The first time I visited Sydney was in the early 1980s. We drove up the Hume in my Chrysler Valiant.
We stayed one or two nights in Canberra at a modern YMCA. It was ok, but many residents were with social problems.
We saw Lake Burley Griffin, Mount Strongbow Observatory and got lost in the suburb of Belconnen. There was a brand new shopping centre not long opened.
Canberra was very quiet back then. It was early week and we found one place open for dinner. The owner was drunk and flirting outrageously with us. She was good fun. I think she was quite well known in social circles.
Leaving Canberra a huge roll of paper fell off the back of a truck and almost landed on my car. It would have killed us had it hit.
There weren't wonderful freeways, the M5 or the Eastern Distributor. We fought our way along the very grungy Paramatta Road. I suppose we had maps. I can't recall finding our way being a problem. Paramatta Road stretched on forever.
I remember driving along Bondi Road and having to hit the brakes, four wheel drum, very hard to avoid running into a car in front of me. I don't think I made the tyres smoke but it must have been close. I had been distracted by a stunning topless guy with gorgeous legs crossing the road. Whoa, I think I will like Sydney, and I did.
We had booked our accommodation at the NSW Government Tourist Bureau in Melbourne. It was $19 per night with a bathroom shared with a few others on the corner of Campbell Parade and Francis Street, Bondi Beach. It was pretty crappy, but is still there, now a backpackers. We did have nice views though and our own wash basin and kettle. It was enough for us back then. We parked the car in Francis Street and unimaginable now, there were no parking restrictions. Fire escape was very rusted metal and falling apart. I think I would take my chances with a fire.
Bondi had a large number of Maori residents. The Campbell Parade shops were very sleazy looking. It felt like a pretty rough area.
One day we drove to Balmain to see the house where the Bolter lived, my paternal grandmother.
We must have driven over the Harbour Bridge, I would guess going to Manly, as we were stopped by a bridge being raised up to let a boat go pass by. I guess it was the Spit Bridge.
I have a very old photo of the Alamein Fountain, so we must have gone to King's Cross.
Did day trip to the Blue Mountains.
Would The Rocks as a tourist attraction have been around then? I think we went there. I have a photo of me trying to climb a wall beneath some high rise housing commission flats. The wall was very overgrown the last time I saw it.
One night we ate in a quite posh upstairs restaurant in Oxford Street. Total waste on me as I drank too much and ended up throwing up in the basin back at the hotel. Drunk and trying to squash the contents from your stomach down a narrow plug hole. Charming.
We were on a bus and I now know it was following an old tram route near Bondi. It was turning in many back streets. The driver must have taken a wrong turn. We wouldn't have known. The passengers all yelled out to the driver.
Lots of buses showing the destination Dover Heights. None seem to show that now. I think the 380 has been extended from Dover Heights to Watsons Bay?
Sauna in the City, maybe Roman Spa? Another near the bottom of Oxford Street. Another called KKK, dirty and with broken lockers. Which one was King Steam?
Numbers in Oxford, like our Club 80. Opinion in summary: Sydney gays are very free and easy about sex.
Ride on Monorail? Was it built then? Fare $1.20.
City, buses buses buses everywhere, noisy, spewing our black diesel fumes. Queues at bus stops with ticket sellers walking along selling tickets.
Back stage tour of Opera House. Very interesting. Guide quite critical of interior design. Learn about fabric on walls and music, and accoustic clouds.
Return from Sydney via the coast. Tolls to pay near Woollongong?
Stayed one night at beautiful brand new motel with views from our room out over Lakes Entrance. $28 including breakfast.
There is much I have forgotten. Now I keep brief notes.