Friday, May 31, 2013

Speedwalking Through Sydney

Taking from Taronga Zoo.
My trip to Sydney can only be described as a whirlwind as we only stayed about 5 days – two of those days I was left to myself while my husband worked. We both considered it a vacation for our vacation because there was literally no agenda and much more relaxed.

First night was joining him for dinner with coworkers at a restaurant that a spectacular view of the Sydney Opera House. In all honest opinion while it was iconic, it was not impressive. The architecture was great and very interesting, but overall it was not as awestruck I had hoped. However perhaps we were too up close because it was much better at a distance whenever I traveled by ferry.

However right across from it, I was much more awestruck by the bridge. Which I was told you could even walk across the suspension part of it (for a price).

I learned my younger cousin's first word was chocolate. He woke up just in time for this feast.

Sunday was meeting my two cousins and her family. We ate and a cute Thai place and then walked to Darling Harbor where we saw our first koala sighting in front of Wildlife Sydney. I was told this would be the closet I would get to a koala compared to the other parks (which I learn they were very true). For a mid-afternoon dessert we went to a Lindt Chocolate cafe where we had a smorgasborg of waffles, ice chocolate, hot chocolate, and two types of cake. After we said our goodbyes and tried to make the last hours of Wildlife Sydney – which due to two people in front taking a long time we decided to pass.

Monday I set out early for Taronga Zoo. A simply ferry ride to Circular Quay it was easy enough. My only mistake once I got there was that I failed to get the shuttle right as we docked the boat. I realized my mistake when I started walking into the park that was also on the island.

Thanks to the Sydney Guide I picked up at the airport (which I highly recommended if you've never been before), I got a discount on my admission ticket. The zoo was divided in two, three parts: Austrialian Walkabout, African plains, and Ocean. Much of the ocean exhibit was closed but between the two areas it still took half a day to explore.

For lunch I went to the cafe and got a burger. Which was more than just your average burger with pickles and onions. It also contained beets making it crunchy and delicious. Note: it's best to hide your food or keep it closed as much as possible. White ibises are everywhere and they are like the seagulls back in the States. Not afraid of people and more than happy to eat the food off your plate when you're not looking. I kept my fries in a closed bag and they still reached for it, even jumping on the table. Also feeding them will not make them go away and cause only more to come to you.

After my fight with an ibis, I went back to explore the shopping area more. I had seen a Kinokuniya in the area and decided to take a peek. Unlike the one in New York, this was very much a bookstore similar to Barnes and Nobles than a store that sold Japanese books. The reason I went was to not only check out an international branch but that they carried Chinese translated manga. I picked up a series called Peach Sisters for $20AUD.

Mocktail, sushi, and pork belly.

For dinner, I rejoined my husband for an izakaya style dinner.

Tuesday was really lax as I felt I couldn't do too much in a day. So I got up early to head to the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and bought a combo ticket for $75AUD (at the desk, it's cheaper online)--this allowed me to visit Wildlife Sydney, Manly Sealife Sanctuary, and the aquarium for a significantly discounted price (At first I had one for the Sydney Eye, but didn't have time, but they were able to easily exchange it).

And then after I checked out the Garden of Friendship – a garden that was a gift from China to Australia. For $6AUD it was pretty much a steal compared to the museums and park pricing.

With not much time left in the day, I decided to take a Sightseeing bus for $29AUD. I've never taking one in New York—for obvious reasons—but I would recommend it wherever you are if you are only going to be at your destination for less than a week. It not only gives you a sense of the city but also you see everything within a short amount of time. They provided me with a set of headphones to listen to the recorded audio tour that goes along with the bus route as well.

Pictures from Wildlife Sydney.

Manly Sanctuary
Wednesday was our last day, and we had a free day to spent together. Staying close we checked out Wildlife Sydney and then with some time left we took the ferry to Manly to visit the sealife sanctuary. We also learned there was a penguin colony underneath the wharf!

There is a potato underneath somewhere.
An early dinner consisted of spicy wonton noodles and an extremely stuffed baked potato. Then it was off to the airport and back home. I wish I was able to do more since on our last day I found two tea salons and a Ladurée cafe, but perhaps next time right?

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