Tag Archives: The Gap

Sydney – The Harbour

16 Feb

In my first week in Sydney, Simone, Sam and I went into Circular Quay, the train stop nearest to all Sydney’s key sights.

There are six piers at Circular Quay from which you can take the ferry to Manly Island or around the harbour or take any bay tour you fancy.

After walking around the Opera house, we stopped at a café to drink a coffee and essentially bribe Sam into good behaviour with a pastry.

Simone and Sam, following his pastry bribe

Simone and Sam, following his pastry bribe

We then proceeded to the “on-off” harbour tour, which stops at Fort Denison, Taronga Zoo, Shark Island and Watson’s bay.

As the boat set off from Circular Quays, we got a spectacular view of the Opera House superimposed on the Harbour Bridge.

The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

 

Fort Denison (known as Mattewanye prior to European arrival) is a formal penal site just north of Sydney’s botanical gardens.  It has also been known as Pinchgut (due to the sentencing to a convict there to a week on bread and water).  The land of the island was used to provide sand stone for building Circular Quay.

Fort Denison

Fort Denison

 

We decided to forego Taronga zoo, the next stop, as we had enough other things to see and limited time.

Shark Island is tiny at 1.25 hectares.  It has been used as an animal quarantine area, naval storage depot and a public recreation depot.  It is currently most popularly used for picnics.  Note,. though, that it is called Shark Island because of its shape and not because of what may or may not be found in the water while swimming….

Shark Island

Shark Island

 

We got off at Watson’s Bay.

Watson's Bay

Watson’s Bay

 

Watson’s bay is 11 km North East of the Sydney business district and is at the end of the South Head peninsula.  The most famous sight at Watson’s bay is The Gap, which is an ocean cliff on the eastern side of the peninsula, with views of the Pacific Ocean and Manly.  It has been used as a signalling station to provide early warning of approaching ships.

The Gap

The Gap

The tour guide failed to mention, in his description, that it is one of the most popular (is that the right word?) suicide spots in Sydney.

View of the North Shore

View of the North Shore

The rock at the gap is largely made up of sand and iron bound by clay.  The oxidation of the iron gives the rock its yellow / brown colour.  Much of the vegetation at the Gap grows in its nutrient poor soil and is thus poisonous, to stop pests from eating the leaves.

 

Vegetation at the Gap

Vegetation at the Gap

 

View of Watson's bay from the Gap

View of Watson’s bay from the Gap

 

After leaving Watson’s Bay, we made our way back to Sydney and the Rocks.

 

The Rocks

The Rocks

 

“The Rocks” are famous for being some of the first English developments in Sydney.  The area was originally had a reputation as a slum.  In the early 1970s, plans to demolish the original buildings were opposed, with the eventual outcome being a redevelopment of the area into a tourist attraction.