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April 6, 2005

Australia is the place to be

    Mandy and I headed to the land down under on March 24th for a two-week vacation.  After the grueling (and that is not an understatement) 24-hour trip, we finally arrived in Sydney where our hotel was located.  We left on Thursday night and arrived in Sydney on Saturday morning (we're still trying to figure out what happened to Friday).  The weather was a little cloudy and rainy the first few days, but then later cleared up and was ideal the rest of the trip with daytime temperatures in the 70's and 80's.  It was the end of summer there so the Australians were looking forward to a cool-down!  Anyway, we hit the ground running (after a brief nap) and saw many wonderful sights from the Sydney Opera House to Kangaroos and Koala Bears.  We even climbed over the Sydney Harbor Bridge, where you see them shoot the fireworks on New Years Eve every year.  Sydney is truly a beautiful city with friendly and courteous people (the tourists are another story).  All in all we had a great time and now desire to return someday to see other Australian sites such as the outback, Ayers Rock, and the Great Barrier Reef.  Here are some of the photos we took along the way.
 

SYDNEY AREA

View of downtown Sydney from the Botanical Gardens. View of downtown Sydney from atop the Sydney Harbor Bridge Pylon. View of eastern Sydney from out our hotel window. Another view of the downtown skyline from the Botanical Gardens. Sydney Town Hall.  This was a popular train station for us. The ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park. (Australia-New Zealand Army Corp). View from Sydney Tower.  Our hotel is the middle of the three buildings on the left.
             
The central walk in Hyde Park directly across from our hotel. The central walk in Hyde Park at night. The cafe about a mile from our hotel where we had our $6 AUD breakfast each day. The area to the west of Sydney Harbor known as the "Rocks". A typical underground train station.  This one is the Museum Station by our hotel. Known as a bubbler. (pronounced "bubbla").  Otherwise known as a drinking fountain. One of the many ferries servicing the harbors around Sydney.
             
Scott enjoying the ferry ride to Sydney Olympic Park. The ferry approaching Darling Harbor. A view of North Sydney from the ferry. Standing at the edge of Sydney Harbor at the Botanical Gardens. A typical day off the shores of the Botanical Gardens. A view of the Sydney Opera House from one of the Sydney Harbor Bridge Pylons. The steps of the Sydney Opera House.  Look closely for the guy in the yellow shirt.
             
 
The Mrs Curl Traveling (Koala) Bear takes a stop at the Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Opera House at night. This is a copy of the ad depicting the opera we saw at the Sydney Opera House. Saint Mary's Catholic Cathedral in Sydney.  The Pope once visited there. The famous "Bronze Boar" at the Sydney Hospital.  It is good luck to rub its nose. View of Sydney Fire Department Station 1. Perfect day for an ice cream stop.
             
     
Scott having some "perfect" ice cream.  We think it was just frozen cool whip! Having dinner in the revolving restaurant atop the Sydney Tower. Taxis are as commonplace on the water as on the streets in Sydney! Zoom in to see the individual ceramic tiles on the roof of the Sydney Opera House.      
               
THE SYDNEY HARBOR BRIDGE
 
We had our photo taken near the top of the arch of the bridge. Another photo at the very top. A view of the bridge from down at the harbor. A view of the bridge from one of the bridge pylons. Another view from the pylon.  Notice the climbers on the right side. The bridge at night.  
               
SYDNEY WILDLIFE
A flock of Cockatoos eating at the Botanical Gardens. Thousands of Fruit Bats hang from the trees at the Botanical Gardens. A Platypus at the Sydney Aquarium.  He's hard to see, but he's there. One of the larger sharks we saw at the Sydney Aquarium. A school of sharks passes over head in the observation chamber at the Aquarium. "Charlie" the Cockatoo as nicknamed by the local native "Ivan" who we met. A Wallaby running around at the Featherdale Nature Park.
             
Scott pets a Wallaby at the nature park. Mandy pets a Wallaby at the nature park. We can't remember the name of these birds, but look at the face of the one on the left! A Laughing Kookaburra bird.  They sing the famous "jungle" tune you've probably heard. A Laughing Kookaburra we found in the wild at the Botanical Gardens. Some sort of large lizard in the wild at the Botanical Gardens.  Ivan tipped us off to it. Scott feeds a Kangaroo.  They seem to like ice cream cones!
             
 
A mother Kangaroo and some of her "Joeys" We originally thought this was a Wombat.  Wrong!  It's just a Possum. A White Ibis taking it easy in the Botanical Gardens. A Lorikeet in the wild at the Botanical Gardens overlooking the Sydney Opera House. Mandy finally getting to pet a real Koala Bear at the Featherdale Nature Park. A Koala Bear taking a nap.  They sleep 18-20 hours per day. This Koala Bear is awake and eating.  It is illegal for visitors to Australia to hold them.
             
           
This Koala Bear was awake and on display at the Sydney Aquarium.            

(Click on a thumbnail to enlarge photo)
 


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