that featured propaganda on the potato: feed without fattening and give you energy!
Benno was again at his conference on Friday so Hugo and I took the ferry to Manly beach. It was a half hour ride, and once we got there Hugo fell asleep in the pram so I wandered along the beach esplanade, ate a felafel roll for lunch and looked at the shops. Once Hugo woke up we sat on the sand and he played on the beach for a little while before we packed up and headed back on the ferry and train to the apartment. We took the train to Newtown for a third time and ate at Green Palace Thai Kitchen.
On our final full day in Sydney we ate at 3 restaurants. In the morning we took the train to Newtown and had fruit smoothies and sweets for morning tea at Apt, a little cafe in a bookshop. They served gingerbread PEOPLE and a peanut butter gluten free brownie with coconut cream. From there we had yum cha lunch at Green Gourmet with Andrew and Koji. We ate plate after plate of chinese goodies until we were all full, and it only cost $50 for all of us. We got some sweets from Vegan’s Choice grocer next door – a chocolate macadamia nut brownie for me and a slice of cake and tofutti icecream for Benno. In the afternoon we walked to the Carriageways near Redfern station and wandered around the Finders Keepers markets that featured local, handmade crafts, clothing and goods. We got a starwars t-shirt for Hugo and ate at the very popular Veggie Patch van. They sold out of burgers about 3 people after us, but they were yummy so it was worth the wait in the line!
Sunday we packed up and headed off to the airport. After the taxi that we booked didn’t turn up, we hailed another (a very cheap $22 to get to the airport – cheaper that the three of us taking the train), only to make it to the airport to find massive queues for Jetstar. We waited in a line that snaked around the whole airport before being called into a closed lane as our flight was about to leave. Then we had to drop off our pram, only to have to conveyer belt full so we had to wait for it to clear. Then Benno got selected for extra security screening and we only just made it to the gate before the plane took off. It’s just as well Hugo doesn’t mind take off and landing otherwise it might have been an even less enjoyable morning!
Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour. Bamboo and lake.
Monday’s beautiful weather – can’t see past the bridge and everything was wet and grey. We felt sorry for the poor people climbing the bridge on that day.
Benno on the Harbour Bridge, walking along the pedestrian walkway.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge on a sunny day! Blue skies and water.
Chinese garden of friendship: the lake with limestone rocks shaped like animals.
Taronga Zoo Triceratops.
John Storey Memorial Depensary. Opposite the bus depot on our usual walking route from apartment to Central station.
Elephants at Taronga Zoo. The cable car went over the top.
Giant fig tree, Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
Room with a view: the giraffe enclosure at Taronga Zoo.
Happy Lab test tubes and conical flasks filled with chocolate sweets. Fortunately, with the sweets being non-vegan, I saved myself a lot of money.
View of the harbour from the Concert Lawns, Taronga Zoo.
T Rex, Taronga Zoo.
Hugo St. There’s also a Lang St in Sydney, but we didn’t get a photo of that one.
Himalayan Tahr. On a rock.
Anarchist chimp. I shake my fist.
Living Christmas Tree, Circular Quay. Made up of pipe, grasses and little succulents.
Lizard, Chinese Garden of Friendship.
Look (left and right before crossing).
Lifeguard keeping watch at Manly Beach.
Mortuary Station, being refurbished. On our walk from the apartment to Central Station.
The Opera House, taken from up on the Harbour Bridge walkway.
Opera House, again.
Potato propaganda, from the Wartime Kitchen and Garden book we found at Nourishing Quarter.
Pygmy Hippo, Taronga Zoo.