SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA:: A Walking Tour of the CBD

Sydney Opera House viewed from The Rocks, with one of the many harbor ferries passing by
I recently spent two weeks in Australia, beginning with three days in Sydney. Our hotel was in the CBD (Central Business District) near Chinatown, not far from many of the places I wanted to see. 
Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia
So, while my husband was attending his conference, I took myself on a self-guided walking tour.  I headed first for Hyde Park, anchored on one end by the War Memorial and the other by a large fountain bordered by a plaza where a bubble-man was surrounded by children as he created streams of giant bubbles. In one of the trees along the path I spotted a possum curled up in a hole taking a nap--possums, like many Australian animals, are nocturnal.
War Memorial
On the other side of the park was the Australian Museum (subject of a future post on this blog) and a view over the Botanical Garden. I then walked down George Street, in some ways the equivalent of 5th Avenue in New York, with crowds of people making their way to upscale stores and arcaded shopping malls. Since many of the buildings in the CBD are apartments where people live, I wondered where they went shopping for food. Then I spotted a sign for Coles, a large supermarket, with a stairway down to the store below street level. Further down the street I stopped in Dymocks bookstore, packed with Christmas shoppers. It had a huge selection of children's books on the lower floor and I enjoyed browsing, especially books by Australian writers. It also had a large display of books by English author Enid Blyton, whose books had been among my favorites when I was a child.
This historic arcade has shops on three levels bordering a central atrium
From there I made my way to The Rocks, site of Sydney's origins and earliest history of European settlement. The museum details aboriginal life in the area and its ancient history. 
Exhibits inside the Discovery Museum show Sydney from its earliest beginnings
The Rocks are a mixture of historic buildings on cobblestone streets and modern high rise buildings.
View of the city from the harbor
From The Rocks is a spectacular view of the Sydney Opera House on the other side of the harbor. As I walked along the esplanade I found myself underneath the massive Harbor Bridge.
People beginning their walk over the top of the Harbor Bridge
Then I headed back to my hotel, not far from the Chinese Friendship Garden. By no means did I cover all the sights of Sydney, but my tour gave me a good taste of the flavor of the city. 
Lion statue at entrance to Chinese Friendship Garden in Chinatown

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