The next day, we were invited to undertake a familiarization trip of Sydney airport. We were a group of airlines – Air China, Royal Brunei, Malaysian Airlines and of course Kingfisher Airlines. The last time I flew through Sydney Airport, it was not at all impressive and to be honest did not create an impression. However, they have now refurbished it and it looks great with a large variety of retail options. They have the only Lonely Planet store in the duty free area and for travel aficionados like myself, it is a haven. They also have a Godiva chocolate shop where one can not only pick up the awesome Godiva chocolates but can also have a hot or cold chocolate drink. Colleen Phillips and Peter Smith did a fantastic job explaining the history of the airport and the recent renovation / refurbishment plans.
After the tour of the airport, we went to the harbor – Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont. We were to sail on an ex Americas Cup racing yacht chartered by the Kookaburra Group. http://www.kookaburragroup.com.au/site/charter
- Smokey chicken tikka (boneless spring chicken fillet marinated overnight and cooked in the tandoori oven over charcoal to obtain a smokey flavour)
- Seekh Rampuri (lamb and kangaroo mince with onions, green spices, pressed on skewer and smoke roasted over charcoal)
- Cocktail Samosa (short pastry pockets filled with vegetables and spices)
- Stuffed paranthas (wholemeal bread stuffed with spiced vegetables)
- Papadums, mixed pickles and dips
We were joined by Hans (Sydney Airport), Daniel (Moscow Domodedovo Airport), Christina (Munich Airport) and Rebecca. After signing documentation relieving the organizers of any liability in case of any untoward incidents and a short briefing, we set sail. The harbour sail started from Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont, we then sailed towards the Harbour Bridge. Then we stopped between Admiralty house and Kirribilli house and decided to hoist the head sail. Hans and Anne helped the crew with it. Near Taronga Zoo we decided to do the ‘fast sail’. So the crew, assisted by Hans, Amol, Anne and some of the Chinese airport guys, brought the head sail down and hoisted the main sail. Then they hoisted the head sail yet again. We cruised past Port Jackson and Cremorne Point & Point Piper.
There were quite a few sailors out on the water as it was a beautiful day. I was told that on the weekends, it tends to get so crowded that there are quite a few collisions! The steamers (famous Sydney ones painted yellow and green) always have the right of way. We passed a large tanker who beeped five times twice. We continued cruising towards Middle Head where on the right hand side was the male only nudist beach. Of course we were too far off to check out the men, though Christina tried her luck using her camera zoom lens!
Not too long after that, we turned around and sailed back. We brought the sails down near Luna Park.
Here is a basic map with pink circles indicating where we went.
We then had just about enough time to return to our hotel and freshen up before we headed to Cafe Sydney at the old Customs House for dinner. Cafe Sydney is one of the top restaurants in the city and the view of the Harbour Bridge is awesome. The food was excellent and so was the wine.
Menu from Café Sydney – http://www.cafesydney.com/
- ½ dozen oysters freshly shucked on ice with shallot and caramelised cabernet vinegar
- peppered wagyu carpaccio with celeriac remoulade, parsley and lemon dressing (my choice)
- tomato with buffalo mozzarella, pesto, aged balsamic and extra virgin olive oil
- Peppered beef tenderloin with Swiss brown mushroom, baby spinach, béarnaise and jus
- Tandoori roasted ocean trout with spiced cauliflower salad, eggplant chutney, buffalo yoghurt raita (my choice)
- Spinach gnocchi with zucchini flower, truss tomato, chilli and Persian fetta
- Dark chocolate pave with malt ice cream and orange caramel sauce (my choice)
- Coconut panna cotta with coconut sorbet and poached strawberry
- Individual cheese plate with semi hard cheese, white mould, fresh dates and soda walnut bread
- 2009 Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon – Margaret River, WA
- 2006 Peter Lehmann “The Futures” – Barossa Valley, SA
I had an awesome day and the memories of it will stay with me forever. I would like to thank Sydney Airport and the NSW Tourism for a wonderful time. Thank you Hans, Amol, Anne, Ian and all the others who made the day special. A big thank you to Anne for her excellent organisational skills.