Animal Encounters of the Australian Kind

Classic images of Australia include hopping kangaroos, sleeping koalas and laughing kookaburra.

Australia is full of unusual creatures.  To see some up close and personal we headed to the WIld Life Sydney Zoo in Darling Harbor to meet a new friend Elle.

The zoo runs a special “Breakfast with the Koalas” where the children touched some cuddly marsupials including Miss Elle and we toured the park without crowds.

We started the visit in the butterfly enclave. There were hundreds of lovely creatures fluttering around.

Aidan loved another insect-the Bull Ants in their mound.  He could have spent all day watching them.

This bilby was in the nocturnal exhibit.  Apparently he is in trouble of extinction. There is a movement down under to replace the Easter Bunny with the Easter Bilby to promote awareness of the poor creatures plight.  He looks like he could fill the part.

Then we encountered more savage beasts. This wombat looks so cute but apparently he is quite mischievous and can bite through the trainers Achilles if not distracted.

This unusual bird is a cassowary.  Again he appears harmless enough but his back claw can gut a man.

I like this snake picture I cannot remember the breed but considering Australia has seven of the ten world’s most poisonous snakes.  Chances are this is one of them.

I am always shocked how so many creatures in Australia can kill you-spider, snakes, jellyfish.  Even a kangaroo can kick you to death!    This saltwater crocodile is obviously intimidating.  Apparently near Darwin he killed so many dogs that he got put in a reserve.  When he ate two potential mates he was condemned to spend time in isolation in Sydney.

At one point he swam right up to the glass.  It was an amazing sight.

We had a great morning at the Wild Life Sydney Zoo. Elle looks like she could be part of the family and I think she is actually harmless.  Unfortunately she only eats eucalyptus which is hard to come by in Singapore so we had to say goodbye.

My Favorite Walk: Bondi to Coogie

One of the most absolutely stunning walks in Sydney if not the world is a 6 km stretch between Bondi and Coogie Beaches.  

The “uni” where I studied abroad is located a short distance from Coogie so I made this trek often.   Andy and I enjoyed exploring the beaches and rocky shore with the children.  We started the day at Bondi which is Sydney’s most famous  beach.

Surfing is very popular on Bondi.

Aidan however preferred to stack seaweed.

We headed south by the Bondi Iceberg Swim Club.

The walk is easy and well marked.  However, it is not stroller friendly.  I burned extra calories lugging Sydney up stairs.  The kids preferred to jump around on the structures meant for adults to exercise.

The walk passes several beaches.  Bronte Beach has lovely cafes.  We stopped for lunch and afterwards the children played in the shallow tide pools. We did not bring swim suits so the kids improvised as usual.

Waverley cemetery just passed Bronte is a fantastically beautiful and peaceful resting place.

We then were tired and needed rest ourselves so we sat for a bit and watched some Lawn Bowling in Clovelly.

The day was getting late so we never made it to Coogie on this trip.  During our visit in 2005, Andy and I explored the entire distance.  Every November for the past 15 years the city has done a ‘Sculpture By the Sea” exhibit along the stretch from Bondi to Tamarama Beach.   We were lucky enough to see it last time.  Here are a few photos from that year.

Sydney is an expensive city to tour.  However this walk is free but the views are priceless. I cannot wait return again.


If you could once again experience a six month period in your life what would it be?  For me the answer is July to December 1993.  It was then that I first applied for a passport and headed far from home for a semester in Australia.  During this brief time I young with no responsibilities in a beautiful foreign land .  I fell in love both with the city and my husband.   Sydney for me still is the most magical place on earth.

Andy and I returned to Sydney in 2005.  At that time I was afraid that the city would not live  up to all my expectations.  Fortunately the trip was fantastic and everything I could have hoped for and more.  We revisited many of our favorite locations and created new memories.  Here we are at the Lord Nelson Bar where we shared many beers including one at the end of our first date.

A few months ago, Andy’s work offered him the opportunity to take part in a week of meetings in Sydney.  It is only an eight-hour flight and three-hour time difference from Singapore so the children and I decided to go along for the ride.   This trip was a very different experience the last with two kids and Andy actually having to work, but still we all enjoyed our time.

The city is so beautiful it is hard not to continually be amazed.

The image below is a view taken from Sydney tower towards Randwick where the University of New South Wales is located.  Baxter College which is the dorm where we lived is just past the racecourse. 

This is from 2005. We never made it back to the dorm on our recent trip.

My life has come a long way from that carefree time in Australia.  However, I would never change a moment because I now have the opportunity to experience things again through even younger eyes.

My two-year old Sydney especially basked in the attention her name brought.  She loved her Opera house and is now ready to visit “Mommy”, Australia.  Maybe she did because I will always feel that a little piece of me will always remain there.