Sydney day 6: WILD Life Zoo, SEA Life Aquarium, & the Sydney Harbour Bridge

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After that very outdoorsy beach walk from Coogee to Bondi, the next day ate Mako spent the day indoors in zoos after attending the 9am mass at Holy Cross, Bondi Junction. I bought our voucher from Experience OZ, which was $7.80 cheaper than the passes offered in the Wild Life and Sea Life websites. Today was filled with activities of my choice, as so far the previous days had all been ate Mako’s choice. We know each other so well so we both adjust to each other’s travel/activity preferences.

This guy kept trying to get close to the quarantined fish inside the net, even though he got stuck for a moment. Huhuhu

There’s one main foyer for the entrances to SEA Life, WILD Life, and Madame Tussauds. By accident, we ended up entering Sea Life instead of Wild Life first, which was our original plan. However, this turned out to be a good choice because there were so many people lined up outside Sea Life after lunch.

Sea Life Sydney is organized in a way that you will pass through all the exhibits one after another, unless you want to double back to your chosen animal. I was most excited for the penguin exhibit (penguination forever! – sorry, inside now-defunct joke), but we still got excited seeing the huge sharks and manta rays. They also have a lot of other interesting fish, such as this gigantic stonefish, and there’s an exhibit where you can hold sea creatures, like starfish.

One thing that set apart the animals from the other aquariums I’ve been to is that their fish are really huge. Huge in a way I’ve only see those in photos or films.

Another distinction for Sea Life Sydney Aquarium is that they take in sick animals for treatment/rehabilitation and release some of them back to the wild.

While looking at the sharks exhibit, one big animal started to bypass me. Apparently, it was the ladies of the sea, the dugong! It was the first time we’ve seen one live!

The dugong is considered the mermaid of the sea

The dugong was a bit slow-moving so I was able to capture this shot. In the photo, it’s eating lettuce, which is what they feed him. In fact, they have a menu board that says lettuce for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! That’s something I know my mom wish I’d do too :))

We kept moving, until we got to the penguin exhibit. You can either ride the boat to go on a very short cruise around the exhibit or you can just view them by the corridor. Sadly, when we passed through, most of the penguins were swimming or sleeping at the top-most floor and not very visible to us.

Molting penguin

The three penguins above were barely moving, we thought they were just displays. However, when we got off the boat, one penguin was standing right by the window, and shifted ever so slightly so we realized they were actually alive.

The three penguins here were molting. Penguin molting is, according to the New England Aquarium, is when the penguins’ old feathers are pushed out by new ones. You can read more about it here.

Touring the aquarium, including taking photos, only took us about two hours. SEA Life is  pretty small, but an interesting aquarium nonetheless.

At the end of the Sea Life path was a cafeteria, although there are plenty of restaurants right outside, along Cockle Bay Wharf on one side and the newly-opened Barangaroo suburb on the other. However, we just ate in the cafeteria because the food was cheap, and we didn’t want to walk away from our next destination.

Some other sea creatures from SEA Life Sydney:

Anemone and fish
Sawfish

After lunch, it was time for WILD Life Sydney Zoo. I was sooo psyched to see kangaroos and koalas! We were supposed to avail of the breakfast with koalas option, but tickets were already sold out when I checked in November. Everyone we talked to advised us to go to Taronga Zoo, which is supposedly better, but we didn’t want to spend more for transportation, especially since we were going to SEA Life Sydney Aquarium. I just really wanted to see kangaroos and koalas, which the WILD Life zoo will accomplish.

Unlike in the SEA Life where we just followed the path towards each exhibit, ate Mako and I listened to each lecture available in WILD Life. This enabled us to know more about the animals and have a deeper appreciation for them. I’ve seen plenty of tigers, elephants and giraffes in the various zoos I’ve visited so I wasn’t upset that there were no such animals here.

Tasmanian Devils look cute but they are known for eating every bit of carrion – including the bones.

The first animal upon entry is the Tazmanian Devil. According to the guide, the TD is called as such because when they were first discovered, it was pitch black and only the glowing red triangle in their ears were visible in the dark, and they were called ‘devils’ by the people.

While the guide was speaking, the two TDs started snarling each other. They’re very territorial and competitive and didn’t like having the other so close to them. However, once they were being fed – and yes, we got to watch it – they didn’t start biting each other.

Whew.

We continued on to the next exhibit, and we both couldn’t tear our eyes off this little cutie.

In Despicable Me‘s Agnes’ words: “It’s so fluffy, I wanna die!!!” Yes, they are so much cuter in person!

There were only two koalas in the enclosure, and I was a bit disappointed. I was thinking, oh, only two in the zoo? However, and I don’t know why, they were just set apart in this area and there are more koalas further inside the zoo.

Koalas are only awake for about 4 hours a day, so we were really lucky to see one awake. The other koala was asleep, while this cutie kept munching for the 20 minutes we stood there staring at him.

Then we entered through a gate and saw this:

My goal is to smize as confidently as this kangaroo
Brown kangaroo

The lecture about the kangaroo wasn’t until later, so we came back after taking some pictures. It’s a good thing we did, because this happened!

