Rachel Down Under!


Posted in Australia, Sydney by rssmith218 on January 4, 2011

Christmas may have finished last Saturday, but the generous Aussie holiday break continues on.  Here are a couple of highlights from the past week:

1. Trip to Cronulla to visit Heather and Jesse

One of Sydney’s “best kept secrets,” Cronulla is a lovely beachside suburb in southern Sydney. Located within “the Shire”, a collection of southern suburbs where “everyone knows everyone”, according to my labmate (and Shire native) Katelyn, Cronulla is a great escape from the bustling Sydney CBD.

We spent most of the day exploring Royal National Park, the world’s second-oldest national park (next to Yellowstone!), and we enjoyed two glorious (and extremely hilly hikes) through this mini-wilderness.

Hey there Heather and Jesse!

Check out this waterfall that empties directly into the ocean…

And now we head down to the beach…

…where we find hundreds of blue-bottles!

Blue-bottles littered the beach, almost on the scale of the below photo, taken for the Sydney Morning Herald in 2007. Blue bottles are often confused for jellyfish, but they are actually hydrozoans known as siphonophores. They are in the same genus as the Portugese Man-of-War, although the blue bottle sting is not quite as dangerous or painful as that of the Man-of-War.

Our day of hiking was followed by a delicious dinner of Macaroni and Cheese Soufflé- yum! Thanks Jesse!

2. Bondi Beach Bumming

Alice was in town for New Years, so of course we headed to the beach! We enjoyed a sunny day at the Bondi soaking up the sun and enjoying the clear, cold waves. Many people had the same idea…look at these crowds!

3. Happy New Year!

I welcomed in 2011 with a relaxed afternoon picnic, which, in addition to being delicious, ensured us a great a spot from which to view the famous Sydney NYE fireworks.

Here’s the view from our picnic spot…pretty good, eh?

And now, enjoying our picnic! Don’t forget to put on sunscreen!

Wait, who doesn’t belong in the above picture? That’s right, Thomas is here for a visit!

And what a good day to come into town- Thomas got to enjoy the Sydney Fireworks with us….and you can too!

4. Sydney Explorations with Thomas

Thomas has gotten a full tour of Sydney these past couple of days, despite fighting a furious case of jetlag…

Sleepy, much?

From the ANZAC War Memorial in Hyde Park…

…to the Opera House and the Botanic Gardens…

…to the Manly Coastal Walk…

…we have seen a great deal of the city over the past few days. We’ve even thrown in a couple of new things, including

a) the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, home to some 50,000 convicts (over the course of 29 years) that worked to build Sydney in the early 1800s.

The history of these barracks is well known thanks to the heaps of rats that hoarded thousands of items in the “ratacombs,” or rat nests,  beneath the Barrack’s floorboards.

Check out these ratacombs!

Apparently the museum curators were extremely thankful for these rats….all of the displays were rat-themed!

and b) We tried kangaroo for the first time!

Kangaroo Pizza!

It has been a great couple of days in Sydney. I’m looking forward to future adventures while Thomas is in town!


One Response

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  1. Lenore said, on January 5, 2011 at 6:18 am

    The thought of Rachel Smith eating kangaroo pizza is mind numbing!
    Does it taste like chicken?

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