P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney

Bondi

Made my final interstate venture to New South Wales and after 11 months managed to reunite with a familiar face at beautiful Bondi Beach.  How else does one begin a reunion?  With brews on the beach, of course.  As the ultimate surfer’s paradise, beach goers flock to Bondi’s shores to catch some rays, hike the cliffside, and shred the gnar.

Bondi Beach is also home to a Buvarian Bier Cafe.  A quaint pub equipped with a great happy hour, good draughts, and a foosball table (on which I kicked Joe’s behind 10-0*).

Manly

A 30-minute ferry ride from Sydney’s Circular Quay will take you to Manly Beach, known amongst surfers for its waves.  From its sandy shores, one can watch townies running the boardwalk, pros and amateurs taking to the waves, and school-aged students training for the Surf Life Saving Club.

Also located in Manly is a marine sanctuary, home to stingers, little penguins, and reef sharks.  The sanctuary works to rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured marine animals found within Sydney Harbour and surrounding waters.

Darling Harbor

Sydney CBD is just that–a central business district.  Fully equipped with tall buildings, banks, and bustling businessmen.  The highlight of venturing into the city was walking up the steps to the Sydney Opera House (because let’s be honest:  Did you really go to Australia if you didn’t visit the Opera House?).

While Darling Harbour houses the zoo and aquarium and I was ecstatic to see dugongs and a crocodile stalk a lorikeet, Sydney just did not do it for me.  A day is more than enough time to take in the numerous “parks” (large grass patches amongst the concrete), the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

NSW State Lib

Would I be me if I didn’t take the time to snoop around the nearest library?**  In regards to style the New South Wales State Library differed drastically from those of Victoria and Queensland, but it did not fail in terms of education.  Aside from the many shelves of books, Australian State Libraries have exhibits that offer an intimate view into Australia’s past–this year specifically from the eyes of military personnel because 2015 was the ANZAC centenary.

While I would have preferred to spend all four days in NSW basking in the sun on Bondi Beach, I am grateful nonetheless to have had the opportunity to visit such an iconic city.

xo

*While yes, I am undefeated in foosball, Joe and I found a billiard table in a Sydney bar and he beat me 3-0.  Still sulking, but a rematch has been scheduled.

**Shoutout to Joe for being a good sport and entertaining this passion of mine.

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Wallabies and Kangaroos and Penguins, Oh My!

Yesterday morning I began my journey from St. Paul’s Cathedral to Phillip Island, home of the fairy (or little) penguins.  A fitting spot to celebrate World Penguin Day, I’d say.

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The first  stop on the map was Maru Koala and Wildlife Park.  There I was able to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s native wildlife, including:  koalas, wallabies, dingoes, kookaburras, emus, and, you guessed it, kangaroos!  Nothing can quite describe the funny sensation of a wallaby or kangaroo licking bits of dried food out of your palm, while their tiny paws (and rather large claws) grasp your hand or wrist.

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On our way to Pyramid Rock, we stopped for a quick stroll at Woolamai Beach.  This particular beach is famous as a surfer’s paradise.  Considering the dreary weather, the waves were quite large and I can see how it has withstood its name.  Once at our intended overlook, I walked to the end of the bridge to peer out at a pyramid-shaped rock, Pyramid Rock (clever name, eh?).  Had the weather been more enjoyable–less wind, more sun–I would have gladly spent longer trolling around the cliffside, exploring the area, but onto the next we went…

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The little penguin colony of Phillip Island is the last and largest penguin colony on the island.  Due to this fact, researchers have taken many measures to protect and conserve the population and its habitat.  One way is by implementing weighing stations.  When the little penguins return from hunting at sea, they waddle their way up the cliffside via a maze of well-engraved pathways.  Researchers have implanted a man-made barrier to funnel the penguins into a single-file line as they cross over a solar-powered scale.  This data has been collected over the past 30 to 40 years and is used to monitor the sustainability of the colony.11

Finally at the Penguin Parade visitor centre, the other viewers and I worked our way to the viewing theater positioned on the beach.  Seated quietly, holding our breath, listening for the calls of the little penguins, we waited.  At 6:00 PM, after the sun had set, the first rookery arrived at the beach.  From the water, they waddled across the sand and up the cliffside to their burrows.  Standing at only 33 cm (1.08 ft) and 1 kg (2.2 lbs), they are in fact the littlest penguins–and the cutest, if I might add.  The viewing only lasts for an hour, as the rangers turn off the lights and allow the penguins to return to their burrows undisturbed.

xo