Rachel Down Under!

Staycation

Posted in Australia, Sydney by rssmith218 on October 20, 2010

Guess who’s in Sydney for the weekend? That’s right, Fulbright Scholars Alice and Lindsey came to visit from Melbourne and Brisbane, respectively.

Hello, girls!

So what did we get up to over the weekend?

Aisha and I developed a world-class itinerary that sought to condense our past two months of Sydney sight-seeing into four fun-filled and admittedly action-packed days. No trip to Sydney would be complete without a visit to the Opera House (we actually went to an orchestra concert there; I can’t imagine seeing Rite of Spring in a more beautiful location), the Botanic Gardens (where we experienced a ridiculous and surprisingly racist free guided tour), Manly, the Rocks, and Watson’s Bay.

Aisha and I also managed to sneak in a couple of new things as well, which I will recount here.

1. Wildlife World/Aquarium

With a cheesy name like Wildlife World, my expectations were initially pretty low for this encounter with “interactive world-class displays of all-Aussie animals set in the heart of Sydney.” However, these exhibits were exceedingly well done, and I was excited to finally see some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife. I wish I could post pictures of all of the animals I saw, but here are some of my favorites.

First, the Lizards of Oz! Good pun, huh?

(photo credit to Aisha)

Wait, that’s not a lizard, is it?

Nope. Its a crocodile. A GIANT crocodile. Meet Rex, who is “5 meters  of trouble ” according to his facebook profile. He may look slow and even serene in this picture, but Rex is a bit of a nasty croc. In addition to listing “rage” and “tourists” as his main interests on facebook, according to the Wildlife World website, Rex was captured when “his taste for local pet dogs drew him too close” to human populations. But Rex doesn’t just have a taste for pet dogs and tourists; he is currently in isolation because he apparently ate two of his previous co-habitating crocs. Definitely don’t want to mess with Rex. He’ll eat you.

We move on to some friendly marsupials. These roos are just waking up from a nap!

And this guy is yawning, too. Wait, is this a wallaby or a pademelon?

You guessed it- wallaby!

And now, other than the Kookaburra,

we meet Australia’s most well-loved species- the koala! So cute!

Most of these koalas were pretty lazy, as you can see here:

But some of them were pretty active, at least for a bit:

Just one more glimpse of Wildlife World before we move onto the aquarium. Cassowary time! As the third-largest, the second-heaviest, and the most dangerous bird in the world, the cassowary can disembowel you in one quick swipe of its 3-pronged “stiletto-like” claw. Yikes.

(photo credit to aisha)

And finally on to the aquarium. A couple of quick highlights:

You never know what you’re going to find in these underwater tunnels…

Fulbrighters….

….rays…

…and DUGONGS, Australia’s mermaid-esque equivalent to a manatee. I had never heard of a dugong before, but this salad-loving creature quickly found a place in my heart.

One other favorite from the aquarium: Cuttlefish or Cuddlefish? haha, photo/pun credit to Aisha

2. Sydney Tower

A quick visit to Sydney’s tallest free-standing building and the second-tallest observation tower in the Southern hemisphere. Looks cool, doesn’t it?

We enjoyed Oz-Trek, an odd virtual-reality ride/tour of “Australia”, before ascending to the top of the tower.

Do we look as enthused as these tourists?

From the top, we enjoyed 360 degree views of Sydney. We were lucky to have a clear, sunny day and we were able to see for miles!

It’s amazing how much I was able to recognize from up here. For example, in the following view alone, I can see my home base in Bondi (blue), the Randwick Racetrack (yellow), my university (green), and my netball field (pink). I am becoming a true Sydney-ite!

Another great view from the top.

What a fun, but exhausting weekend. It wasn’t all action, as you can see below, but I definitely feel like I could use an extended nap!

Off to catch up on my sleep!

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4 Responses

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  1. Lenore said, on October 20, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Oh no! I’m going to have nightmares about that Rex and the cassowary – there sure are some weird animals there!

    I wanna see some of those critters!

  2. Gaurav Katta said, on October 20, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    There was a Pokemon called Dewgong way back in the original release of the games ( http://www.ceder.net/pc/character/dewgong.png ). Can’t believe that that was an actual animal; I just assumed Nintendo made it up. How interesting.

  3. Lisa said, on October 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Awww, look at all the cute and non-poisonous animals Australia has to offer. Glad you’re having fun, and I approve of the puns.

  4. Tricia said, on October 29, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Loving your commentary & pictures…So happy for you to get to see these amazing sites and critters.


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