Day 6: Brekkie, Kangaroos, and Vegemite by Day – Sir Stamford, The Opera House, and Dinner on the Quay by Night

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We slept in! 6:00am and feeling good!

I only woke up kicking the Transformer-Kardashian-Wooly-Mammoth Spider of the bed once, so that was good. As I was typing up yesterday’s blog, Tony noticed a little something out of our back door, and BAM! Kangaroos first thing in the morning!

Breakfast was included with our night’s stay, and DANG! The biggest breakfast ever, and very Australian. There were eggs, chipolatas, beans, bacon, tomato, fruit loaf, quiche, bircher muesli, and vegemite!

The Aussie ladies sitting next to us instructed me so that I knew what to do: first toast the bread, then smear some butter, then a little vegemite. They thought I would hate it, but I didn’t.

Salty, goopy, and weird, but not horrific or anything. Kind of like Worchester sauce jam. Except non-horrific.

Anywho, we were so full we did not eat again until after 3. But even then we just had a snack (This is the equivalent of a normal couple saying they did not eat for two days after brekkie).

Off to explore! We checked out of our Tuscan mini-villa and met again with Jayne, who was so lovely and helpful. We got the HOOK UP for a tour at the Tyrell’s Winery, and some other little suggestions about a few to-do’s before heading back down to Sydney.

We checked out the Hunter Valley Gardens shops, and FINALLY found some flip-flops for Tony! Here he is – happy to be freeing his feet:

Then, on to Tyrell’s Winery. It looks gorgeous, it smells gorgeous, and of course, it tastes gorgeous. We were a little early for our 10:30am tour, so they offered us a glass of bubbly while we checked out the beautiful grounds:

That’s Brokenback Mountain in the background; not to be confused with Brokeback Mountain for you movie/Heath Ledger fans.

 

Then Damian provided a 90 minute tour, with the most informative lecture on wine making I have ever heard! I’ve been lucky enough to visit wineries in Sonoma, Napa, Tuscany, the Alsace, and the Winstrasse in Germany, and Damain surpassed all of those experiences. Here is Damian next to some insane smelling Shriaz grapes:

Note from Tony: Lisa totally had a crush on him.

After the tour we (I) tasted a little. Damian provided, “Water for the dry bloke!” (That would be Tony). All along I’ve been thinking I’d FINALLY be in a wine region with my kind of wine! Full bodied, masculine, lots of structure, and a smell like a forest floor.

Unfortunately, it is so hot in the Hunter Valley that the grapes ripen too quickly to produce this kind of wine. So the Hunter Valley Shiraz (to me) is like a Sonoma Pinot – thin, light, and pepper at the finish. I think the positive-sounding word is “elegant”, but to me it is puny.

So Damian and I talked it out, and apparently I’m more of a Barossa valley wine drinker. Tyrell’s makes a few wines with grapes from this region, and I was very happy to take home a shiraz with grapes grown in Barossa, but turned into wine right here at Tyrell’s.

Overall, it was a wonderful morning! I was very happy to learn that Tony enjoyed the tour as well.

Onward to the Hunter Valley Gardens! Just kidding.

When we got there we learned entry was $27 per person, which included admission to a garden which takes an hour to walk through… we didn’t think so. But here is the entrance, isn’t it nice?

We made a few more stops at a few more wineries, but didn’t pick up anything else. I think Verdelho is my favorite in the Hunter Valley, and I picked up a bottle of that yesterday – so we decided we were all set, and started our journey back to Sydney!

Tony was a pro and stayed to the left all the way back to the airport. We dropped off the car, and took a shuttle to the hotel… Wanna hear about the hotel?

I love bargains, so naturally I was looking for a bargain way to stay in the middle of the city. Hotwire has this function where they offer a certain quality of hotel for a rate, but it’s a “secret” which hotel you get. You essentially you can select 3.5 or 4 star, see the rate you’ll pay and what kind of hotel falls in that category, and then go for it! So Tony and I kept our eye on the rates for a few weeks, and then decided we could afford the 5 star for 3 nights if we went this route. We ended up with the “Sir Stamford Inn” right in the Quay:

Our room is lovely!

