yani's big adventure - day six

room with a view the elephant whisperer
If Adelaide Zoo is a regular kind of zoo, then I have no idea what the hell Taronga Zoo is... it's like an animal city or something. We saw pretty much everything there was to see except the Kid's Zoo, and it took six and a half hours.

So worth it though!

Speaking of "worth it"... I swear that the money I spent in Melbourne at Crumpler (which seems soooo long ago now) was totally worth it! The camera wrist strap has been a godsend... it feels really natural carrying the camera like that, even with my 300mm lens on it, and it feels secure. And the strap pad has meant that the strap doesn't dig into my neck. Totally worth it.

But I digress.

It was a grey old day this morning... rain, cloud, a little nippy... but we pressed on regardless.

We'd decided to go down to Max Brenner for breakfast, and as we headed down in the lift, Ma's phone rang. Turned out to be the proper guy from reception, and he had two tradies there with him ready to come up and sort out my air-conditioning. I'm not going to try and hold the suspense, it's still not fixed, but supposedly they were in my room for a goodly while today and hopefully they should have it all fixed by tomorrow.

At this point, I've actually stopped caring... when the weather was really hot and muggy I was annoyed, but it's liveable at the moment... it would just be better for sleeping since I could close the windows. But I'll survive.

The other downside was that my hotel room was full of hot young tradies for most of the day and I wasn't here to see it.

it's in there somewhere... hard to see, I know, but he was chewing on a bone
Anyway, where was I... oh yes, breakfast.

Max Brenner possibly wasn't the best idea ever... but I was in the mood for warming, thick Italian hot chocolate. The only problem is they really don't have very much in the way of breakfast food other than croissants and banana bread, both of which come with melted chocolate for dipping.

I do very much enjoy their Italian hot chocolate though... it's so warm and thick and wrong.

After breakfast we detoured back to the hotel briefly to pick up our hats and so I could get my glasses (that's how grey and overcast it was this morning... I was outside without my sunglasses!)... and briefly ogle the tradies... before heading down to Wharf No 2 at Circular Quay to get our Zoo Passes.

Expensive, but given the day out we've had, reasonable.

grey opera house morning riding the ferry to taronga
I do think that the whole ferry system is an entirely civilised mode of public transportation... It's picturesque, it's a tourist drawcard, it's more efficient than going around the long way... and for the most part, the ferries are very pretty.

Given the weather this morning though, it was terribly nippy sitting outside on the upper deck. But it's much easier to take photos that way.

I've kind of been surprised how incredibly hazy it was/is/has been over the harbour today... not sure if that's a frequent thing or not.

Anyway, when we got over to Taronga, the nice boy on the dock told everyone that the Sky Safari wasn't open yet, but they could take the buses up to the top. Now given that Ma doesn't like heights overly, but I'd told her that we were taking the Sky Safari, I kind of expected her to cave in and elect for the bus. But no, she'd psyched herself up for the Sky Safari, and she wasn't getting to the zoo entrance by any other means.

Fair enough...

And just after all the other ferry passengers piled on the buses and the buses headed off, the nice man up at the Sky Safari station opened the door. So we were not only the FIRST visitors to ride it today, we were also the only ones from that particular ferry to ride it.

We felt a little bit like rockstars.

curious cat snake skin
Once we got in, we pretty much followed the big green dots everywhere... very helpful those big green dots. And so helpful for the zoo to not only have them on the printed map, but also on the ground so you could quite literally follow them.

Initially we had to dodge a few school groups, and because everyone is essentially going from the top of the hill to the bottom of the hill, there really isn't any getting away from certain people/groups... but fortunately children have short attention spans, so if you stick around in one spot for a while, they'll wander off.

I can't give a blow by blow of everything... not only would I forget a lot, but we were there for six and a half hours, and I don't want it to take that long to either read or write this post.

But I'll include some of the highlights and let some of the 426 photos I took today speak for themselves.

