Chinese Gardens and Darling Harbour

Managed to sleep a bit later the next morning (until about 6.00), and had breakfast at the hotel . . . urgh. Not sure if the food on the buffet was supposed to be some sort of traditional Australian fare, but it was awful. I’m pretty sure most of it came out of cans, and it was food that I’m not used to thinking of as breakfast – spaghetti, baked beans and canned tomatoes. There was also scrambled eggs (really runny and yucky), but fortunately also bacon (which was good), plus yoghurt and fruit cups and some apple tart thingies that were yummy. So, we were able to find things to eat, but were in general wholly unimpressed. This was even worse than the “traditional English breakfast” that seems to be ubiquitous at hotels in the U.K.

Then, out into the city. Our first real stop: The Australian Museum. Today, we timed our start so we arrived right when the Australian Museum was opening, and headed straight towards the dinosaur exhibit.

 

The dinosaur exhibit was nicely presented, but a bit light on actual dinosaurs. It was interesting, though, to see some ancient marsupial fossils.

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An Allosaur and Stegosaur

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Diprotodon opatum – a large herbivorous marsupial from the Pleistocene, 50,000 years ago. This one is native to Australia.

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Paracyclotosaurus Davidi – a Triassic amphibian found in Sydney (220 million years old)

When we were finished wandering around the museum, it was time for us to head for our next destination: the Chinese Garden of Friendship. We walked the few blocks down Liverpool to the gardens, which weren’t quite what I was expecting. I’d hoped for something a bit more natural (like the RBG), but instead found a small but very pretty series of gardens and Chinese pagodas and things.

The highlight of that visit was having a chance to dress up in Imperial Chinese clothing and take a stroll through the gardens in style.

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Afterward the garden, we walked the short distance to Darling Harbour, where we had lunch and then decided to take a water taxi mini-harbor tour to – you guessed it – the Opera House. We saw Silver Gulls splashing about in a reflecting pool in the big promenade between the gardens and the harbor, and in the harbor itself we saw a family of Pacific black ducks, and an honest-to-goodness Australian jellyfish (a moon jelly, too, just like in Finding Nemo).

Silver Gull	 	Larus novaehollandiae

pacific black duck anas superciliosa

It was great seeing the harbour by boat . . . here’s a view looking back at Darling Harbour from the water taxi.

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Of course, Connor wanted to climb all the steps at the Opera House again. I took this opportunity to release a couple of BookCrossing books at the Opera House, and then we headed back into the Botanic Gardens, walking all the way around the cove toward Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair.

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This is Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair – the spot where Mrs. M, wife of one of Sydney’s governors, used to stop on her morning walks. Easy to see why she would walk here – the view of the harbour was gorgeous (although there were rather a lot of tourists, all taking pictures, just like we were). The weather had turned really beautiful, as well – sunny, and the water and sky were blue. Very lovely.

I heard on the bus tour (or somewhere, anyway) that when a woman sits in the seat, she’s supposed to make a wish. So, I did.

We took our time walking back through the gardens, stopping to watch birds and bats. Saw lots more cockatoos, and also managed to get some good photos of the gorgeous Rainbow Lorikeets.

 

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It was starting to get dark by the time we left the park, and we walked a bit through the Domain, ending up in Wolloomooloo. After much begging by Connor, we decided that we’d have dinner at Hard Rock Cafe again (what the heck, it was close to the hotel, and we knew how to get there). After dinner, I went back to Kinko’s for a quick check of e-mail, and then back to the room and to bed. I was feeling sad about leaving Sydney – I’d really enjoyed the city, and would have loved to spend more time and see more of it. But we were off the next day on new adventures. 😀

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