I am now in Sydney after a quick 3 hour flight (just under 3 hours actually) from Cairns. It beats the horrible five day bus ride I made when heading up there and flying's surprisingly cheaper too; Cairns to Sydney via Jetstar cost me $249 while Brisbane to Cairns on a Greyhound Australia bus (sorry, I mean coach; they hate you calling them 'buses' as I overheard a driver telling a young German tourist the other week).
I have bought a coach ticket (a mere two hours on a coach, as opposed to several days, is no big deal) to Wollongong for next week (people keep asking me 'Why on earth are you going to Wollongong, it's a bloody shithole, mate' and when I tell them it's for ocean-going birdwatching they are even more sceptical! Besides if I want to go to Wollongong, then I bloody well will!) and arranged accommodation in the local backpackers, just up from the harbour. Sadly, I can only get dorm accommodation but it's better than nothing and it's only for 2 nights - I am then returning to the scruffy backpackers I am esconsed in here in Sydney for a couple of days before heading to Asia (it's scruffy but adequate and I have a room to myself with - oh the decadence - a TELEVISION!!). I am definitely splurging on a decent hotel when I get to Asia - I gather that Thailand is so cheap that even a four star place is within my budget! I hope that particular gen is spot on!
I am glad to be in Sydney, I was here briefly a couple of weeks ago (I think - I have lost track of the passage of weeks!) and the bus coach I was in drove over the famous Harbour Bridge and I got a brief look at the Opera House. I got a better look at the Opera House today from the airport shuttle and it looks better from ground level than it did from the bridge. I'll do the touristy bollocks at some point and take pix of the bridge and Opera House before I leave Sydney next week.
The main reason I am glad to be here is not because of famous buildings, but because the weather is nice, pleasantly warm and with clear skies, unlike the tropical rain and relative heat and humidity of the Wet Tropics. Being a fair skinned Briton of Celtic extraction, the Sydney autumn weather is much more to my liking! I like visiting tropical places and seeing the tropical birds (bird species are more numerous in the tropics) but I am always happy to leave.
Must remember to look into getting to Coonabarabran (about 7 hours/500km from here) by train. There's an astronomy event on and I am hoping to spend the night of the 19th and 20th there before going to Wollongong for next Saturday's pelagic. By the way I'm getting the same questions about Coonabarabran I'm getting about Wollongong...!
Going birding tomorrow hopefully, with a fellow Bird Forum member who lives in Sydney.