The first week I arrived in Australia I visited Sydney (Day 8) and purchased a multi-pass that included 5 attractions around the Sydney area.  There was so much to see that first day that I only made it to one of the attractions (Sydney Tower) so I planned to return later in my trip.  Well, today was that day…..

I got up, ate breakfast, took a shower, got ready and caught the 10:05 bus near Rick’s house. After transferring to another bus in Mona Vale I was on my way to Sydney.

The skies were blue and the weather was perfect as the bus made its 55 minute track from Mona Vale to Wynyard station in CBD Sydney.  Once I arrived I made my way to the Darling Habour (Day 10 post) area and my first stop the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium where I saw many of the aquatic life native to Australia including: sharks, rays, jellies, clown fish, penguins and Dugongs.  I really liked the Dugongs.  They are like Manatee’s only smaller and unfortunately, like Manatee’s are also endangered. πŸ™

One thing I saw at the aquarium both surprised and saddened me.  However, after the information I saw at the Royal Albatross Center in Dunedin (Day 39 post) I probably should not have been surprised by this….

After the aquarium I grabbed some lunch at a nice outdoor restaurant in Darling Harbour with a great view of the city and the harbour…..

After lunch I walked around the harbour a little before heading to my next destination Wild Life Sydney Zoo.
The zoo, like the aquarium, had many animals native to Australia including kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, emus, ekidnas, koalas, flying foxes (bats), reptiles and more.  If you’ve followed the blogs or FB posts you know that I’ve seen all of these in the wild over the past 2 months but it was pretty cool to get the opportunity to see some of them close up….like the koalas…..

I finished the zoo tour and somewhat hesitantly headed to my next and attraction for the day.  I say hesitantly because, although I’ve had opportunities go to these places before it never seemed like a place I would want like or that I had any desire to do.  However, it was included in the package I purchased (at no additional cost) and it was right beside the Wild Life zoo so I figured I would take a few minutes and walk through Madame Tussauds Sydney.  
If you’re not familiar with a Madame Tussauds they have wax figures of famous people.  Some are just ok but some are quite lifelike…..

And of course, like everyone who has ever gone to one of these I had to snap a few selfies of me and “friends” :-)….. 

Ok, so the last one needs a little explanation….you may or may not be familiar with the infamous Johnny Depp Australian dog controversy (I wasn’t until I came here).  Last year while he was in Australia filming the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean, he apparently “smuggled” his 2 toy terriers, Pistol and Boo, into Australia illegally (WebWeb2).  As a “closed” (isolated) country Australia has some pretty strict laws about plants and animals coming into the country and they require them to be quarantined for (I believe) 3-4 months.  Johnny Depp brought the dogs into the country without reporting them and they were spotted in the house where he was living.  The story went global when Australia’s agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce threatened to euthanise Pistol and Boo unless they were taken out of the country (oh my).  In the end a private jet was chattered and the dogs were flown, first class of course, safely back to the US πŸ™‚ but it left some lingering animosity toward Johnny Depp for some Australians. πŸ™‚
So as you can tell from the pictures I actually had a pretty good time in Madame Tussauds. It would be a fun place to go with some family or friends.  So I waved goodbye I left my new friends behind πŸ™‚ and headed to my last destination for the day…..The Chinese Garden of Friendship.
The Chinese Garden of Friendship (GoogleWebWikiImages) is a small walled park near Darling Harbour that is modeled on the typical private gardens of the Ming Dynasty.  It features beautifully created pavilions, exotic plants, ponds, waterfalls and a traditional Chinese teahouse.  It’s kind of like a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city and there are many places to sit and relax.  I enjoyed it quite a bit and I know several of my family and friends who would really enjoy this place as well….

My final plan for the day was to meet two US friends who relocated to Australia 1.5 years ago for work. 
I met Dennis and Susan York several years ago through my good friend and band mate Chris Bird ( some of you probably remember Susan and Dennis from Common Bond shows and events). Chris and Dennis both work for Shoretel and Dennis got the opportunity a couple of years ago to do an assignment in Australia and jumped at it (I don’t blame him).  They live just outside of Sydney in a place called Mosman (GoogleImages).  Mosman just happens to be on the main bus line from Sydney to Mona Vale so it was pretty easy to coordinate.  We met and had a nice dinner at place called Radio Cairo (GoogleWeb, loved this restaurant) and had a great time and a great conversation.  Looking forward to seeing them again before I leave…..
After dinner I grabbed the L90 bus and headed home to Mona Vale after another great day in Oz.
Where Am I

5 thoughts on “Day 50 – Sharks, Koalas and Gandhi….Gandhi?

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