The boys and I had a lovely few days in Sydney being tourists. We stayed a suburb or two out of town - about a twenty minute bus ride to the CBD - which meant we could have a decent two bedroom apartment with a kitchen instead of all being crammed into one hotel room. One room is not good for family happiness. And a bus is tolerable when it's a different city and there's no work (or school) at the other end.
This is the sun setting over Darling Harbour. The first evening we were there we took a bus down to Circular Quay, then a ferry round to Darling Harbour. It's a good ferry ride because it's just public transport (so not too expensive) but it goes out past the Opera House, under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, then over to Luna Park and a couple of other stops before Darling Harbour. Quite coincidentally it was a beautiful evening with lovely orange western light on all the tall buildings. Very very tall buildings. We felt very small town people.
Number one son has an eye for engineering and kept noticing things like glass lifts and peculiar balconies and odd features forty stories up. We spent a bit of time standing in the street like country folk staring up at the amazing sights. I think it's good for them to practice being uncool for when they're older.
This is the hill outside the observatory - we enjoyed that and the Museum of Sydney that had the history from the first Fleet and how Sydney grew. I don't know any of this stuff of course so we could be well informed and then stop for chocolate brownies when we got tired. I think we all find historical things quite fascinating because the built environment of Canberra is so recent.
The highlight of the Botanic Gardens was the pond with eels in it. Lots of native eels - apparently they wiggle over the grass to get there when the pond periodically gets drained. I found this revolting, the boys thought it was fascinating, so I read the botanical labels on the trees and shrubs while they watched the eels in the hope that one of them would eat a duckling. Which apparently happens ... but not when we were there. Boys.