Wednesday Wander – Taronga Zoo, Sydney

taronga-2This week I’m wandering to a place on the edge of one of the world’s great natural harbours. It also happens to be not too far from where I used to work. This is Taronga Zoo, in Sydney, Australia. Officially opened in October 1916, the zoo is just over 100 years old, and ‘Taronga’ is an aboriginal word meaning ‘beautiful view’. Very appropriate, I think, considering the outlook.

taronga-1I’ve chosen to focus more on the fantastic views from the zoo, rather than the animals. Located in Mosman at the end of a promontory poking out into the harbour, the zoo looks out at the Harbour Bridge and Opera House to the right, across the city and out to the Heads on the left. It was a warm but hazy day when we visited – I’d just had a fairly major operation and my parents had come out to spend time with me. I remember it being one of the first days I felt up to walking around, so it was nice to be out.

taronga-3 One thing I experienced at the zoo was hand-feeding giraffes. You were given a bag of carrots and the giraffes would bend down, their long purple tongues wrapping around the carrots and pulling them out of your hand. It was quite something to see such beautiful animals up close, and I suppose that is part of the magic of zoos, and key to their enduring appeal.

While I’m not sure where I stand on the subject of animals in zoos, I do know that many zoos do a great deal in terms of animal conservation and protection, and that Taronga has spent a lot of time and money investing in vastly improved habitats over recent years. They’ve also run several successful breeding programs, so they must be doing something right.

Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!


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Wednesday Wander – Sydney Opera House

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Jorn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House is one of the most recognisable buildings in the world, cream coloured sails floating on a point surrounded by blue water. When I lived in Sydney I took the bus across the Harbour Bridge most days to work (I know, it’s tough, right?), yet I never failed to appreciate the beauty of the building, or my good fortune in being able to see it whenever I chose.

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Unbelievably, Bennelong Point, on which the Opera House stands, was once a tram depot. Yes, one of the most prominent points on one of the most beautiful Harbours in the world was deemed as being the best spot in the city for trams to terminate. I suppose the proximity to the commuter ferries made it a sensible choice, but you do wonder whether the people who made such decisions had eyes.

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The Opera House was opened in 1973, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While I do have other photos of the Opera House from the water and nearby Circular Quay, I chose to share these ones instead. Taken up close from the landward side, they reveal different angles, the intricacy of the tiles that cover the eggshell curves, and the fact that there are several different buildings that make up the whole.

Even though it was a cloudy day when we were last there, I think you can still appreciate the genius of Utzon’s design – it is utterly timeless.

Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time 🙂