By the time we got to Sydney, we were both very done with traveling. It is a beautiful country, there are beaches and palm trees and shops and restaurants… but really, we were ready to go home.
We spent our days walking around Darling Harbour and Circular Quay. We saw the Sydney Opera House, and the Botanical Gardens. We visited the Governors House inside the Botanical Gardens, which was neat. It’s interesting because the governor doesn’t live there currently, but still uses it for meetings and formal events.
There were several interesting things we did while in Australia. For my birthday, Josh took me to a play at the Sydney Opera House. We were in the smaller theatre and we saw Shakespeare’s Pericles. It was so fun! They did the play with a Japanese style, using Japanese drums and flutes as background music, and for the parts of the play that call for music. Also, they used a Japanese fighting style for their fights. I thought it was fabulous.
On Sunday we visited Hillsong Church. It reminded me a lot of New Life Church. It was right before their big Hillsong Conference, and we liked that Pastor Craig from lifechurch.tv was coming down… since he’s from good ol’ Oklahoma, and our friend works for his church.
We spent a lot of time commuting back and forth from where we were staying and the downtown area of Sydney. We bought a public transportation pass, and rode on the ferries. I like a ferry commute, definitely much better than a train or bus.
We wanted to see the Australian animals, so we visited Wildlife World. Inside they had a lot of interesting exhibits that I wasn’t expecting. There were a lot of insects and arachnids (stick-bugs, ants, spiders, beetles), a large collection of poisonous snakes and lizards, perennial favorites such as alligators and turtles, and a great room full of butterflies! I love butterflies, they are so gorgeous.
Of course, there were the Australian favorites: koalas and kangaroos. The koalas were so adorable and soft. Kangaroos… not so much. They are very strange looking animals, really. There were a lot of other Australian animals as well, but I don’t remember the names of most of them. There were Kookaburra birds… “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, merry merry king of the bush is he. Laugh Kookaburra! Laugh Kookaburra; gay your life must be.”
We visited a very cool design and engineering museum. It was enormous. It was called the Powerhouse Museum. There were science experiments, explanations and demonstrations of everything from magnetism to fashion to space travel to environmental issues to architecture to musical instruments. If anyone learned everything that is in that museum, they would know a lot! It’s like walking through an encyclopedia of the scientific and design world.
A very unique experience we did in Australia was whale watching. We went out in a boat for about 4 hours and saw a Southern Right Whale. I have never seen a whale in the ocean before, and it was exciting. He was so large, but you could never see all of him. He didn’t jump out of the ocean very high, but he did a little side roll once when he surfaced. The water spout was terrific. It’s easy to forget how large the whale while watching, but they average 40-80 Tons!
The last notable place we visited was the Sydney Observatory. I had really wanted to go at night and seen through the telescope, but we didn’t. We went in the day, and it was still really interesting. There were a lot of displays teaching about the whole history of more recent astronomy (since when Australia was settled). It is so incredible to me to think of sailors traveling across the ocean to Australia, with nothing to guide them but stars (and the constellations were not even the same), and making calculations based on the time and the angles (measured from a rocking boat, bobbing in the ocean). Incredible.