Monday, August 3, 2015

The Land Down Under: Sydney

T-minus 20 hours and counting...
The longest plane ride of my life (thus far) had commenced.  Porter had a business conference in Sydney and I wanted to go to.  So we turned it into a 2 week adventure: week one was Australia, and week two was New Zealand.  We flew Qantas.  They were great, but their veggie meals were not.  I think was was served rice at all three meals with a variety of weird gravy and veggies on each dish. 

We had a quick stop-over in Dubai.  It's sort of a layover.  Basically, they shoo everyone off, clean the plane, refuel, and switch crews while we all go shop for duty free items and Coconut Ritter Sports (Dubai and Zermatt are the only places I've found these little treasures).  Then we all got back on board for the long haul to Australia.

This is us after 24+ hours of travel at 5 am in the Sydney airport, but hey at least we were still smiling!  We actually arrived early (4:15 am) but had to do circles because the airport doesn't open until 5 am.
We got to our hotel and had a super early check in, which was so nice.  Porter was able to shower and iron his clothes before he ran off to a meeting at 9 am.  I hung out for a bit, then decided I needed to go out and walk the city or else I was going to sleep all day long.  I walked all over the place!  But finally ended up at this amazing vista where you could see the whole downtown section of the city. 

Sydney is Beautiful!!!

From this point I could also see the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge.  I skyped my mom and grandparents from here.  It was Monday morning for me and Sunday afternoon for them.  I was calling them from the future, which basically makes me somewhat of a Time Lord, right?

Did you know that Cockatoos are wild in Australia?  I didn't.  They were all over the park, squawking and flying around doing their cockatoo thing.  I was mesmerized and watched them for a while.

I couldn't get over how pretty it was.

The architecture was really fun too. 

This is from my Fitbit app, I walked almost 10 miles around that city.

When Porter was done with work I took him back down to my favorite place so he could see the city.  We got an amazing surprise.  The sky was a rainbow of fire.  I was in heaven!!!

We also walked along the water by the Harbor Bridge.  I snagged a photo while a seagull was working the camera.

And thus ended our first day.  I was already exhausted and we had 2 weeks left....

Next morning Porter had a couple hours, so we jumped on a Ferry and headed out to Taronga Zoo.  This is a view of the city leaving the dock.

Taronga was really fun.  We got to see a lot of Australia's animals: Koalas, Kangaroos, Emus, platypus, Wombats, ect.  I even had a little moment in the nocturnal exhibit with a little echidna.

The little joey was adorable.

These Himalayan Tahrs were up so high, I was surprised they didn't fall when they bounced around up there.

The City Hall building.

While Porter was at a conference, I jumped on a boat and went whale watching.  The humpback whales were migrating, which made for a great day out.  We had over 50 sightings!  It was really cold at sea, so I had 3 layers of various coats on.  I was right out on the bow of the boat, so everything was great (I tend to get motion sickness at sea.)  But then the captain said we all had to come in so the boat could speed up and head to another pod of whales.  So I came in.  When the boat sped up I got so sick!  But then there were whales.  I felt awful, but I wasn't going to miss seeing these big guys.  So I grabbed a sick bag and ran.  I was puking my guts out (sorry, TMI), but then I would look up and be like "Hey, a whale!" Then puck again. That commenced for a few minutes.  And finally, magically, I felt really good.  The rest of the afternoon was fantastic.  

Two whales headed for a deep dive.

Two more whales arching their backs in a dive.

This is a view of the city from the ocean on our way out to sea.

On our way back in we went a different way and swung by Luna Park, which is an old theme park from the 1930's.  It's cool, colorful, and mildly creepy all at the same time.

Porter took us to a fun restaurant call "The Rook" that night.  They were famous for their burgers and truffle fries.  Too bad I had gotten horribly ill on the boat and didn't really have an appetite.  Too bad for me that is, not Porter, he got double truffle fries.  I also ordered this fun Alice in Wonderland themed drink that changed color when you poured it into your glass.  It was excellent!

The next day I headed to the Aquarium.  They had all sorts of amazing coral and sea life.

This big dude is Pig, one of the resident Dugongs.  Apparently there are only 5 captive in the world and 2 are at this aquarium.  Both animals had been released into the wild multiple times, but they didn't do well so that is why they are here.  They are related to elephants.   You can read more about them here.  I loved learning about them.

On our last day in the city, we headed to Bondi Beach.  I watch Bondi Vet on the telly and wanted to see where it all goes down.  It was gorgeous!  Porter and I have also decided that we want to learn to surf from watching everyone doing it along the beach.

We were super excited to find legit tacos at a pub on the beach.

This is a quick little video I threw together of some spots we visited in Sydney.

Farewell Sydney, I'm pretty sure you and London are now tied for my favorite city in the entire world.

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