Next Stop: Sydney — Human Nature’s Guide to the Other “Sin City”
Posted by Andrew C on Friday, March 28th, 2014
In our previous blog post, the members of Human Nature took on the roles of expert Las Vegas tour guides, giving fans the inside scoop on some of their favorite lesser-known, must-see destinations outside The Strip. As it turned out, the boys were absolute pros at dispensing travel tips– which got us to thinking. If they’re this enthusiastic about their adopted hometown, just imagine what they’d have to say about the one place they know even better!
And thus, the Human Nature Board of Tourism is back in business this week, traveling roughly 8,000 miles from our Nevada headquarters all the way to another city that once carried the “Sin City” moniker (albeit due to an organized crime problem in the mid-twentieth century). Today, it’s the crown jewel of the Land Down Under and the place where it all started for our crooning quartet—Sydney, Australia.
Now, clearly, if you’re one of Human Nature’s North American fans, a journey across the globe may require a tad more preparation (and budgeting) than a weekend jaunt to Vegas. But with a population larger than any American city outside of New York, and 10 million tourists pouring in each year, Sydney is not a destination that tends to disappoint. Whether you’re looking for natural beauty, art, music, sports, summer in January, or just a pilgrimage to the land where the young Tierney brothers first learned to sing harmonies… it’s all here.
“Sydney has some incredible culture and history,” says Phil Burton, who first befriended bandmates Toby Allen and Andrew Tierney while attending high school in the Sydney suburb of Glenfield. “But it really is known for its amazing harbor and beaches, so step one would be to get yourself on a ferry. For one of the best views in the world– ride to either Taronga Zoo or Manly. Both destinations are almost as wonderful as the view.”
Manly and Taronga Zoo are just two of the eight public transport ferry routes emanating from Sydney’s Circular Quay Wharf. The suburb of Manly is world renowned for its seemingly endless, crystal clear beaches and first-rate surfing. Meanwhile, the historic Taronga Zoo—which can be reached via bus or cable car from the Taronga Zoo Wharf—is a century-old, 52-acre playground for over 300 species of native and exotic animals. Conveniently, the zoo is just a 12-minute ferry ride from downtown.
“Sydney really is a beautiful city,” says singer / tour guide Michael Tierney, “and walking from Circular Quay around to the Opera House really shows the harbor off. So much to see and it doesn’t cost you a thing! Another great area is Balmain, which is an inner city suburb with great cafes & shops all along the main street.”
Of course, even the most naïve of tourists won’t be likely to miss the Sydney Opera House. It’s one of the most famous buildings in the world with its unmistakable tiered roof design. Balmain, meanwhile, is a culturally rich part of Sydney with some establishments dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. Darling Street– the main drag with most of the cafes and shops Mike mentioned—also includes many of the town’s most recognizable landmarks, like the Court House, the Exchange Hotel, and Balmain Working Men’s Institute.
“I think I would always suggest you try and experience the outdoors in Sydney,” says Mike’s brother Andrew. “There are so many unique natural experiences to have. Our Nan lived in the Blue Mountains when we were growing up. It’s about one hour out of Sydney and well worth the drive to experience a whole different aspect of Sydney than what you see on the postcards. There is amazing wildlife in the bush up there, and all along the road up the mountains you pass through cute little towns as well.”
Yup, much like the Spring Mountains just outside Las Vegas, the close proximity of the Blue Mountains to Sydney sometimes surprises visitors, too. The foothills start just 30 miles outside the city, and spots like the Three Sisters, Centennial Glen Cliffs, and Mount Victoria draw hikers, mountain bikers, rock climbers, and just about anyone who loves a spectacular view.
“Oh, I have to suggest the Bondi to Bronte cliff walk,” Phil Burton chimes in, seemingly recalling a specific, fond memory from his far-away homeland. “You get to experience Bondi Beach, as well as stunning Tamarama and Bronte Beach, and you get an uninterrupted view of the Pacific Ocean as you walk.”
For locals, the roughly 6 km / 3.7 mile Bondi to Bronte walk ranks among the best known in Sydney—not just for lovely views of the ocean, but for the occasional celebrity spotting, as well. But Phil isn’t about to let you take that walk unprepared.
“Leave early and have breakfast at one of Bronte’s delicious cafes before walking back,” he says, then pauses. “Wow, I really do sound like a tour guide! Guess I just love the place…”