If you follow the updates on this blog and Facebook page, you may think that all I do in Sydney is eat and food shopping. Far from the truth! In fact, I have been playing tourist. Discovering all that Sydney has to offer is not possible with only a dozen days in the city but I try my best. I will show you some highlights in this post.
I went to Taronga Zoo and took part in the Wild Australia Experience. Not only did I get to see all the animals, the behind-the-scene tour was led by a zookeeper who took us inside some enclosures for a close up. It goes without saying that I had some one-on-one time with koala bear and red kangaroo. I also learned much about platypus, wallaby, Tasmanian devil, feather-tail glider, tree kangaroo, and echidna! The zookeeper even took us inside one of the kitchens preparing food for the zoo animals and I learned about conservation efforts in the country.
In addition to land animal, I also checked out not one, but two aquariums to meet with some sea creatures. On of the rainy days, I visited Sydney Sea Life Aquarium and Manly Sea Life Sanctuary. The attraction at both aquariums is an underwater glass tunnel that took us around tanks filled with sharks, dugong, manta rays, and other deep sea creatures. They are so graceful yet it made me sad to learn about how human are destroying their habitat.
Australia is famous for the coral reef. When I saw the exhibit showing all the colours of this underwater wonderland, I desperately wanted to pick up scuba diving again. Perhaps next time. If cuteness is what you’re after, do not miss out on the little penguins colony. Little penguin habitats are along the New South Wales shoreline and the aquariums taught me much about their habits. Do you know that they are monogamous creatures and most of the penguins on display are actually paired off?
In addition to meeting animals in confinement, I ran into a few in the wild too. I took an impromptu hike through parts of the Sydney Harbour National Park in Manly. There was a tense moment when a water dragon got in my path and we had a staring contest for over five minutes. I was too afraid to walk around this reptile about the size of my forearm and the water dragon was not impressed that I was in its hood.
Why did I describe this hike as impromptu? Well, I started the three hour itinerary late in the day as I tried to wait out the rain. I thought I was just only to check out the beach in Manly but the draw of bushwalking was just too much. So I changed my mind last minute and went hiking in a ridiculous outfit of street sneakers, skinny jeans, a poufy dress, and a huge backpack bouncing on my back. With the impending sunset, I picked up my pace so much that I was trail running most of the way. The proposed three hour journey was completed in two yet I was rewarded with some spectacular views along the way.
It was a long day when I finally bid farewell to the relaxing beaches of Manly. Speaking of beaches, I went to Bondi Beach’s annual Sculpture By The Sea on the last day of the festival. The famous beach did not disappoint with the spectacular colours and big surfs. The temperature has yet to warm up enough for a swim but there were some brave souls out there frolicking in the water. Although I brought along my bathing suit, I remained warm and dry on land.
The historic waterfront district of The Rocks was fun to explore during the day with its eclectic boutiques mingling with old buildings from the 1800s. I learned a little about the colonial history of Sydney in the free museum and walking tour. However, it was on the Friday night market The Rocks Village Bizarre when the place came alive.
The streets were filled with live music, street food stalls, and crafts vendors like any street parties. But there were so much more. Free tarot card reading, a curiosity tent for kids, photo booth, silent disco, street theater, a secret pop up bar, and free hairstyling! I was lucky enough to sign up for a session with MOHS.
You cannot visit Sydney without mention its two iconic buildings, The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Obviously I visited both, in daylight and after nightfall! They are breathtaking from afar and up close. How up close? I will let the pictures do the talking.