Day 2 of the birthday get away…

Woke to brilliant sunshine and humidity on day 2. What a change from day 1. Perfect for our plans to walk around the Royal Botanic gardens, visit the Art Gallery of New South Wales and finish the day at the Chinese Gardens.

So Let’s go…

I’d chosen The Maisonette a small boutique hotel in Potts Point, an inner city suburb next to Kings Cross. It was in a heritage listed building, recently renovated. The entrance was almost a hole in the wall, a door sandwiched between two restaurants. A tiny reception area with stairs leading up to 3 levels of bedrooms. No lifts. But we were on the first floor it was perfect, small, clean and only 10 minutes stroll to the Botanic Gardens, and it had a special, stay 3 nights, pay for 2…

Kings Cross had a reputation for sleazy night life. Potts Point also had a thriving bohemian lifestyle. But now it is slightly off beat and funky with plenty of restaurants and boutique shops and galleries.

We strolled along the quiet residential street admiring the gorgeous art deco and Victorian homes. Before coming to the “short cut” 112 steep steps. We walked down, slowly…

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At the bottom we turned and watched as the young and fit woman RAN up and notice the other bloke taking the steps 2 at a time…

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The bottom of the steps brought us to Woolloomooloo. Rounding a corner and crossing the road we came to Woolloomooloo’s Finger Wharf. It is one of the world’s longest timber wharves. Once a busy cargo dock, it’s now home to restaurants and a marina.  We stumbled across an amazing sculpture display spread out along the board walk of the wharf.

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sydney pc 172_5184x3888The temperature was nearing the 30’s and I really wished I’d put my shorts on, not jeans. At the end of the wharf we came to more steps taking us up the escarpment and over to the Botanical gardens.

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At the entrance to the gardens is this welcoming sign. It was a joy to get out of the sun and wander through this delightful Botanic jc 097_4000x3000It was so much cooler as we walked under the shady trees. There’s the bridge again, it is a constant presence and pops into view every pc 203_5184x3888But it is time for a cold drink, so we make a beeline for the café. Passing this artist engrossed in her drawing. We didn’t disturb her she looked so peaceful.

Then we wandered on taking the shady paths to the fernery. And finding these two quirky creatures on our way.

The air conditioning of the art gallery beckoned. A major building project is going on

The Art Gallery of New South Wales’ expansion – the Sydney Modern Project – will create a new art museum experience across two buildings connected by a public art garden.

Our new building, designed by SANAA, will almost double exhibition space with seamless connections between indoor and outdoor spaces, delivering rich and diverse experiences for all our visitors. The Gallery will remain open during construction, which is scheduled for completion in 2022. {more information here}

How exciting this will be when it is finished. But today many of the galleries were closed and new exhibits being installed. We slowly wandered around absorbing the art and atmosphere. But nothing new or innovative that really caught my eye. except this stylised painting of Mount Fuji.

.sydney pc 243_4122x3151The reeds at the front swayed and the small boat slowly moved across the painting accompanied by soft music. I found it very mesmerising.

Time to move on and we headed for Darling Harbour using the new Light Rail that now runs through the main CBD area of pc 020_5184x3888The destination was the Chinese Garden. This is one of my favourite places in Sydney and we started by having a cuppa in the tea house, tea for Jack, iced coffee for me, and of course cake to go with it. As we sat there we were inspired to get our sketch books out. A passing Asian lady offered to take our photos, then she said she had noticed us sketching and would like to take our camera and take a photo of us sketching from across the water. We were delighted to say yes. When she came back she had taken quite a number of photos of us, from a distance, which I like, I’m usually quite camera shy…

This is what I was drawing…

We spent two hours slowly savouring these magnificent gardens. Following the winding paths, passing under the graceful weeping willows. Gazing across the peaceful lake covered with the sacred Lotus flower. Carefully negotiating the rugged rocks to climb to the top pavilion to sit and enjoy the view across the garden. This is a pleasure that should not be missed if you come to Sydney. Here are just a few photos to try and capture some of the magic of this special place.

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sydney pc 305_5184x3888I was inspired by the beauty of these gardens and when I arrived back home I spent time, using the photos to copy from, filled some of my journal pages.

It had been a busy and satisfying day but now to head back to the hotel. We certainly didn’t want to walk back up those 112 steps so instead we caught the bus to Kings Cross. Our timing was unfortunate as it was just gone 5pm. RUSH HOUR… When the bus came we literally squeezed on. Then came the benefit of being old, people moved around and a couple gave us their seat.

