Looking for Affordable Travel? Be a Tourist in Your Home Town!
It’s hot, very hot! The turquoise blue water is glistening and there is only a gentle movement of waves as our ferry glides through Sydney Harbour on our way from Manly to Circular Quay.
It is a perfect summer’s day in Sydney. There is hardly any breeze to stifle the heat of the midday sun. We pass by the Sydney Opera House in all her glory, Sydney’s iconic sails shimmering as the sun belts down. This is Sydney at her best.
After being on the road as a roving retiree for the last five years, it is interesting to return home and play tourist for a few months. A ride on the ferry always thrills, the excitement never dies, and it is one of the best 30-minute ferry rides in the world.
Of course, we are biased, but those who have made this trip will agree with us.
In the last 2 years since we have been on the road, a new area of Sydney has opened – Barangaroo, they call it Sydney’s new foreshore playground.
As we make our way from Circular Quay, we walk through some of the smaller lanes and notice plaques and statues that must have been there for years. Why are we only noticing them now?
That’s right, we are noticing them now because we have time to wander and not rush from meeting to meeting, which was our old corporate life. We have time now to smell the roses – or the eucalypt trees in our case – in the small park where we have wandered.
We learn a snippet of history that we may have or may not have known before. We could have studied it at school, but never paid much attention to it. It seems important now, a glimpse back in time.
Noticing the Changes in Your Home Town
Sydney is changing, all for the better. We look at the changes in a different light. We even dare to compare it to other places that we have visited in our last five years of travel.
We arrive at Barangaroo and marvel at what has been achieved. Restaurants and bars now line this foreshore area, and new ferry terminals have been erected with services back to Circular Quay.
There is a buzz as tourists wander up and down the waterfront deciding on where to have a cold beer or a chilled glass of white wine or champagne before heading out to dinner.
We check the prices out. It is expensive, but we have always known our hometown to be expensive. Sydney always rates in the top 10 of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. We find a bar with happy hour prices at a reasonable $4 per glass for wine, beer or champagne.
We people-watch as the sun starts to set and the temperature drops a degree or two. Charter boats slide into their moorings in front of us as more tourists disembark and head to one of the many restaurants.
Here you have a choice of many cuisines from Asian to European or even Modern Australian fare.
Going Back to Familiar Places
It is time for us to decide on what to eat and where. We wander the strip and choose a busy Vietnamese restaurant. It’s a good sign that the restaurant is busy at 6pm, full of tourists and local workers from the nearby office blocks. We were not disappointed.
As we leave the restaurant a few hours later, Barangaroo is still buzzing. There was a time not so long ago that it was hard to find somewhere to eat in the middle of the CBD after 7pm.
Tourists would actually head to Darling Harbour, another area of restaurants and bars a few minutes’ walk from the CBD.
Barangaroo has changed all that, there are now more options to consider, and we are impressed.
It is good to revisit your hometown and see it in another light. Have you ever revisited a town or city that you used to live in? What did you find? Were you disappointed or do you approve? Please join the conversation below.
Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith are nomadic semi-retirees, baby boomers, travellers, House Sitters and co-founders of To Travel Too. Their motto is “Age is no barrier when it comes to travel.” Although not yet pensioners, their goal is to travel the world on what is currently the Australian Age Pension of approx. AUD 33,716 (USD 25,110) per year, or AUD 92 (USD 69) per day for two people.