Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Cruise Day 1 - A Walk Around Darling Harbour in Sydney - Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023

Today, we boarded Norwegian Cruise Line's ship, the Spirit. It will be two days in port and one day at sea. We will arrive in Melbourne on December 26. 

We chose 3 pm as our boarding time. It's close to 4 pm, the end of the ship's boarding times. By then, the earlier crowds who wanted to be the first onboard had dissipated. We got on immediately. We have done this on our last two cruises and the stress level has gone way down!

Boarding later in the day gave us time to do more exploration. Bob had run around Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay. He knew I would love walking there, so we walked downhill to the harbour. Here is a pictorial along with some text.

Artwork next to the Sydney Exhibition

The International Convention Center Sydney
on Cockle Bay.

Bob at Cockle Bay/Darling Harbour.

The Crown Sydney Hotel and Casino (on the left in the photo below) is the fourth tallest building in Australia. It is in the Barangaroo area of central Sydney, forming part of a cluster of skyscrapers comprising the adjacent One Sydney Harbour and International Towers complexes next to Darling Harbour.

The Crown Sydney, also referred 
to as One Barangaroo.

The skyscraper complexes.

The area where we walked and had lunch.

Pyrmont pedestrian bridge.

The ships and lighthouse pictured below are part of the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Australian National Maritime Museum.

A replica of James Cook's famous ship,
His Majesty's Bark (HMB) Endeavour.

HMAS Vampire, a Daring-class destroyer.

Australian National Maritime Museum.

The ship below was an "unattended lighthouse." These ships were made to be left unattended near rock outcroppings or muddy shoals, tethered in place, and only able to change orientation with the current, wind, and waves. The Stevenson family from Scotland, masters of lighthouse design and construction, built the lightships. For fascinating, detailed information about the design of these hardy ships, read the 14 August 2015 blog, "The Commonwealth Lightship Service," by David Payne at this link.

Commonwealth Lighthouse Service 4 (CLS4)
Carpentaria unattended lightship.

A submarine on display at the
Australian National Maritime Museum.

Cape Bowling Green Lighthouse at the
Australian National Maritime Museum. 

HMB Endeavour.

HMB Endeavour.

Is this THE Octopus's Garden? It's not
in the shade, so probably not.

We continued our walk around Cockle Bay/Darling Harbour by crossing the historic Pyrmont Bridge. The Pyrmont Bridge is an operational, heritage-listed swing bridge across Cockle Bay in Darling Harbour. Although it has carried automobiles and a monorail in the past, it is now a pedestrian bridge. The bridge offers wonderful views of Cockle Bay, Darling Harbor, the International Convention Center Sydney, the Ribbon Hotel Building, the Australian Maritime Museum, and the skyscrapers of Barangaroo.

Pyrmont Bridge's Hawkesbury
Sandstone and concrete base.

Ferries and tour boats dock here.

A wide pedestrian pathway on the Pyrmont Bridge.

The Ribbon Hotel Sydney (left) and the
International Convention Center Sydney (right). 

International Convention Center Sydney.

"Dancing Brolgas Fountain," by Terrance Plowrig."
The Brolga is also known as the Australian Crane.
"Dancing Brolgas Fountain," by Terrance Plowrig."
The Brolga is also known as the Australian Crane.
Rental duck boats at Cockle Bay.

After finishing our walk around Cockle Bay, we had lunch at Blackbird Café at the Cockle Bay Wharf. The place we chose was so-so. We returned to our hotel, retrieved our luggage from their storage, and had them call a cab for us.

The cab ride from our hotel in Sydney's Central Business District to White Bay Cruise Terminal was about an eight-minute trip. The price was around $40 Australian including tip. (We could have taken a city bus for $3. It would have taken 21 minutes and we would have had to get six pieces of luggage on and off the bus!) 

As expected, very few people were boarding this late in the afternoon. Checking in was quick! Onboard, our stateroom was ready, and our luggage was delivered within one-half hour of the time we boarded.

Bob rested while I walked around the top deck taking photos of Sydney. It's a lovely city! We had a different view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the ship.

The top deck walking track where I took photos.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge as seen from Darling Harbour.

Downtown Sydney, Australia.

The fuel ship was taking care of business.

White Bay Terminal. Our stateroom was on
this side of the ship (starboard).

St. Augustine's Church, Balmain, Australia.

The main pool on NCL Spirit.

It was time to eat dinner and we headed to the Garden Café Buffet for the Embarkation Dinner. Yummy!

At 7 pm, we wanted to play Pub Trivia in Henry's Pub. Henry's Pub is tiny! All the tables were taken and people were standing around. We quickly gave up on that. 

Just before 9 pm, we headed to the upper deck to watch fireworks at Darling Harbour. We were able to see them from the ship. After a short walk around part of the deck (it was cold!), we went to the room for the night. It was another long day. We walked six miles total.

Tomorrow, the ship will be in port all day. Maybe NCL wanted to give people who flew in today time to take tours in Sydney. Anyway, we will stay on the ship tomorrow.

That's all for today, folks.

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