Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z - No Zoo Better than the Western Plains Zoo

Welcome to our tour of Australia. During the month of April we are going to visit our favourite spots in Australia. Come join us on our walkabout through the land down under. 

Yesterday we showed you one of the items on our bucket list in Australia. Click here if you missed that post. Today we conclude our tour with a visit to our favourite zoo.

We have been to many zoos but our favourite is the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, NSW. Located about 5 hours from Sydney it is one of the largest zoos anywhere. The circuit around the zoo is 6km/3.8 miles which is much more than most places. Each of the exhibits are huge and give you a sense that you are on safari. Short of going to Africa on Safari this is as close as you will get to that experience. This zoo is a little out of the way from the big city but is well worth the trip.
Cost: Prices are in Australian Dollars
$47 for a 2 day pass ($37 USD).
More Info: Western Plains Zoo Website
Address: Obley Road, Dubbo, NSW (Click link for map)

The zoo is so big that most people drive from exhibit to exhibit. You can also ride bicycles or rent a golf cart like we did. Amanda loved this as the steering wheel was on the "wrong" side.

There is plenty of room for the animals to wander around in their exhibit.

The rhinos are posers and seem to love their photos being taken.

The Giraffe enjoying a nice warm winter day.

One of the Hippos enjoying a nap in the mud.

The zoo has a big variety of animals and is sectioned off into continents based on where the animals are native to.

No aussie zoo would be complete without a kangaroo exhibit.

The king of the jungle (or in this case the zoo) exploring his territory.

Getting Here:
Car: The zoo is a 5-6 hour journey from Sydney.
Air: Dubbo is the closest aiport and is a one hour flight from Sydney. The zoo is a 10-15 drive from the airport.
Train: Dubbo is the closest railway station and is a 7 hour journey from Sydney. The zoo is a 10-15 minute drive from the station.

This concludes our A-Z Challenge tour of our favourite places in Australia. I hope you enjoyed the tour and learned a little more about the land down under. If you missed some of the posts I encourage you to go back and catch up on the ones you missed. Thanks for being part of the tour!

What is your favourite animal at the zoo or one you wish you local zoo had? What are you blogging about today?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y - You're on the bucket list!

Welcome to our tour of Australia. During the month of April we are going to visit our favourite spots in Australia. Come join us on our walkabout through the land down under.

Yesterday we visited some of the xtra places that we couldn't get to earlier in the challenge. Click here if you missed that post. Today we check out one of the items that is on our bucket lists. We titled this "You're on the Bucket List"

Australia is a big place and there is still of lot of the country that we haven't seen. We could drive or fly across the country but there is something magical about seeing the countryside go by in the comfort of a train carriage. There are many different train journeys in Australia but the Indian Pacific, the most famous and longest journey is the feature of today post. The Indian Pacific takes you from coast to coast on a 3 day journey from Sydney to Perth. Throughout the trip you will see the pristine farmland, mountains and the vast expanse of the outback. It would be a great way to experience a large part of the Australian countryside in comfort. It is not a cheap trip but one Amanda and I plan to do at some point.

Cost: Prices are in Australian Dollars
Coach class style seats (known as Red Service) is $939 ($740 USD). This is for just a seat with no cabin or meals included.
Cabin Fares range from $1929-$3769 per person ($1510-$2950 USD) depending on the size of the cabin and whether you want private bathroom facilities.
More Info:
 The Indian Pacific at Central Station in Sydney.

Have your ever taken a long train trip? What are you blogging about today?


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X - Xtras

Welcome to our tour of Australia. During the month of April we are going to visit our favourite spots in Australia. Come join us on our walkabout through the land down under. 

Yesterday we visited one of my favourite wildlife parks in Gunnedah. It was one of my favourite posts in this challenge so Click here if you missed that post. Today we check some of the xtras that we haven't shown you so far.

   The list for this challenge took a number of days as we tried to fit in as many places as we could while staying to the letters assigned for each day. We couldn't fit in everything so we figured why not put them in the Xtra's post? So here are a few of our Xtra's.

Darling Harbour:
Darling Harbour is just minutes from the centre of Sydney and is a great place for good food, shopping, musuems, cinemas and more. It is easy to get to and is also close to many other attractions in central Sydney. There really is something for everyone here.
More Info: Darling Harbour - Events, things to do and more.
Address: Darling Harbour, Sydney (Click for map and directions)

 Some of the restaurants and stores at Darling Harbour. The ship (South Steyne) is a floating restaurant.

The Sydney Aquarium with the city centre behind it. There are several ships that offer harbour tours from here as well.

The bridge that connects the two sides of the harbour. The monorail no longer operates and is in the process of being removed.

Darling Harbour has many events throughout the year. Can anyone tell me what is unusual about this sign (It would only be unusual if you are from the northern hemisphere)

Darling Harbour at night.

Eumundi Markets:
Amanda and I enjoy a good craft market and we found one of the best in Eumundi, a small town located about an hour or so north of Brisbane. It has hundreds of stalls that sell all sorts of crafts and hand made items and operates every Wednesday and Saturday. It is worth the trip as you will find some really great gifts for yourself and your loved ones.
More Info: Eumundi Markets - List of sellers, how to get here and more.
Address: 80 Memorial Dr, Eumundi QLD 4562 (Click for map and directions)

 The markets are located in a small little town called Eumundi.

There is something for everyone as they have baked goods, crafts and much more.

It is very popular and is like a treasure hunt. Our biggest issue was trying to find room in our suitcase for all the stuff we bought.