Obviously the Sky Safari was the first highlight...

shy bird peeking horns
Seeing the animals (most notably the giraffes) with the Sydney Opera House (or just the Sydney skyline in general) in the background was pretty special. It really is a spectacular setting... so green and lush and perfectly placed with perfect views.

baby leaf monkey acrobatic flyer
As was watching both the chimpanzees and gorillas with their babies... some of their movements are just so incredibly like us. Actually all the zoo babies were pretty special... from the tiger cubs to the elephant calves to the juvenile Leaf Monkeys who were determined to beat the snot out of each other.

It was great to see the peacock just wandering around the zoo showing off his plumage and screaming for a mate... actually the screaming wasn't so great, but the plumage was pretty special.

fur of the huntress pelican textures
This was another instance where I was really thankful for my telephoto lens. Like the last time we went to Adelaide Zoo, I was able to get right up close to certain animals and pick out features or textures or just get shots I wouldn't have otherwise been able to do. And it was the same here.

Another great thing about Taronga is how close you're able to get to a lot of the animals. Not just the birds in the aviaries, but other animals in the same enclosures or the lion and tiger exhibits, where you feel like you're up close and personal (provided the animals in question weren't sleeping in the grass like the lions were the first time we went past).

peacock display curious blue (seal)
The other great "up close" experience was, oddly, in the gift shop down at the exit... there's a whole wall that's actually a seal tank... with the cutest Australian sea-lion who was playing and sitting on the other side of the glass staring out at everyone. I'm still not sure who exactly was being entertained by who.

As with any zoo there were various enclosures where there wasn't a damn thing to be seen... either because the animal in question was no longer in that enclosure, or because they didn't feel like being somewhere you could see them.

sunset crests golden fins
The other major highlight... and one of the top moments of the day was the QBE Free Flight Bird Show... we missed the noon one because we were at the other end of the zoo at the time, but we made sure we were in position for the 3pm show... and I am SO glad we were.

It's a breathtakingly amazing show... from the view out over the harbour to the birds flying over the crowd, and just the fact that pretty much all of the birds hit their marks when called upon. Which doesn't sound like much, but just blew me away.

little hunter tiger call
If you don't see any of the other shows/talks at Taronga (the only other one we saw was the Asian Elephant Keeper Talk, and that was only because it started right after we finished lunch), see the Bird Show!

It felt like we'd actually been at the zoo forever by the time we were heading out to catch the ferry... in fact the weather felt like a totally different day after the cloud disappeared around lunchtime.

Once we made it back to Circular Quay, it was good to come back here for a while and chill out.... even without any actual air-conditioning in my room.

Given that once again while we were here Sydney was getting it's freak on in the wake of the Melbourne Cup (which I didn't even think about all day to be honest... and I still have no idea who won) we decided against going very far for dinner and instead we went back to Wagamama, this time for a "proper" meal.

But we couldn't resist getting another serve of both Tori Kara Age and edamame as an opener before we both got a big bowl of ramen... chicken for me, moyashi soba for Ma.

I really enjoyed my chicken ramen... I know this is going to sound wanky, but I found myself concentrating on it as I ate it... the broth, the noodles, the chicken, and I think it made it taste even better. I can't really explain it... suffice to say, I had a moment with my ramen.

night ferry jewelled plumage
After dinner, we grabbed our jackets and wandered down to The Rocks... I was having a craving for a little bit of chocolate, so we went to Guylian and bought a few of their "famous composer/opera" themed chocolates before heading back to the hotel.

A very long day... but a great one.

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Tom said...

Glad the bird show is still good, you're right it doesn't sound like much but it was amazing. Haven't seen it for 5-6 yrs though, I must go back!

yani said...

It really is spectacular, I'm so glad you suggested it :) ... I'm curious though as to whether the noon show is different to the 3pm show. Or whether the show varies depending on what birds are in a good mood that day.


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