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Final hours in Terra Australis

View Terra Australis - 2012 on Ils1976's travel map.

Oh My God, the day has finally arrived! The one thing we both dreaded the most, but here it is, there’s not much we can do about it, so we are going to make sure this final day is definitely going to be a memorable one.

We quickly have breakfast and after checking the entire room for the last time, we are of to the reception area. Check out is going swiftly and when all of our stuff is safe at the luggage room, we are good to go and enjoy our last hours in this amazing city.

The first thing we do is go and have one more look at the Botanical Gardens and more specific Mrs. Macquaries Point. We are still trying to get that one special picture, so this is our last chance.

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Instead of taking the metro station, we decide to walk all the way to the Gardens. After a few days of being in this city, we learned that it is faster and because it is our last day, we are even brave enough to wonder off from our usual routine. Normally we use the elevator situated halfway Bourke Street, but today we walk all the way down the street and end up at Lincoln Cress, where we face a giant staircase. Amazingly enough we make good time and to our surprise we are already halfway Mrs. Macquaries Road.

Our first award of the day is getting to be up close and personal with a few Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. It looks like they are looking for food and they turn out the be excellent models.

But sadly enough we have to go and after this short intermezzo we head onwards to the viewing point. We take a few pictures of both “icons” and from here we walk alongside Farmer Cove all the way to the Opera House. We still need  that jump picture and now is a good time as any to have it. It is now or never! :)


Arriving at Circular Quay, we take the metro station all the way up to Town Hall. We still have some tickets for the Wildlife Sydney Zoo and since we only have half a day to spend here in the city, it’s kind of an excellent ending after weeks and weeks of seeing beautiful things. In a way we hope to see all the animals we missed out on during our road trip.

When we arrive at the entrance, we are amazed that there is no queue and for just one minute I am even tempted with the idea that it is closed, but no, after we undergo the obligatory “photo session” we can go right ahead.

Our first “zone” turns out to be the Butterfly Tropics, where we can have a closer look at the Green Tree Python. We are supposed to be in the neighbourhood of the Tasmanian Devil as well, but for some reason we can’t find his den. We read on one of the many screens that there is an encounter later this morning and we don’t wanna miss out on that so instead of searching for something we can’t seem to find we pursue our way towards Gum Tree Valley and look right into the cute eyes of a local koala, no matter how you look at it, they are cute without any doubt! This one is even active and walks around, something we haven’t seen much over the last couple of weeks.


Next up is the Wallaby Cliffs Habitat and here we see all sorts of kangaroos and wallabies, one of them being the Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby and this time around it is a bit easier to take pictures!

There should be a wombat around here somewhere as well, but just like the Tasmanian Devil, we don’t seem to locate this notorious animal. How is this possible. We look for it high and low, but can’t find it. What’s going on here???

Instead of worrying too much, we pass by the Daintree Rainforest section and once more come close to the Southern Cassowary. Taking pictures of it isn’t easy, it still looks dangerous even if it is sitting behind a glass window.

Next up is the Kangaroo Walk-about and this is kind of a neat “attraction”. You can walk up close to most kangaroos and wallabies and they even have kookaburras and an emu with little chicks in the vicinity.


Because we are a bit pressed in time, we just walk by it all and end up at Kakadu Gorge, where we meet Rex, the saltwater crocodile which is over 5 meters long. That is one big croc!

All of a sudden we hear the announcement that the encounter with the Tasmanian Devil is within a few minutes. We don’t want to miss out on that, so we just went all the way back to the sign of the devil and guess what, it was there all along, we just didn’t notice it.

We were quite early, just a handful of people were waiting and I guess we were in luck, because devils turn out to be shy creatures, but there it was, it looked so cute, but your brain says otherwise of course and in such a short time we try to take as many pictures as we possibly can.

When the keeper of Oreo and Big John (cool names don’t you think!!!) arrives, she gives us more information about devils in general as well as DFTD a.k.a. Devil Facial Tumour Disease. This contagious cancer spreads between devils when they bite each other during fights over food or when meeting to mate. The scientists estimate that the entire wild population will be extinct within 25 years. This is just terrible, but luckily nowadays they breed devils in captivity so that the population wouldn’t go extinct. This can only be seen as a good thing!


After this little encounter, we go back towards the Wallaby Cliffs Habitat where earlier on we noticed that other infamous creature, the echidna. It was lying flat on his face (I even got the impression it was drunk !?), but now it is running around. Stupidly enough it always takes the same route. I guess he wants to escape, but it isn’t working, the wall is just too high and the neighbouring wallabies aren’t helping either.

Now the only thing we still have to find is that damn wombat. There should be a Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat around, but we can’t find it. We look for it everywhere but nope .. he is nowhere to be find. All of a sudden I hear a kid yelling he found a wombat and I secretly follow him and there he is, we’ve found Sherman!

But just like the echidna in the beginning, he is sound asleep. He must feel quite at ease lying in such a position. We keep on gazing at Sherman in the hope that he quickly wakes up, but nope. It is a funny sight and the only thing we miss is the sound of him snoring! :)

We can’t stay here forever, so we prolong our way passing the Daintree Rainforest, the Kangaroo Walk-about and the Kakadu Gorge habitat again and end up in the Nightfall habitat. Here you have a chance to see all the night creatures of Australia such as the ghost bat and the greater Bilby. They all look very amazing if you can spot them, but pictures are all out of the question, they are just too fast or it is just too dark, not an ideal situation!


Next up is the bugs garden where you can find all kinds of creepy crawlers such as the Funnel-web Spider and many more creepy things. Not my cup of tea really and within minutes I am out of there!