Underwater World:
Australia has some great aquariums including the one at Darling Harbour but our favourite was Underwater World in Mooloolaba. Located about an hour north of Brisbane. It is about 30 minutes from Eumundi so you could shop in the morning and go to the Aquarium in the afternoon. It houses a wide variety of species found in Australian waters so it is well worth putting on your travel itinerary. 
More Info: Underwater World - Tickets, visitors guide and more.
Address: Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba, QLD, 4557 (Click for map and directions)

They turned this small car into an aquarium and they also explained how they achieved this.

The Lionfish that is found in the waters around Australia. Although it is beautiful it is dangerous as it has poisonous spines.

The Stonefish has poisonous spines on its back. It can cause issues with humans as they often bury themselves in the sand as they wait for their prey and people sometimes step on them by accident.

One of the local otters yawning. Why do animals look so cranky when they yawn?

If you could only visit one of these xtras, which one would you choose? What are you blogging about today?

Monday, April 27, 2015

W - Waterways Wildlife Park

Welcome to our tour of Australia. During the month of April we are going to visit our favourite spots in Australia. Come join us on our walkabout through the land down under.

Last Saturday we visited family and friends in Australia. Click here if you missed that post. Today we head to see some of the native wildlife.

I am sure at least some of you have noticed that I haven't included the native wildlife in the tour so far. I did show one of our native animals in this post but other than that its been pretty void of the wildlife. However that will all change today. Australia has many wonderful wildlife parks where you can get up close, touch and even feed some of our unique animals. Today I will showcase one of our favourite wildlife parks.

Waterways Wildlife Park, Gunnedah, NSW.
This park is located in Gunnedah in rural NSW, which is known as the koala capital of the world. This park is a little smaller but has many animals to see and without the crowds of the larger parks. It was started in 1981 by a couple who take in injured wildlife and nurse them back to help. They have a big variety of native animals and you can even go into the koala habitat and pet the koalas. We had a great time here and highly recommend this park to anyone who wants to see the native wildlife.
Cost: $5 for adults ($4 USD).
More Information: Waterways Wildlife Park Facebook page.
Address: Oxley Highway, Gunnedah West, NSW Click for map

One of the resident koalas taking a nap.

He looks like he was mad for being woken up but he is just yawning.

You aren't allowed to hold the koalas in NSW but you are permitted to pet them. I preferred this to holding them as it is less stressful for the koalas and you have more time with the koalas. Most of them stayed asleep while we pet them. The fur felt more like wool than fur.

Me petting a young emu. The adults can grow over 6 feet tall so this guy has some growing to do. 

The kangaroos and wallabies watching us from the top of the hill.

The kookaburra is one of our more vocal native birds.

but not nearly as noisy as this Sulphur Crested Cockatoo when he starts screeching.

This black cockatoo is not seen in the wild as often as the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo or Galah.

A pair of Galahs

The wombat is one of Amanda's favourite Australian animals.

The blue tongued lizard is one of the more commonly found lizards in the wild.

The Echidna is one of two egg laying mammals. It looks similar to an anteater.

The dingo is Australia's native dog species.

Hopping along.

"Think the humans can still see me?"

Kangaroo showing off its hopping skills.

One of the wallabies just watching the world go by.

How to get there: 
Car: Located about 6km/4 miles from Gunnedah. Approximately 6 hours one way from Sydney.
Air: Tamworth airport is the closest airport. (1 hour flight from Sydney) From Tamworth it is about 1 hour by car to the park.
Train: Daily service from Sydney to Gunnedah (6-7 hours from Sydney). It is a 10-15 minute drive to the park from the railway station. 

Do you have any Australian animals in the zoos near your home? Which of the photos is your favourite? 


Sunday, April 26, 2015

A-Z Challenge Week 4 Recap

 We are all done with week 4 of the A-Z challenge. Just 1 week and 4 letters to go! In case you missed one of our tour stops here is where we stopped on week 4:

Small town Australia has its own unique character. 
Fast paced action at the footy game.

Go four wheeling on the big dunes of Stockton Beach.

Get a bird's eye view of Australia's largest city.

We head out to the heart of the outback.

Visiting family and friends are an important part of our visits to Australia.

Catch up on the posts you missed then come back tomorrow as we complete the tour. It will be a lot of fun so don't miss out! If you just found us here are the other posts we posted for this year's challenge.

Our first stop was in rural New South Wales where we looked at some prehistoric history. 
 Our next stop was at the Big Banana where we went on a toboggan ride right next to a live banana plantation.
Located in the heart of Sydney, Circular Quay is very close to two of Sydney's most famous landmarks.
D is for Day at the Amusement Park:
Australia has some great theme parks and today we showed off two of our favourites
Every good tour must include some good food and ours is no exception.
See the world's largest sand island complete with lakes, rainforests and much more!
See Australia's version of Miami with beaches, shopping and more.
A beautiful city retreat in the heart of the big city.
Head up into the clouds to visit rainforests, waterfalls and more.
The historic Rocks area of Sydney is a perfect spot for a drink or three.
 Which was your favourite post from this week?
Katoomba is home to the 3 sisters formation and the worlds steepest railway.
Come check out this small town that is known for its opal mining.
One of Sydney's most popular beaches is just a short ferry ride from the city centre
Some of our favourite beaches are at Newcastle, just a couple of hours north of Sydney 
We took a Sydney Harbour cruise on a 110 year old steam ship.
 P is for Parliament House
Canberra is the capital city of Australia and we take a quick tour. 

What is your favourite post from this week?
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