Sun shining we spent some of the morning at the The Royal Botanic Gardens. In the centre of the city and a beautiful stroll on a sunny morning. Enjoying an iced coffee and the infamous Banana Bread which is prevelant all over Australia we also observed the extrodinary wildlife considered by most locals to be pests. The Ibis birds seemed exotic and have a prehistoric air about them and yet are as commonplace as the pigeons in London!
The Botanical gardens are located quite centrally and even just a quick stroll following the pathways is a great pleasure so even if you do not have much time worth a wander through. We visited the Fern Garden and the exhibition at the Calyx Centre of the botanic story of chocolate which was sponsored by Lindt Chocolate hence a representative was there explaining the process of processing the coffee bean to the chocolate we enjoy today. The Botanical Gardens is one of the options to spend the spectacular New Years Eve Celebrations.
Darling Harbour was also buzzing with activity and there is also a hub of boarding points for transportation to get around Sydney Harbour using the network of boats. As we progressed further away from the main hub we came across a more tranquil and designer feel to this pocket of the harbour with fantastic looking restaurants and boutique shops. Definitely a spot we will return to explore more when we are back in the city at the end of December.
Lively restaurants, bars and activities are abundant along the harbour and we made our way towards Darling Park and the harbour area. The christmas spirit and festivities in full swing here.
After our nautical and botanical morning we discovered Chinatown. Much as expected and the usual shops and eateries. All the Australians we have met have been very friendly and keen to offer recommendations and advice on what to see and where to go and on this basis we ended up the The Marigold for lunch. It was late in the day and obviously they were keen for us to eat up almost before we had ordered. We all found it quite a comical experience. It is large banqueting type room and there are a series of dinner ladies in matching coloured coats rushing around with trolleys laden with the dishes of the day. We had a variety of dumplings presented to us and along with rice and duck had a perfectly adequate lunch. Jasmine tea and choosing to opt out of the pudding selection and whilst Aladair was still mid lunch we were presented with our bill. I think we were probably in and out in half and hour maximum!! Very amusing experience and if you need a super quick lunch definitely the place to go.