Sunday, 4 September 2011

Oz: Around Sydney

The Royal Botanic Gardens is a short walk from the city centre and is a great place to see some local birds and trees, not to mention being a beautiful setting for photos .  It reportedly has a million specimens on site.  The Tropical Centre within the gardens is worth a visit for its collection of exotic Australian plants. It reminded me very much of the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Take a look at this tree below and see how many white ibis you can see.

A closer look at the big bird

This photo of the kookaburra perching on a pine tree would make a good Christmas card.

An unusual sight for us - bats flying around in the day time and hanging from the tree.

Me, Jane!  Not!  We were lucky to bump into a video shoot for this Australian singer "Ashlea" who would soon be making her North American debut.  But this really gives you an idea of how lush parts of the garden could be.

It is obvious why this plant is called "Beehive Ginger".  You can see it in the Tropic Centre (below).

Sydney sits on a submerged coastline so it is surrounded by many harbours and inlets.  One of the best ways to see the Sydney skyline is to take the ferry to Taronga Zoo or to Manley.  You will be able to see the Sydney Opera House from all angles and then look back across the waters at Sydney from the Zoo, which sits atop a hill.

I still have fond memories of my first koala bear toy.  This is like a childhood dream come true - my first sighting of a real live koala.  A special area was set up to allow people to hold the koala in their arms for a photo, for a price of course.

The large Cassowary, one of the last remaining endemic flightless birds on the continent -

Perky little fella that might be some kind of turtle dove -

And of course, the kangaroo

This peacock strutted back and forth in front of the mirrored window showing off - maybe he thought he was seeing another bird in the mirror!

The ferry to Manley will take you under the Harbour Bridge so you get a harbour tour as well as a coastline tour in addition to visiting the bustling seaside town.  Watching the surf seems to be a favoured pastime as all the beachside restaurants were full when we arrived in late afternoon.

We ended up in a quiet Thai restaurant overlooking the beach away from the crowds.  Great food too!

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