On our first morning in Sydney, we took a ferry to the Taronga Zoo. There, among many things, we saw this Koala eating some eucalyptus, and just as I was taking a picture, a little Australian girl very excitedly said: “Look, mum, it’s having its brekkie!”. It was quite endearing, and what started our collection of overheard Aussie expressions that we’d tirelessly repeat for the next two weeks.
Cute, right? Don’t eat your heart out yet, and save room for dessert! Just a few steps from the Koala, we saw a kangaroo that seemed to be a little bit on the fat side. Just kidding, we have no idea what magazine-cover kangaroos look like! But this one sure did have a pouch, and a whole lot in it: A joey!
I like the contrast of city vs “nature” (because it is, after all, a zoo), and how the giraffes are like nature’s skyscrapers. For a better idea of what the giraffes are looking at, check this one out:
Now, I also mentioned that we did other things in Sydney. Of course, the most outstanding one (and a must-do if you ever visit!) was to see the Opera House from as many angles as possible. We visited and took pictures at morning, at midday and at night. We also went inside it, on a fabulous tour. It was definitely interesting, and I’m going to probably read up more about all that went on with the construction of such a landmark.
We also enjoyed some of the other sights of Sydney. One day, we went on an adventure to find Cuban cigars, since they don’t have an embargo against a totally chill country. The trip was all on foot, and we just walked around like tourists with a tiny map and BIG eyes. Kelly and I like being in big cities, there’s so much to look at!
We tried to go shopping one day, and at the end of the day we were empty handed. Things were either too expensive or not of our taste, but the window shopping in itself was top-notch. We walked into the biggest department store cosmetics department that Kelly had ever seen, and walked out of it smelling like all sorts of samplers and testers. Good times!
Since we stayed at the Marriot at Circular Quay (pronounced just like “key”…), the district of The Rocks was really close to us. It was yet another place to discover by walking, getting lost, and checking things out. We walked so much that Kelly had a pain on her knees!
In Port Douglas, things considerably slowed down. Our lodging wasn’t a fancy hotel, no. Instead, it was a fancy “boutique apartment” with the soothing name of Shantara. This worked quite well for us, because we got to go to the Aussie supermarket for things to eat, and to the “bottle shop” for things to drink.
Port Douglas is a cute little town that has an incredible 4-mile long beach, locally owned shops (not a single chain restaurant, even!) and is much warmer being just 1500 miles north of Sydney (Australia is pretty damn huge, just in case you didn’t know). Just what we needed to slip away from the see-it-all tourist mode and into the chill-out vacation mode.
Taking advantage of my still slightly whacked out internal clock, I was able to wake up very early to take some pictures at sunrise. It was a great time, seeing the sun come up! The pictures I took don’t make it much justice, but they’re still something to look at, so here:
One of the selling points of Port Douglas is its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef. We had a day planned to go check it out, so in the morning we got aboard a nice sailboat and headed out to the Low Isles.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great and it was pretty much overcast most of the day. It even rained a little bit on us. Boooo!
That didn’t stop us, we went in anyway. Kelly lasted a good couple of minutes, and the sheer size of the Pacific Ocean stopped her from going any further. Cute.
I snorkeled my ass off, and probably spent a couple of hours coming and going, literally soaking in all the sights. I’d never snorkeled before, let alone in one of Earth’s snorkeling paradises.
We had a little bag so we could take Kelly’s small camera underwater, and I took hundreds of pictures, hoping that at least a few would turn out. Not a lot of them were keepers, but this one definitely was one:
Something else we both got to do once back on the mainland was eat something new. I ate kangaroo twice, and Kelly tried it for one dinner opportunity. The meat wasn’t bad, but nothing to write home about – specially for a spoiled meat eater from Argentina as myself. But hey, we get to say we’ve eaten it, so that in itself is pretty cool.
All in all, Australia is a country that I would love to go back to. There are so many things to see, and just not enough time! Kelly and I talked about going back in 5~10 years, renting “hiring” a car and driving cross-country… but then we realized that we’d have to drive on the other side of the road, and we quickly turned our attention to the beers in front of us.