Sydney Day 3 - Taronga Zoo
A lovely relaxing start to the morning didn't see us leave the hotel until 9.30am when we caught the train for the 15 minute connection to Circular Quay.
We found easily found the wharf for our ferry to Taronga Zoo and by the time we had found our seat outside right at the front of the boat - we were on the move.
Now Zoo's are just OK in my opinion if they are done correctly and put the animal welfare first. It is not the type of place that is normally high on our list of places to visit, unless it is iconic for some reason or other. Taronga Zoo had two draws for me. The first was the location. It was situated across the harbour and reputedly has the best views possible of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The second draw for me was that it had a number of Koala's. After having the opportunity to hold one at a sanctuary in Brisbane on our first visit to Australia, I have always wanted to have another opportunity to be with them at close quarters
The ferry trip was even better than the day before with the heat from the sun offset by a lovely cooling breeze off the water. It was a blissful journey.
The fun started when we got off the boat and found the Sydney 2 attraction pass we had bought at the Sky Tower didn't give us access to this zoo despite us stating this was the one we wanted to visit. It wasn't anyone at the Zoo's fault and they were sympathetic but couldn't help us. They also said that many people were being sold the wrong tickets. We were very irate but had no choice but to spend more money on extra tickets. Karen in particular was outraged.
In for a penny, in for a pound - I then paid the extra money for a private Koala encounter (with a free photo!).
By now it was getting hot, really really hot. We followed the route down the steep path down the cliff. We saw the giraffes at close quarters
and then the elephant family complete with the cute 6 month old baby. We were able to get really close to them without them being disturbed. Then we stopped for our first drink of the day. I took advantage of the Zoo WiFi to contact the Sky Tower ticket office to complain about the ticket we had been mis-sold. In doing so I also found they had overcharged us. My email was forthright and laid out the facts to them. I was not even sure though that they would read it, alone take any action or reply.
Our next visit was to the Tiger Trek which was the only part of the zoo where we ran into any sort of crowd. The trek started bizarrely when we were loaded into a mock airplane cabin and 'flown' to Sumatra. The best way I can describe is to people of a certain age, was that it was like visiting Father Christmas in the Co-Op in Norwich.
We then made our way for our appointed Koala encounter. We were taken into a small enclosure with our Koala. She was adorable and asleep and we were close enough to see her breathing. In this part of Australia you are not allowed to touch them as they feel it stresses them. Other parts of Australia think differently. But nevertheless it was still a lovely 5 minutes which we made the most of, taking loads of photos and asking loads of questions to her keeper. Interestingly she (the koala - not the keeper) is getting a boyfriend later in the year but she doesn't know it yet.
On a high we then went and got ourselves a salad wrap each for our lunch. I had to stand on a chair to put a parasol up on our table to give shade for Karen to sit under to eat her, much to the amusement of a French family sitting behind us.
We then went and saw our first ever Duck Billed Platypus, which are just weird. We tried to see the Tasmanian devils but they were obviously just playing hide and seek in which we lost. After wandering to the bottom of the zoo, we got the cable car (nice to see it named correctly) back to the top again. This was in order for Karen to find a toilet and so that we could see the famous view which was a stunning as expected.
We went back down on the cable car again and thoroughly enjoyed the ferry back to Circular Quay. Sydney had now won us over completely and I loved it all over again.
Karen was desperate for a long drink so after taking a while to decide where we ended up a posh cafe on Circular Quay where she enjoyed her first bottle of TUI of the trip. Once finished we headed back to the hotel so she could chill out for a while.
At the hotel I was amazed to pick up an email response from the Sydney Sky Tower. They were extremely apologetic and offered a full refund for all the monies we had paid. So in essence we had gone up the Tower for free. I called them and got the monies refunded onto my credit card. Alls well that ends well, although I would have preferred not to have had the co-fuffle (is that a real word?) in the first place.
Tonight we wanted to see the Light Show that is projected daily at sunset onto the Opera House roof. So we decided to have the Tuesday meal offer in the Hotel. This turned out to be a poor decision. The price was good but tonight the food was of a dire quality and we were left hungry and unsatisfied.
We went back to Circular Quay and enjoyed the atmosphere as the sun went down, wandering and people watching. The light show itself was short and well done. It was worth the effort watching and we enjoyed the spectacle. We then hung around for a while admiring the lights and view. It was another one of those moments that we had to pinch ourselves that we were really there and to remind ourselves how lucky we are just to be here.
On the way back to the hotel we picked up 2 pizzas to take back, which meant our cheap priced meal earlier had been extremely poor value after all.