Inspired by our new, and large, nautical neighbour, we thought we would explore further afield today, using the ferry services running from Circular Quay. We bought an Ecohopper day pass, which included a stop at the Taronga Zoo.
Leaving the quay, and passing the ship, we noticed it was refuelling. If you take a look at the refuelling ship in the picture below, which is a large tanker in its own right, it looks like a dinghy by comparison. The Guide on our ferry said this cruise liner is the Fourth largest in the World.
Our first stop was the Taronga Zoo, 10 minutes away across the bay. By all accounts, Taronga Zoo is excellent and worth a visit of at least two to three hours. The entrance, by way of cable car up from the wharf and over the zoo is indeed impressive.
I have to confess, we didn’t give the zoo much of a chance.
Perhaps we were more irritated and less tolerant than usual, having been deprived of sleep by nocturnal shipspotters. Perhaps it was the fact that we lingered for too long in the heat of the entrance queue for the turnstiles, behind parents, armed with offensive children and double buggies, who hadn’t grasped that you needed entrance tickets to get into the park, and that these were available only from the kiosk behind us marked “Tickets” and not at the turnstiles themselves. [We always manage to choose the slowest queue- it is a gift].
Perhaps it was the fact that it was a hot day, in the school holidays, the park was already heaving and the average visitor age today was about 9. Or perhaps it was the distinct whiff of koala, or giraffe or elephant waste products, that drove us out of the park within 30 minutes. My tip is to go off season, out of the school holidays, when it is cooler and less crowded.
Please do not think from this that we are anti-children. Far from it. Whilst it is true, that one of my former colleagues once suggested to me that I might like to audition for the part of the Child-Catcher in a local production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (as I was, he thought, a natural fit for the role), this was more a feature of my general sociopathy, as opposed to not liking children specifically. And, it must be said, that Lorna and I have children of our own and one grandson. It is just that OPC (other people’s children), can sometimes be a bit of a trial if one is out sans enfants.
As a family outing, the zoo would be perfect. Maybe not for Rambo Dad (he would prefer his offspring to see animals in the wild, wrestle them to the ground and then eat them), but perfect for your average family.
Back on to the ferry then, and on to the very refined Watsons Bay and Rose Bay, then Q station, past some very very expensive real estate and on to Manly Beach.
Manly is less well known to us than Bondi beach, but our guide at the visitor centre had said that he felt it was the nicer of the two.
We got off the ferry at Manly. It was much cooler there on the coast, with a welcome sea breeze and it was very pleasant. Manly beach seems good for the surf and is very popular with young backpackers. What surprised us, was that the very attractive calm little cove, next to the wharf on the other side from Manly Beach was relatively empty. Of the two, we would have preferred to bathe there.
After a spot of shopping (this time,admittedly, for me), we had lunch at a beachside cafe, before heading back to the City on the Fast Ferry. Having missed out on shopping in Manly, Lorna felt she needed to catch up with another quick trip to Lorna Jane, and then it was back to the cool of the hotel and an afternoon by the pool.
Dinner tonight will be in the hotel itself.