WATSONS BAY & SOUTH HEAD COAST WALK

August 2, 2013

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Sydney has so many tourist activities for the visitor and local residents, it’s often hard to choose between those not to be missed places to visit, especially when time is limited.

Apart from the “Visitor Must Do List” attractions of climbing the harbour bridge, exploring the Opera House, taking a ferry to Manly, visiting Taronga Park Zoo and a day away at the Blue Mountains, squeezing other events into a full itinerary proves to be a real dilemma when there are several places to choose from, each with their own merits as to why time and money should be spent to experience them.

For those visitors who are time poor and want to experience a unique and beautiful part of Sydney which they probably would not explore on their own, Sydney Coast Walks have put together a three hour tour which will showcase the true beauty of the Sydney Harbour foreshore up close and provide an interesting insight into the history of the Watsons Bay area, The Gap and South Head, the gateway to the harbour. www.sydneycoastwalks.com.au

Visit Camp Cove beach where the Aboriginal Birrabirragal mob met the sailors of the First Fleet commanded by England’s Captain Arthur Phillip.  Local guides will share stories of South Head’s shipwrecks that led to one of Australia’s first lighthouses being built.

With no more than twelve guests in each tour, the walking pace allows plenty of time for discovery and photographs.  The tour commences at Sydney’s Circular Quay with a ferry ride across the harbour to Watsons Bay.  After departing the ferry wharf area with its famous beach side fish restaurants and a short walk past the historic wooden fisherman’s cottages, now all restored to luxurious splendour, the tour passes through the Sydney Harbour National Park where visitors will see fabulous views looking back towards the city before walking on to South Head and The Gap.

Whist on the tour, visitors may be lucky enough to see whales as they migrate along the coastline during June to October. The Gap is one of the best land vantage points to spot whales.

For those visitors who have a little bit more time, Sydney Coast Walks, which is a family owned business, also runs full day and overnight hiking tours through Sydney’s national parks.  On these tours, they supply and carry all the food and equipment, so the visitor can experience the beauty and diversity of the walking tours without the burden of a heavy pack.  Their knowledge of coastal areas means they can lead you off the beaten track to hidden and lesser known places.  The tour groups are small so you can benefit from the personalised attention.   Sandra Tiltman

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OPERA AUSTRALIA’S DELIGHTFUL DON PASQUALE

August 2, 2013

Don_Pasquale_SW13_339Set in the Rome of the early 1950s, around the time of the enchanting film Roman Holiday, Opera Australia’s winter season production of Don Pasquale, Donizetti’s celebrated comic opera, is delightful.  With its lyrical arias, warm and bright Italian street scenes, beautiful costumes and elegant sets complete with the latest in ultra chic 1950s furnishings, this opera is a visual treat.

One of Donizetti’s last operas, Don Pasquale is directed by Australian Roger Hodgman with designer Richard Roberts and lighting whiz Matt Scott.  Distinguished bass Conal Coad, with his well‐honed comedy and renowned vocal artistry, drives the action in the title role.  The versatile ensemble stars soprano Rachelle Durkin, tenor Ji‐Min Park and baritone Andrew Jones.  Don Pasquale is conducted by Guillaume Tourniaire, the former chief conductor of Prague State Opera.

The comic plot centres on Don Pasquale, an elderly miser, who takes it into his head to disinherit his uppity nephew Ernesto (in love with Norina) by marrying and producing an heir.  He asks his doctor to find him a suitable match.  A marriage contract is hastily drawn up by the cunning Dr Malatesta between Don Pasquale and Malatesta’s ‘sister’ (the disguised Norina of course).  With the ink barely dry, the shy and demure bride begins to create so much havoc that the groom is only too happy to pay to get rid of her.

Much merriment and misadventure ensues until the eventual reversal of fortune when Don Pasquale gives the young couple his blessing.

Sung in Italian, with English surtitles, Don Pasquale is performed in the Joan Sutherland Theatre at Sydney Opera House until Thursday 15 August 2013.    Sandra Tiltman