 

Spacious and cozy with a little Juliet balcony. My favorite is the bathroom. It is H.U.G.E. When you walk in the lights automatically go on. There’s a room on the right that’s the shower, and is bigger than my office back home. Then there’s another room with the toilet inside. Then there is an enormous bathtub.

The rooftop pool and lounge are a fav as well:


We unpacked, changed, and busted back out on the town to find dinner! Once again, thanks to our warrior brekkie, we really didn’t want a big meal, so Tony was in search of a salad, and I wanted to try another new fish. Tony had the folks at “Bar 100” slap some grilled chicken on a “rocket” (aka arugala) and watermelon salad, and I had the Barramundi with a prawn!

We found Tony some ice cream after dinner:

And then back to the hotel we went, but not without taking some candid shots of the our walk back “home.”

We sprung for the expensive internet so that we could get yesterday’s travel blog up, and I am hitting the sack! Tony will be up for awhile so he can catch up on emails and whatnot.

Thanks for reading, and talk to you tomorrow!

Lisa and Tony

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  • Glad to hear you’re enjoying your time here! If you’re after free wifi, all McDonalds and Hungry Jacks (Burger King) offer this, as do some independent cafes.

    • TonyGentilcore

      I think it’s pretty absurd you STILL have to pay for WiFi in a 5-star hotel. Like, WTF!?!?!

  • Hugh Campbell

    You’ve probably been told this already but you guys have to try Gelato Messina while you’re in Sydney, it blows Copenhagen out of the water! Do the Bondi-to-Coogee walk (and back) and finish it off with Gelato Messina in Bondi, perfection!

    • TonyGentilcore

      YES! We passed one of those and I plan on hitting it up soon. Nothing, sadly, has come close to my Boston fav, JP Licks.

      • Hugh Campbell

        I’ve never had the pleasure of trying JP Licks but it’s going to have to be bloody good to top Messina

        • TonyGentilcore

          Oh, it’s bloody good. It’s a Boston based joint, so if you’re ever there you have to try it.

  • chris

    Since you are at Circular Quay, you absolutely must catch the ferry over to Manly, which leaves just across the road from your hotel. I think someone mentioned it before but it has to be one of the best ferry trips in the world (up there with the NY ferry to Staten island). Its about a 1/2 hour trip each way (or 20 min if you catch the fast ferry) and Manly beach, at the other end, is spectacular (well, its an ‘ok’ beach by Australian standards, but given that its in the middle of a major city we can cut it some slack). Some pretty good cafes over there as well. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
    Btw, the spider you saw yesterday – normal size for Aust…
    I’m sure you have been given a bunch of restaurant suggestions, but there are some pretty good (albeit pricey) places near you (I like Mr Wongs). Not some many cheap and cheerful places though, since you are in the business district. For those you will need to head over to ‘Chinatown’

    • TonyGentilcore

      Hi Chris – thanks so much for the suggestions! Today was all about climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Such a cool experience, albeit about as touristy as we can get…..;o)

      We have a friend taking us out to the Northern Beaches tomorrow for some snorkeling, and I think our plan is to hit up the Zoo and possibly Manly on Friday. Thanks!

      • euan

        Hi Tony,

        You can can catch the ferry from the quay to the zoo.

  • Kristen Dvorsky

    Wahh!! I miss Oz! Enjoy Sydney and take in that beautiful city. The Sydney Bridge and Opera House was something that could NEVER get old. Don’t forget to head to the Rocks for some cute boutiques and Pancakes on the Rocks! =o)

    • TonyGentilcore

      We LOVED every second in the Quay Kristen. You’re right: the bridge and opera house NEVER get old. Such an amazing view.

      The Rocks was another favorite. Lisa actually went in on Saturday during my workshop and was able to enjoy the open market. We have an open market here in Boston in the South End that’s very popular and the one in The Rocks blows that out of the water.

      We spent a solid five days in Sydney and didn’t feel we even scratched the surface of exploring the entire city. We hope to go back!