January 31, 2024
Woohoo! We made it to Australia, and are onboard the Viking Orion in the Sydney Harbor! The Sydney Harbor is not only beautiful, but it is also the world's largest natural harbor in the world. With more than 150 miles of shoreline, numerous bays and islands, parks and recreation areas it is a centerpiece of the city. We saw the iconic Sydney Opera House and bridges, large commercial ports that support the local economy, sailing boats, houses, restaurants, shops, botanical gardens, and parks all around the harbor. The harbor was definitely the heart of the city.
Opera House, Bridge, Sydney Tower Eye
Other parts of Sydney show a diversity of architecture and culture that spans the history of the city. Many of the earliest buildings in the city were built from the local sandstone in the area, giving them a distinctive beautiful yellowish hue. These early buildings today are the centerpiece of a vibrant part of the city called the The Rocks (named for the sandstone).
In some areas there are references to the aboriginal lands that Sydney sits on, which reminded me of recent recognitions across the USA acknowledging the native american lands that our cities are built on. For example, much of San Diego was once Kumeyaay land.
We noticed some interesting road signs as we drove around. Like our time in England, the traffic signs were similar to those in the US, but expressed a little differently:
Give Way instead of yield; High Pedestrian Activity similar to pedestrian crossing; Park in Bays Only - park in marked parking spaces.
One of the fascinating things about Australia and New Zealand is the wildlife. Because of our late arrival in Sydney we didn't get to see as much wildlife as planned, but here are a few fun facts to close out today's blog.
The duck billed platypus, one of the few egg-laying mammals, glow in the dark! Through a process of biofluorescence the platypus absorbs short wavelengths of lights and re-emits them through the skin at more visible wavelengths.
Wombats, another marsupial, are unique because they are the only animal with cube shaped droppings.
The Australian White Ibis is a native Australian bird that has adapted to urban life by learning how to use its beak to open the lid of residential trash cans.
Australian Magpies - one of Australia's most accomplished songbirds.
Australian White Ibis; Wombat information; Australian Magpie
Wednesday is a sea day as we travel to Melbourne. Can't wait to see what new things we learn there...