How lucky were we to get this trip away.

It was the beginning of March. Coronavirus was rampant in China and slowly spreading around the world. and the full impact had not hit Australia. “Social Distancing”, as a concept, had not been heard of. About 2 weeks later it was here in all its insidious horror, creating turmoil. Now life as we knew it is totally changed. Thousands are out of work. Sport is a thing of the past, BBQs, social gatherings, even family get togethers are banned. No one knows when, or how, it will end.

We bloggers are lucky as we have some thing positive to occupy our time as we wait it out in isolation. And we have our lovely blogging buddies to keep digitally in contact with. Our communities are now more important than ever.

Stay safe and well my friends and keep blogging…


Cathy of “Wander Essence” hosts an art journal invitation and she invites you to join in. Go over to see Cathy’s latest art journal post   it is so inspirational and full of great ideas that will make you want to start your own journal. Then share it with us…

I would like to join the lovely Restless Jo this week with this walk around Sydney. Not joined in for quite a while, but I always stroll along, virtually, each week on Jo’s walks. This week it is a beauty, so tranquil and with lots of history. Take a look.



  1. What a lovely trip you were so fortunate to go on. This is the kind of thing I would love. I have been to botanical gardens and other gardens and museums but this one I will never see as you have. Thank you for taking me along with you. I love the sculptures and all the scenery. You are a very gifted artist and I so enjoy you sharing that with everyone…me, too, of course…that frequents your blog. Do take care and enjoy you beautiful garden at home. Yes, things have definitely changed everywhere. At least for a time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Renee for those lovely comments. We were very fortunate to fit it in before the shut down. Now I can just dream and make plans for future trips, whenever we will be allowed to travel again, as I’m sure we will.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. All places that are so familiar to me, except that I haven’t been on the new light rail through the city yet. I’m glad you had you special holiday when you did. A little later and you might have missed out altogether.
    Those sketches… so well done and a lovely memory of the Sydney visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They had a display of photos and maps in one of the pavilions explaining how they had built the gardens. It was an amazing combined process between Australia and China and the result is a thing of beauty

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, Pauline! This post is positively lyrical, both in words and in photography. What a treat for me! I’ll never make it to your stunning city but what a joy to stroll there with you. I laughed at those steps and the jogger. I don’t think I was ever that fit. And i watched the reeds sway in front of Mount Fuji. Gaped at your fabulous drawings! How wonderful to be able to linger over your art as well as look at photos. And drooled at the gardens! A feast to tide me till my next adventure, whenever that might be. Much love to you and Jack. Stay safe out there! 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • What lovely words Jo. Very encouraging. It was a lovely way to spend our birthday and as we get older we appreciate that we can still get around and I also was never fit enough to run up those stairs. Are you still going on walks Jo? We have put ourselves into self isolation. Australia not in total shut down yet, but we are only being requested to stay indoors, unlike NZ who have been ordered into total lockdown


      • I’m not sure where the lines are drawn, Pauline. There are a few cases now in Faro and police are apprehending anyone who doesn’t comply. You can only go out within your area, no joyrides into the countryside or beaches however remote. Only 2 people at once unless with family members and essential food shopping trips only. Delivery service isn’t common here and lots of people shop frequently for fresh produce. It’s certainly altered life. I’ve done t’ai chi up on the roof this morning and it’s glorious. I will be champing at the bit soon but you have to try and do what’s right. We try to involve our neighbour Marie because she’s on her own. That will mean only one of us walks with her and we have a few country lanes we can do. Interesting times, hon. Stay well! I envy you your artistry 😘💕

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad you got your trip to Sydney. I only discovered the Chinese Garden on my last trip and loved it. I’m hoping that when this pandemic is over T and I can explore Sydney together — something we’ve never managed to do.

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  5. Two of my favourite places in Sydney here PP. I must have explored every inch of the Botanic Gardens and the Chinese Gardens, and I have sat at both of those cafes so this felt as though I was accompanying you. I haven’t been on the light rail though as that is a recent addition. In fact I walked from the Chinese Garden, back to Circular Quay through the Botanic Gardens when I was trapped in Sydney on the day that bomber incident occurred. All the roads were blocked and transport through the CBD stopped so I had no other option than to walk. Thankfully the ferries were running! Glad to hear you and Jack are keeping well. Can you still go out for a walk down to the beach, or the lake nearby? Or on your bikes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My favourites too Jude and we visit them every time we go to Sydney. The light rail is very convenient and quick to get around on. We have one of them on the GC too. Yes we can still walk within our area. Lockdown here is only voluntary at the moment, not enforced. But think that will come soon and NZ is in total lockdown for 4 weeks. When walking yesterday only 4 other joggers passed me, all young fit looking blokes, and every one moved over onto the road as they passed me. Were they looking after the old folks, or did I look scary!!!


