The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 15 July 2011

All in two days' work: Sydney Wildlife World, Aquarium, Harbour Cruise and Taronga Zoo

Although we have been to Sydney many times before, we still managed to pack in a few things we hadn't done yet. We were in Sydney for only 4 days this time, and I am impressed with how much we managed to squeeze into that little time, especially considering the fact that hubby, toddler and I were running on sleep deficit due to the red-eye 9-hour flight we caught from Hong Kong to Sydney. Our busy schedule began less than three hours after our flight touched down on the morning of our arrival in Sydney, and the first two days were reserved for my mum's 60th celebrations and a family photo-shoot with a photographer. We also had recently purchased a Sydney Scoopon deal that gave us entry into three attractions, and most of my siblings had also purchased the same deal so we could do a family outing together. However, we'd also planned to visit Taronga Zoo so that Zak could see the elephants and the big cats, which meant that we had to do ALL THREE attractions in one day! I'm still surprised we managed to achieve that, even with two boys in our care (my 8.5 y/o nephew tagged along, much to my own boy's delight). I think it helped a lot that we stayed near the Darling Harbour where the Sydney Wildlife World and the Sydney Aquarium are situated.

On Pyrmont Bridge in Darling Harbour. We have the same shot at the exact same spot, except here we are 5 years older, not as slim and with a kid:

Along one side of the Pyrmont Bridge. Shot taken just prior to its scheduled 12pm bridge opening:

We happened to be on the Pyrmont Bridge around its scheduled opening, and here it is as it is swinging open. Apparently it takes about 1 minute to open completely to 83 degrees:

Sydney Wildlife Centre

A life-size Lego creation of a kangaroo in a boxing ring at the Wildlife Centre. The Lego models are on display at both the Wildlife Centre and Aquarium until the end of 2011:

Meet Rex, the huge 5m long resident croc at the Wildlife Centre:

There were koalas too, about 7 in total, but this cutie was the only one awake. The backdrop of modern apartments in the background says nothing about koalas' natural habitat, but I'm glad Zak could see koalas without having to leave the city:

I saw a live cassowary! These endangered birds play a very important role in seed dispersal and germination of several hundred rainforest trees including rare species. Unfortunately this is the only clear shot I managed to get of this bird who ran away from the display window shortly after:

Sydney Harbour Cruise

The two most iconic structures of Sydney in one image: the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, taken while aboard Magistic Cruises on their 1-hour cruise tour of the Sydney Harbour:

Sydney Aquarium

Look at my son's expression when he saw a dugong swimming by at the Mermaid Lagoon exhibit inside the Aquarium. Legend has it that these creatures were often mistaken for mermaids by the first European sailors to arrive in Australia's coastal waters:

The underside of two sharks:

That whale model is made completely out of Lego blocks! Must have taken a while to build:

Taronga Zoo

With my younger sister at Taronga Zoo with the Harbour Bridge in the far background (she's the prettier and more stylish one in the photo). She spent almost a year living with us in Japan (helping us with taking care of Zak between his 1st and 2nd birthday), and she came with us to the zoo to spend quality time with her nephew. It was a very windy day hence the hair in our faces:

Getting up close and personal with a real live snake!

Interacting with a chimp behind the glass:

Zak's first time seeing elephants in the flesh:

Beautiful giraffes eating (and fighting over food):

This Sumatran tigress was pacing up and down right near the window, giving everyone a close up view of a tiger in action (versus lounging around or hiding from the public). It was quite difficult taking a clear shot of this tiger, and I saw many people taking and re-taking photos of this beauty without much success. I guess not many people know of the panning technique:

She was quite restless, seeming anxious about something, but she stopped a couple of times right in front of me, giving me a clear shot of her:

Phew, we sure got lots done in such a short time in Sydney! Stay tuned for more on Sydney eats!

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