Mary’s Australian Adventure, Part 2

When last I blogged, we had just visited the aquarium in Sydney.

The Australian Continent

We started the trip in Sydney, but next we're off to Canberra.

After that, we hopped a ferry taxi over to the area by the opera house.  Arriving by water definitely gives you that feeling that a choir has begun singing around you when you first see the opera house!  Or, at the very least, it reminds you of that great scene in Finding Nemo (which I watched on the flight in – appropriate!).  We took advantage of the nice weather and explored the opera house for a bit.  What a sight!

Later, we went to afternoon tea and then planned to go to the botanical gardens – except that Mother Nature threw a curve ball and made it rain.  Again.  With this rain, however, came rainbows – two of them!  It wasn’t just a small part of a rainbow either, it was a full arched rainbow over Sydney and you could see both ends.  Amazing!  You probably couldn’t have written it better.

When it started to clear up (the rains don’t last too long this time of year – thankfully!), we explored the gardens, but since it was dusk, it meant one thing:

BATS.

Actually let me rephrase that.  They aren’t bats called bats here, they are called Flying Foxes.  Why?

Um, it’s because they are HUGE!  They are seriously the size of a cat, if not a small fox and they all (there are too many to count) hang out (no pun intended) in the big trees of the botanical garden.  At dusk, they wake up (hundreds of them!) and fly right over your head.

Australian flying fox

I didn't take this picture (too dark!), but this image from the web should give you a good idea of how crazy these flying foxes look when they're airborne!

One word comes to mind: EW!

(I know, I know – I’m a biologist.  I like wildlife.  I do.  But I really prefer that wildlife of that size not fly over my head.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.)

After watching the bats take off, we walked around the harbor one more time to see the opera house at night.  So beautiful!

Sunday was our last full day in Sydney, which brought some morning rain.  (I know, everyone in Michigan had 85 and sunny and I got rain – but it has been clearing up and I can’t complain.  I’m in Australia!)

We walked the length of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, explored some of the oldest pubs in Sydney, and went to the Rocks Market, which is a really neat art market that only happens on weekends.  Some highlights were corn on a stick (freshly roasted for street food) and homemade licorice in every flavor you can think of.  Continuing with my food theme, we had dinner on the harbor again, which was interrupted (in the best way) by fireworks.  How awesome is that on our first and last nights in Sydney?

Our last morning in Sydney was nice.  No rain.  We spent the morning walking through the fish market – an interesting sight where we ran into some huge pelicans there trying to scam a free meal.  We then went to see the botanical gardens in the day time and get a view of the opera house one last time.  The gardens were amazing!

This time the bats were mostly sleeping in the trees, but we did run into a large party of cockatoos.  (Yes – picture a lot of big, white, parrot-type birds.)  They are wild here and there were about 30 in this one small area of the garden.  I made “friends” with one, who decided my tennis shoe looked tasty.  He perched himself on my foot and, at one time I didn’t know if he was stuck in my shoe or not – pretty funny!

Finally, I decided he should go back to foraging, since his big pointy beak liked my shoe a bit too much.  After one last look at Sydney Harbor, we packed in the car and headed out on the 3-4 hour trek to Canberra, which is where my brother lives.  More from there in my next blog.  🙂

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