As we idled along the shore line we were quickly remined of another Australian stereotype- everything there wants to kill you. Signposts lining the beach entrances were stark reminders of the perils of the sea. Man eating sharks circle the deep, box jellyfish aren’t too far away and deadly octopi near them. Closer to shore there are fatal fish that look like rocks and murderous rocks that look like fish, and even a harpoon wielding snail that will end your life. Australia has the deadliest, shark, jellyfish, stonefish and normal fish in the world, the most lethal octopi, stingrays and cones. And that is just in the water. Treading carefully, we decided against jumping in at Manly beach fearing imminent death by some violent form of seaweed.
Instead we opted for travelling over the water, protected by a large boat as we rode the ferry across Port Jackson. In the sanctuary of a seemingly threat free cruiser, we were free to enjoy the views of the remarkable Sydney harbour bridge next to the epochal structure of the Opera House. One of the most notorious skylines in the world had to be explored at closer viewing so we disembarked at the Opera house and ambled in awe up to the spectacular structure. The remarkable design of the opera house is astonishing with the symbolic sail structure mimicking the boats that sail around it, whilst wandering around it is hard not to be in awe of such design. It is crazy to think that such architectural brilliance was nearly disregarded as three of the four design judges rejected it, but the fourth was so amazed by the design of Norwegian Jorn Utzon he swayed the others to eventually pick it above the other 232 entrants. What is even more amazing is he never visited the build site when he designed it, but simply used naval charts of the harbour to create his vision. Sadly, he never saw the finished building in real life after he resigned as chief architect and never returned to Sydney.
Being the scholars of art and history that we are, with curios minds still pondering the magnificence of the majestically sculpted structure, we carried on to the only spectacle in Sydney trumping the opera house. The most photographed spot in Australia, the iconic surf beach and the home of the greatest lifeguard rescue show, Bondi is bustling hub of eccentric activity on a gorgeous coastline. Concerned locals still worried about our thin winter wear seemed to mentally combust as we stripped down and ran towards the thundering waves. Omitting the need for any wetsuits of thermal tops we dipped into the warm waters of New South Wales. Other than It wasn’t warm. More understanding of the anxious onlookers we waded into the Antarctic waves, as wary as penguins as we were about killer snails. It was only a brief play in the huge waves, a quick wash after my flight, as our skin showed Goosebumps and a slight tinge of blue. If we stayed too long, we might have gotten lucky and be saved by a lifeguard in red spandex running to save us in slow motion, we may haven even ended up on Bondi rescue, but instead of searching for our fifteen minutes of fame, searched for a shower and some warmer, dry clothes before beginning our journey up the east coast.
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