Rachel Down Under!

I do believe it’s true

Posted in Australia, Sydney by rssmith218 on January 14, 2011

This is a zoo….

…and this is a zoo with a view!

Over the weekend, Thomas and I made our way to Taronga Zoo, a Sydney landmark since 1916. The word Taronga means, beautiful view, and you can see that it lives up to its name. We spent the day exploring the Australian Outback, the Great Southern Oceans, Wild Asia, and even the African Waterhole, as you can see by these giraffes.

We watched penguins dive-bomb underwater,

we monkey-ed around a bit,

and even saw elephant moms teaching their babies how to throw trees!

Up until 1967, elephant rides were one of the zoo’s main attractions. The lovable elephant, Jesse, who was brought to Taronga from Moore Park Zoo in 1916, gave rides to up to 10 people at a time, as you can see below.

(photo taken from Taronga Zoo display)

With the zoo’s current focus on education and conservation (rather than entertainment!), visitors can no longer ride elephants at Taronga Zoo…..or can they?

Our day at the zoo was followed by an evening spent with Jose Gonzalez, one of my favorite guitarists. He was performing in Sydney with his band, Junip, which you can listen to here on NPR. Great concert!

A trip to Sydney isn’t complete without a visit to the Blue Mountains, so Thomas and I made our way north to the mountains on a dreary and rainy Sunday morning.

The last time I visited the Blue Mountains, I was pumped to see this iconic view of the 3 sisters.

However, on Sunday, Thomas and I only had this view, taken from the same vantage point….3 sisters, where are you?

Luckily, as the day went on, the clouds began to clear, and by the end of our hike, we were enjoying a bright sunny day!

Clearing up…..view from one of the sisters!


We took a lovely hike through the Leura Forest and Federal Pass; in addition to the views, we enjoyed the countless waterfalls,

giant rocks,

innumerable stairs,

and of course, the giant leech that attached itself to my ankle! Can you spot it in this picture?

We ended our day with a huge ice cream sundae….

…and then with homemade sushi with my housemates back in Sydney! Yum! Thanks Pablo (Paolo?), Ziggy, and Aude for a great dinner!

…sushi prep…

What a feast!

Another great weekend comes to an end, and I am already looking forward to next weekend’s adventures!


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