One Last Vacation for the Road

After two and a half years, our Australian adventure has begun to wind down. Drew is leaving and Ashley only has a few months left. Prior to his departing east for west and south for north, we enjoyed a final weekend in Sydney. Unlike our first trip, which was plagued with jet lag, sleeplessness, and confusion about this strange place, we had a great time enjoying the city. We continued to find great places to eat and explored places we had never been.

Our Friday stared with a lovely run through the Royal Botanic Gardens.  It’s hard to believe that 9 months ago we joined the masses running through here as part of the Sydney Half Marathon. The park is one of our favorites and no trip to Sydney is complete without at least one visit. From there we visited the Sea Life Aquarium. It’s the sister aquarium to the one in Melbourne, but we liked this one better.  Ashley was immediately delighted by the platypus exhibit.  Everyone’s favorite monotremes were on display and actively playing.

From there we made our way through tanks containing more of her favorite animals (penguins and octopodes). Unbeknownst to us, the facility is also home to two dugongs.  We got to watch them playing with their food and generally being silly. We also signed up for a short glass bottomed boat tour of the reef tank.  It was much better than expected. The keeper was chatty and we got to feed the fish.  We even had a white tipped reef shark circling our boat. Our favorite fact is that to keep the parrot fish happy, they cover popcorn with fiberglass and drop it into the exhibit for them to munch on. Apparently that’s an acceptable substitute for real coral.

On Saturday we walked from Bondi Beach to Coogee.  The walk is just over 6km and is full of great views and little beaches. We particularly loved all the little lap pools right against the ocean.  It’s easy to see why everyone who lives in the area loves the beach.  As a reward for the walk, we had some delicious fish’n’chips before returning to the city for a relaxing afternoon.  We wanted to make sure we were well rested for the opera.

We’re not huge opera fans, never having seen one, but decided the chance to see any performance in the Opera House was too good to miss. We saw a production of Puccini’s Turandot (pronounced with the ‘t’).  The costuming and choreography were wonderful, but it definitely wasn’t opera for beginners. The subtitles helped but the conventions of operatic signing still made things difficult. Still, it was a great evening capped off by drinks at our favorite bar.

Sunday was destined to be a long day, as it was Drew’s last day in Oz and with Ashley for a while. We made the best of it though.  A great brekkie and walk through the The Rocks Market was a good start.  We had planned to watch an old French film at an arthouse but found a Lego exhibit instead. It was hosted by one of Australia’s master builders and he was present to talk about the huge objects he’d built.

The pieces were amazing and full of great little details. Drew and Ashley also got pictures with Lego Movie stars.  Lucy was especially obliging.  Ashley built a great rainbow mustache in the free play area, but the lighting made pictures difficult.

It looks like this will be the end of the road for our shared Australian adventures. Ashley will have to pick up the slack for Drew and see what else she can find on this side of the world.  More pictures are here, and Drew will probably follow up with a post about leaving later.