The 2016 Trans-Oceania tour has now arrived at the final destination of the Australian portion, in Sydney. You can read our last entry we posted from Canberra. This is the state capital of New South Wales, having the largest population density of all of Australia. Since the mid-19th century, the city has blossomed from a colonial outpost that had large influxes of convicts, to a major global cultural and economic center. It is made up of a variety of nationalities, making it one of the largest melting pots of the world. In the 2011 census, 34% of the population reported being overseas, further emphasizing this point. Sydney is known for having an advanced market economy with strengths in the financial realm, manufacturing and tourism sectors. As well, there is a large amount of foreign banks and multinational corporations here, making it be promoted as Asia Pacific’s leading financial hub.
Sydney experiences many travelers and tourists each year, helping place it in the world’s top 15 most visited cities. People come here to see famous natural features such as the Sydney Harbour, The Royal National Park and the Royal Botanical Gardens. On the man-made side of things, people come to look at The Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as The Sydney Tour.
Royal Botanical Gardens
These gardens are located in the heart of Sydney and provide beautiful sights for visitors. It was first opened in 1816, making it the oldest scientific institution in Australia. Due to its strategic placement, it is central to The Opera House and the Sydney Central Business District. It’s positioning ensures maximum exposure to people passing through Sydney.
The gardens occupy 74 acres and are bordered by the Sydney Harbour to the north, Art Gallery road to the east and the Cahill Expressway on the south and west. The gardens are composed of 4 major parts, the Lower Gardens, the Middle Gardens, the Palace Gardens and the Bennelong. At the center of the major sections, there lies Palm Grove Centre which offers a café, bookshop and visitor’s center.
This is one of the 20th century’s most legendary and iconic buildings. It was designed by a Danish architect named Jorn Utzon. His design won an international design competition in 1957, which was approved to be built in 1958 by the at the time premier of New South Wales, Joseph Cahill. Utzon later resigned from the project as costs and timelines escalated throughout its construction as well as the multiple engineering changes to ensure the building’s structural integrity. Even though its name suggests a single venue, there are actually multiple performance venues within it. These can be broken down into the following major areas:
- Concert Hall: Home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, with 2,679 seats.
- Joan Sutherland Theatre: Home of Opera Australia as well as the The Australian Ballet, with 1,507 seats.
- Drama Theatre: Primarily used by the Sydney Theatre Company, with 544 seats.
- Playhouse: This is an end-stage theatre with a capacity of 398 seats.
Besides the main areas, there is a studio, a small multi-purpose venue for parties and corporate functions named the Utzon Room, a recording studio and an Outdoor Forecourt.
Construction began in March of 1959 and was set to be completed in 3 phases; Stage I (1959-1963) consisted of building the upper podium, Stage II (1963-1967) consisted of the construction of the upper shells, Stage III (1967-1973) consisted of the interior design and construction. All in all, it took 14 years to fully complete, which ended up being much longer than initial projections of 4 years.
On the tour side of things, we’d like to say goodbye to the riders that completed their journeys and wish them safe flights home! We’ll be taking 7 riders from Syndey across to Auckland, where our group will be expanding to a much larger size… around 25! It’ll be like starting a new tour in a way! We’re very excited to explore the rich and luscious country of New Zealand, which will also be a TDA first! See you on the other side!