We have a quick look here and end up at the Koala Encounter habitat. Here we notice a few cute koalas and there is a possibility to have your picture taken with such a cutie, but unlike Queensland, you can’t hold a koala. They just take a picture with you alongside a koala bear. Not that interesting if you ask me, and although we wanted to have a second chance in having a picture taken with a koala, we wisely give it a miss. It is not worth your money!

Because we get a bit hungry, we trap ourselves once again in buying another hotdog. It seems we didn’t learn our lesson a few days ago, but that happens when you are hungry and you have a small selection of food. At least we have something in our stomach because we need to move on. There is still much to do and so little time.

We pass the exit area and have a quick glance at the pictures they took of us early in the morning, but they look so awful that we don’t even have to think twice about NOT buying it.

Now that we are outside again, we are tempted to have one last look at Paddy’s Market. We still want to go and buy some “last-minute” souvenirs. We know what we want and like a couple of tornados we go through the market.

With all the souvenirs in a few bags we head back towards Circular Quay to have one last glance at the opera and the bridge and because we still have a little bit of time left, Tania wants to go back to Mrs. Macquaries Chair to have one last chance for her perfect picture. We have to make a run for it, but we manage to arrive at the viewing point and there it is, Tania finally has her wish, if there ever was a more perfect time, this is it! We take a few pictures and than we make another run for it. This time around back to our hotel.

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We need to look for a taxi, because we can’t keep up with the running mode we are in right now. We are getting tired and our souvenirs aren’t working with us. Luckily when we arrive at the Art Gallery NSW situated halfway Mrs. Macquaries Road, we notice a few taxis and within a few minutes we manage to hold one and it takes just another few minutes to arrive back at the hotel all sweaty and sticky.

Once back inside the hotel, we immediately have access to the luggage room and very quickly we changed into another set of clothes, tried to stuff our souvenirs as good as it gets inside our luggage and off we went again, this time towards the airport.

We didn’t have to wait long for our metro and even at Central Station we had to wait for a couple of minutes before we could catch our connection to the airport, talking about a smooth journey. In a way I am sad. Now that we are almost at the airport, it finally hits me that it is truly over and just in a couple of days we are back in snowy / rainy Belgium.


Upon our arrival at the airport, everything once again goes very smoothly and within no time we are searching for something to eat, after all, the only thing we had today was a lousy hotdog. We spot a nice Italian place and the choices on the menu look excellent, so we decide to give it a try. It takes them a while to get our order, but in the end we manage to get our food and it smells delicious, needless to say, it is delicious.

Because we had to wait quite a long time to get our dinner, there wasn’t much time left for anything else. We had a quick glance at some of the souvenir shops and then it was already time to board the plane.

As soon as we were airborne, we both decided to watch as many movies as possible, after all, the whole idea was to stay awake all through the flight in order to get more adjusted to the different time zones.

I started with “Hope Springs”, which was kind of entertaining, followed by “Crazy Heart”. This time around I got the taste of country again so I looked up an oldie which I love very much and before I knew it, I was watching “Walk the Line” again. There wasn’t even time for a fourth movie because we were almost at our destination. Time had passed by very quickly, but I was glad to be almost in Singapore because I was getting really tired, after all to us it was already after midnight.

Having a hard time keeping my eyes open, Tania makes use of the free WI-FI to skype home and when we are almost at the conveyor belt, I notice our bags and make a run for it. Everything seems to go really fast here, that or we were with too little people on the plane.

Before we could look for a taxi, we had to undergo one more baggage control and than it was just a matter of getting the hell out of this place. I was ready to lay my eyes to rest.

I must say that it didn’t really hit me that we were in another country, I was completely knackered. But as we were driving towards Chinatown, our home base for the night, I suddenly noticed all the strange and tall buildings and I felt like being landed in a complete different world. Those futuristic looking buildings are really beautiful during night time. It looks like something from outer space, unbelievable!

When we arrive at our cosy looking hotel smack in the middle of Chinatown, we have to wait for a couple of minutes before the owner (or one of them) arrives, although it is late at night, he still smiles and gives us a warm welcome. Luckily it doesn’t take long to fill in the necessary paperwork and within seconds we receive our key to a top floor room. There isn’t an elevator on the premises, so as good as we can, we manage to get all of our stuff upstairs.

The room itself is very tiny with two single beds and a small bathroom, but I am just too tired to notice it all. I quickly take a much needed shower and then I can finally close my eyes!

Posted by Ils1976 11:56 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes bridges buildings people planes flowers native airport city friends sights asia oceania

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You certainly made the most of your last day in Sydney! I've read that holding koalas is discouraged these days, as it isn't good for their health to be in close contact with people, so maybe the zoo had already stopped allowing it for that reason?

by ToonSarah

I guess so, I know something like this shouldn't be allowed, but still ... I have to say honestly that I loved the experience. They are just so interesting. That's why I really wanna go back and see the Australia Zoo in Queensland. The Irwin family is so brilliant in keeping everything as natural as possible and at the same time you get more detailed information about the animals through their talks. Must be really worth a visit I guess.

by Ils1976

Yes, that would be a great experience. A properly run zoo is worth a visit but I hate to see animals in badly designed or too-small enclosures

by ToonSarah

same here! I once was at the zoo in Gdansk ... never again, I am trying to avoid them in Poland, they are really caged and you see all kinds of problems. I thought the animals, especially the chimps and elephants looked awful. Even in our zoo in Antwerp we had the same problem, but they try to do their best. Now they give the animals more space and lesser ones as well. They are very much busy with conservation programs and I like that.

by Ils1976

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