  6. Oh, and I forgot to say that I was amazed you allowed a stranger to walk off with your camera! I am sure I wouldn’t be that trusting! Your sketches are, as always, truly beautiful.

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  7. Wow! Thank you for this virtual trip, Pauline. What beautiful gardens, and a serene day of savoring beauty. I love your sketchbooks, and the photos of you sitting and sketching. They are wonderful. You have so much talent. I’m so happy I can add these to my art journal spread post on April 10. Thank you for your inspiration, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a lovely day and I enjoy the day even more if I make time to sit and sketch. But most times I’m too busy getting around, so end up sketching from photos when I get back home. But that is fun too as it is reliving the experience


      • I can’t imagine I’d ever have enough time to sketch while traveling, unless I was on a dedicated artist retreat. I know for sure about sketching from photos. You’re right though, it’s a way to relive the experience. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. What a glorious visit you two have had, and such nice people to meet along the way! Thank you sooo much for taking us along as you revisited through photos! Such great art, such beautiful gardens, and even Sydney’s light rail – wow! Stay safe, you two. xxxx PS/Do you have access to facetime? Should we share a call sometime?!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a fantastic tour of Sydney you gave us Pauline. You really brought it alive and personalized it at the same time. How fortunate that you were able to savor your birthday trip before the bottom dropped out of all normalcy. I hope you and Jack are weathering this pandemic storm with your usual humor and creative take on things. Take care of yourselves.

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    • Lovely to hear from you Brenda. We really were fortunate to fit that trip in. You are in a unique position on your lovely property to sit this crazy time out. Take care, stay safe and keep gardening

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  10. I say Pauline .. that was a breath of fresh air wandering round Sidney with you and Jack thank you ! 😉
    We didn’t have long in Sidney on our trip years ago but loved the Royal Botanical Garden but .. oh how I would have loved the Chinese Garden .. wonder how we missed out on that . A lovely picture of you and Jack there at coffee time . Indeed you must feel fortunate to have managed your birthday trip before everything as we know it changed, and for who knows how long .
    Great to hear you can still wander to the beach 10 mins away .. maybe we’ll be treated to a sunset over the ocean picture from you in the near future 🙂
    Your art journal is a *real* delight to look through Pauline x
    Keep safe now .

    Liked by 1 person

    • We feel quite grateful that we celebrated our BD before the world went crazy. The Chinese garden is a real hidden gem, not promoted very often. We try to go there every time we go to Sydney. So peaceful and beautiful to sketch.
      The ocean is to the east of us so sunrise, but won’t be any of those. There’s a lovely lake at the end of our street that faces west and I’ve taken many sunset photos there.
      Hope you are keeping ok. I’m sure you will use all this extra time for your art.


  11. Nice walk. I live in Sydney and know these areas well. Your walk is a reminder of what’s out there, when all I see these days is the view from my balcony, or the neighbourhood on my one weekly walk to the supermarket.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi P – nice to see you and jack in some photos -a nd the drawings and of course the photos and street shots – love the stairs shot..

    and your notes about the way the pandemic “hit” and suddenly the change was upon us was so well written –

    hope you both are doing well – and think you guys often

    Liked by 1 person

    • G’day Yvette, lovely to hear from you. I don’t get on WP much these days. I like to be out and about, now we can…🤗and I’m doing more art. But I still like to record my “changing season” post at the end of each month. It is a great way to keep a record of our garden.

      Hope things are ok for you. I watch what is going on in America with horror. Hope you are keeping safe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi – things are one here but the city I live does have damage downtown and my friend is afraid to drive in that area.
        And when i was in Washington DC last month – I did not even recognize this block because so many windows were boarded up.
        but in my experience – it is not as bad as it sounds on the news. At least for where I am ..
        and sounds like you have great blog boundaries in place – still finding a way to do it but also getting to other important things – woo hoo –
        and TTS amiga

        Liked by 1 person

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