One of the most memorable moments from our trip!

I only wanted to see a kangaroo, and instead I got the chance to touch one! Red Heart on Google Android 8.1

The guide said we can only pet them while they’re finished eating, but if they hop away then we can’t pet them anymore. We can also only pet these two sibling kangaroos because the others don’t like to be touched.

Other interesting animals that I’ve never seen in other zoos (I included info from the posters in the zoo):

Wallaby – a smaller cousin to the kangaroo, and sure-footed with specially-adapted tendons in their legs acting just like springs. They can hold food with their paws, which I didn’t see the kangaroos do.
Cassowary – evolved millions of years ago, and is the third largest bird in the world and is on the endangered list.
Spotted-tailed quoll – the largest marsupial carnivore in mainland Australia. It is a predator and will eat anything from insects to small wallabies, and also feeds on small carcasses.

We continued on with our journey until we found our other most anticipated animal.

You could pay to enter the koala enclosure and have your picture taken closer to them (but you’re not allowed to touch them). However, I found a perfect spot right before a horde arrived and tried to elbow little old me out of the way. (At five feet one, in Australia, men usually made way for me because they think I’m a kid, while women tried to elbow me out of the way)

Once the talk started, the guide woke up the koalas because it was time for their feeding as well. The crowd kept gasping every time the koalas jumped from one branch to another and picked out which eucalpytus leaves they want to munch on.

They really do look like stuffed toys, don’t they?

These koalas are being trained to be used to humans because the WILD Life Sydney Zoo lets very sick kids hold on to koalas to make them feel better. I don’t know about you, but even if I’m in so much pain, I’d smile too if I get to hug these sweet creatures.

Baby koala
Hey there, fella!
There are actually 3 koalas in this photo, but the baby koala blends onto its mother’s back. Can you spot it?

After our exciting time in the zoo, it was snack time at Lindt Cafe in Cockle Bay Wharf. This was my Christmas gift to ate Mako because I really wanted to have a taste of their chocolate milkshake, while she didn’t want to spend anything on chocolate. Compromise: I pay for our snack. Deal!

Lindt is actually Sprüngli, one of the Swiss chocolate brand/shops in Switzerland that I bought chocolate from – and whose chocolate made me cry because it was so delicious it felt like a spiritual experience.

They didn’t sell chocolate ganache the way they did in Switzerland, but the chocolate was still so good. The staff were a bit impatient and snappish, and I felt uncomfortable asking questions about the menu so I quickly ordered my first choices.

YUM.

Since it was just about 4pm and there was plenty of light out (sunset was around 8pm – and even then, it didn’t get completely dark right away), we decided to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Yes, you read that right – you can cross the bridge on foot for free.

There are numerous ways you can do so:

  1. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb – supposedly amazing views of the city but so way out of our budget
  2. By train from Wynyard Station to Milsons Point station, which is in North Sydney, then walk back to George Street
  3. Do a roundtrip walk from George Street in The Rocks (Sydney’s oldest district) to the end and back again to George Street
  4. Walk from George Street to Milsons Point station and take the train back to Sydney CBD.

If you want to know more about the history of the bridge and for fantastic views overlooking the city without paying an arm or leg but without the adrenaline rush of crossing the bridge, you can also go up the Pylon Lookout instead. This was one of our options but it was already closed when we arrived.

We didn’t know how long it would take us or how tiring it would be, and we were thinking of walking around The Rocks that night, so we walked to Wynyard Station (about a 20-minute walk from WILD Life) and took the train to Milsons Point station. Once there, we just followed the signs out the station and turned right and walked straight onto the bridge.

Once again, I fell in love with Sydney. I loved seeing all those trees among the buildings and just everything about the city. Sigh.

Once at The Rocks, we were just bone tired and couldn’t tour around the district anymore. Since we didn’t know we could eat at one of the malls in Sydney until late night, opted to eat at Ribs & Burgers again and try out their ribs this time. Once again, it didn’t fail!

From The Rocks, it’s about a 10-minute walk to Circular Quay for the bus back to Bondi Junction station. Once home, we collapsed on the bed, simultaneously ready to rest yet dreading our last full day in Sydney. We agreed: we were going to miss this city!

View from the bridge

Day’s cost (in AUD):
Experience OZ voucher: $42.20
Church donation: $9.5
Lunch: $13.95
Lindt Cafe: $24
Dinner: $16.2

Total: $105.85

Our transportation costs amounted to $10.30 and were covered by our Opal card. Breakfast was care of the food we bought from the grocery on our first day.

Read the other posts in my Sydney series!



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3 Replies to “Sydney day 6: WILD Life Zoo, SEA Life Aquarium, & the Sydney Harbour Bridge”

  1. Yeah, too bad about the Pylon Lookout. Maybe next time 😉

    1. Waaah! May next time??? 🙂

  2. […] Sydney day 6: Sydney day 6: WILD Life Zoo, SEA Life Aquarium, & the Sydney Harbour Bridge […]

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