Sunday 10th April
Today started off bright and sunny, descended into being cloudy and humid and ended with one mother of a rain storm! I wish I’d seen that coming but instead we got absolutely soaked walking home in it. Cheap season eh?!
While the weather was good we went to see the Hyde Park Barracks. Australia has decided not to be embarrassed about its history and instead embrace it and expose it. I’m never sure if this is a good idea. Bringing it all back up can’t be a good thing can it? Besides, they’re subtly mocking the UK!
The museum was fantastic though. Very well researched and put together for such a tiny space. It really gave you a feel for the horrific conditions people experienced for crimes as crap as pick pocketing!
We intended to have another visit to the botanics today as it’s so big we still haven’t seen it all but as we stepped in to the barracks, the rain started so when we came out we opted to just come straight home. As mentioned above, we got drenched. To the bone!
Monday 11th April
Much better day today. It has been a bit cloudy but nice and warm. Yesterday’s rain has cleared the humidity so it’s been quite pleasant. We decided to go to the Sydney Wildlife World and Sydney Aquarium attractions. They were doing a really good deal; $35 each or $50 to see both together. We took the latter.
We had a lovely walk across town again, through Hyde Park and down to Darling Harbour. In many ways I wish we could’ve had more time in Sydney, there’s so much to do, Darlington Harbour is a couple of days in itself.
First up was the Wildlife World. As soon as you enter you get to see the big butterfly enclosure from low down and through glass. At the end of the tour you actually walk through this enclosure and if you’re lucky, or a child of about 7, the butterflies will land on you for a photo op. We were neither and from what I gather in the papers, a bearded bloke with glasses taking pics of kids is a big no no these days!!
After that you get all the insect enclosures. Bees, ants, spiders etc. Had me itching a bit by the end of it. They had the world’s largest cockroach and the world’s most poisonous spider. Frighteningly, we couldn’t see the most poisonous spider and we were scared it had escaped and was roaming the park in the shadows!
Then you get the amphibians which are my personal favourite. Check out these beauties:
The highlight was this big bugger:
A real life dinosaur!! He’s 5 metres long and called Rex!
The park was just choc full of facts too. Every enclosure had really interesting facts about all the animals. For kids, this is an amazing place to go in the holidays.
Then we moved to the outdoor creatures. We saw a kangaroo, a wallabie and of course, some koalas:
Kangaroo’s are just weird. But I feel bad for them as they’re heading towards being endangered. Before we came out here I read Songlines by Bruce Chatwin which was set in the 80’s and everyone just ran over kangaroo’s if they got in the way. If that has continued for the last 30 years, it’s no wonder they’re going to be endangered.
When we came out, the gift shop had a huge 5 foot stuffed crocodile. Decided we couldn’t get that on the plane though…
We went to the café for lunch. I was actually surprised at a) how nice the food was and b) how cheap the food was. This is a main tourist attraction in the heart of Sydney, I was expecting sky rocketed prices but they weren’t at all. Good work!
After lunch we went to the Aquarium. I didn’t get any pictures here, it was way too dark. I was also just absolutely fascinated by everything. So many weird types of fish over here. The kind of fish I’ve only ever seen in books and on the net and to see them up close was just amazing.
They had two underwater enclosures. One to see some Dugongs and one to see the big shark tank. Shark HQ is the big focus at the moment and a lot of the info areas are dedicated to sharks, shark tracking and they even have a shark hatchery where they grow the eggs, rear the sharks and release them into the wild.
I saw six medium sharks, an absolutely huge shark and even a humongous stingray. Similar to the one that killed that knob Steve Irwin!
All in all, the two exhibitions side by side and with the double entry deal were brilliant value for money and very educational. We even got a really cool laminated park guide which I will keep forever!
On the way back to the flat, I got another shot of one of these using my new 55-200 lens to get in a bit closer:
The end of part 5 brings an end to my week in Sydney. Stay tuned for part 6 where I head off to Tasmania!