Today was completely jam-packed to the brim with awesome sites to see. We started off at the Wild Life Sydney Zoo to finally see all of the various deadly and dangerous animals of Australia. There are SO many snakes here, it's crazy. We also saw kangaroos, wallabies, an echidna, a kookaburra, a cassowary, and a massive crocodile. After Wild Life Sydney we made our way next door to the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, but took a break to eat some scrumptious Golden Gaytimes on the pier. The first thing we saw at the aquarium was a couple of very active platypuses; it was so fun to see. We saw all sorts of teeny tiny fish and sting rays and then made our way down down down to the basement to walk through several various fish tunnels filled with sharks, gigantic fish, and fake ruins.
When we were done there we walked up the street to the famous Sydney Tower. After a very cheesy 4-D intro video, we rode an elevator to the observatory deck at the top. We made it right on time to see the sun set. Can I just say how amazing the sunsets are here? They always have a band of orange and then the blue blue sky until it is down. Back in Utah it seems like the whole sky is a changing color as the sun sets, but here it is just that band… so interesting. After we got our fill of that floor, we went to get our literal fill on a neighboring floor at the Sydney Tower Buffet. This floor was amazing, you get two hours to eat whatever you want, sit and enjoy the sight of Sydney out the window, AND—here's the kicker—the floor is slowly spinning while you eat. The windows and the center of the tower remain stationary, but the tables are all arranged on a giant, slowly-rotating carousel so you get a gradually changing view of the whole city. I loved that.
We had so many delicious and upscale foods: barbecue pork belly, lamb, kangaroo rump, sausages made from crocodile and buffalo (both were pretty meh, but now I can say I've had it), and all sorts of sides. The desserts were pretty grand as well: lemon curd tarts, pavlovas (another authentic Australian delight made from merengue, cream, and fruit), eclairs, ice creams (hokey pokey aka honeycomb), and a honey lavender pudding that definitely tasted like soap to me. Shaunee had intended to join us today, but again had too much work to do. We planned on buying her dinner at this fancy buffet to repay her hospitality and generosity, but since she couldn't come, we brought little plastic bags so we could bring the buffet to her. Tyler was a master at secretly sneaking our top picks of food into the baggies to take home. I just kept laughing because it looked like he was discreetly spooning food straight into his lap. We took the train home and presented Shaunee with all of the exotic food we had bagged for her—she was quite impressed.
This is a wallaby. It's basically just a smaller version of a kangaroo, but it's a different animal, like elk and deer. They are still adorable to watch hop though (even though this one isn't hopping).
This giant ostrich-like bird is a cassowary. That big plume on its head? Not a plume—it's hard like a big horn. They also have a reputation for being very mean... Scary.
After most of the reptiles, we came upon the kangaroo courtyard where this funny kangaroo would hop from one end of the window to the other. He had a repetitive routine for every person that rounded the corner. I could have watched him all day.
It was fun to finally see a kookaburra up close after hearing them all the time we've been in Australia. All the birds here are so loud—Tyler always just laughs when I mistake them for pedestrian crossing signals or some sort of alarm—but the kookaburra laugh is definitely the loudest of all. It sounds like a monkey; I still can't believe such a small bird can make such a big noise!
This is Wild Life Sydney's massive crocodile named Rex. The informative screen above his tank listed various facts about Rex and crocodiles in general. We read how, at Rex's old home on the crocodile farm, two attempts were made to give him a mate. Both ended in the deaths of the females. So he is here living as a bachelor for a while. Yikes.
The main Sydney Harbor is definitely beautiful, but the smaller Darling Harbor was also a lovely sight to see.
These pictures make me laugh so hard! I wanted to get a picture of a delicious Golden Gaytime, but I ended up making really weird faces in all of them. Before I had Tyler take the photo, I had him stand in so I could try to get the lighting right. Clearly the sun was in his eyes... His face cracks me up every time! Aren't we lovely?
These platypuses were full of energy! Notice how everything but the platypus is blurry in this shot. Tyler was giddy as a schoolboy and could have watched them frolic all day. Even though they were the aquarium's first exhibit, he said we could have turned around and walked right back out and it would have been worth it.
These little striped seahorse relatives were SO tiny; Tyler held up his finger for reference— such li'l guys!
This was probably the smallest tank in the aquarium, clearly staged so that these two fish would constantly be near each other for photos. Finding Nemo in real life!
This mural seemed confusing and out of place at this educational aquarium... Are these pirates joining these mermaids for a leisurely sea dance, or are they being lured to their deaths? Tyler's favorite part was the pirate on the left, who was at the bottom of the mural and clearly was expecting something else at the front end of that fish tail.
These glass tunnels were so neat, watching sharks and stingrays and manatees and fish of all sizes swim over and around you. We loved the huge fish by Tyler; we made sure to get the two of them together to convey how enormous it was!
We had a good view of Sydney Tower as we walked there from Darling Harbor.
Tyler snapped this quick shot of me sporting these 3-D glasses over my real glasses for the Sydney Tower's 4-D Cinema Experience. Let's just say the "experience" was about as high quality as the glasses that came with it. The sunset view that followed, though, was incredible.