Sydney has some interesting areas. A highlight is of course the Syndey Opera House.
Sydney is a pretty nice city as far as cities go. The Sydney Opera is of course a must-see. It is a very impressive structure. It is located near the wharf at the northern end of downtown Sydney, called Circular Quay. The Sydney Opera House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Just across from the opera is the area called "The Rocks", with nice shops. On top of the hill in the center of The Rocks is the historic Sydney Observatory, dating from the mid-19th century. To the south-west of The Rocks is Darling Harbour, the center of activities with the Aquarium, the Maritime Museum, and endless numbers of shops and restaurants, as well as the Conference Center. The Aquarium is certainly worth a visit. One attraction there is the shark exhibit where you walk through a tunnel with a transparent roof and watch the sharks from below.
To the north of downtown Sydney is the Sydney Zoo. You can reach it by ferry from Circular Quay. It is a nice zoo, unfortunately they were in the middle of a big construction/renovation project, so several, exhibits were closed. They naturally put a lot of emphasis on Australian fauna, so you get to see all the Australian animals like emu, kangaroo, echidna, platypus, koala, dingo, etc.
From Sydney I drove to Parker, about 360 km (224 miles) west of Sydney. The area around Parkes itself is not very scenic, just mostly flat farm and ranch land. The main attraction in Parkes is the Parkes Observatory. It is located about 25 km (16 miles) north of Parkes. The large dish is fully steerable and has a diameter of 64 m (210 ft). This is a very important part of astronomy research in Australia and world-wide.
I flew from Parkes north to the Great Barrier Reef, On the way back from the Great Barrier Reef I flew over the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), at the Narrabri Observatory, an array of six 22 m (72 ft) radio telescope antennas. It is located about 25 km (16 miles) west of the town of Narrabri in rural New South Wales (about 500 km (310 miles) north-west of Sydney). From there I flew to the Siding Springs Observatory, one the most important astronomical observatories in Australia. It is located about 450 km (280 miles) northwest of Sydney in the Warrumbungle Mountains in the central west region of New South Wales, near Coonabarabran. I had a spectacular view of the observatory domes from my plane. From there I flew past the large radio telescope at the Parkes Observatory to look at it from the air.
All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.
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