It’s an outback legend that Koalas don’t have ribs, but that’s not true. They have a rib cage and 11 rib pairs, vs. 13 of most other mammals. Anyway, on with it…

Sipping the great Australian wines from Red Earth Wines last week brought to mind the trip “down under” that I took with the family.   Many people mentally lump New Zealand in with Australia and try to do both countries in one trip.  Given that Australia is roughly the same size as the United States, I think there is more than enough to see and do there alone.  We were there for 2 weeks and still didn’t do it all!

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Most trips down under start in Sydney.  The Opera House is iconic and certainly a “must see”.  You can take a tour of the facility (offered in multiple languages), a backstage tour or even get tickets to a concert to fully appreciate the acoustics.

As visible as the Opera House is the Sydney Harbor Bridge.  Did you know you can climb it?

With Wifey atop Sydney Harbor Bridge

With Wifey atop Sydney Harbor Bridge

RELAX MATE– it’s probably  the safest, most well-run operation I have ever encountered.  A bit of interesting history about the bridge climb.  The genius behind the idea is Paul Cave who hosted a Young Presidents World Congress in Sydney in 1989.  It was one thing to get permission for a few well-heeled mates to do the climb, but when you decide it should be open to the PUBLIC, well, you’re in for YEARS of dealing with governments, safety groups, engineers, logistics experts – you name it!  What took Paul Cave 10 years to accomplish now takes visitors about  3 1/2 hours!   You only need to be able to walk and climb a few ladders and stairs to be able to enjoy the spectacular views from the top of the bridge.

You are given a jumpsuit to wear over your clothes, an attached jacket – everything you need to stay warm.  Everything will be attached to you (even your sunglasses) and you will be attached to the bridge.  Safe, safe, safe.

Family on top of Sydney Harbor Bridge

Family on top of Sydney Harbor Bridge

Don’t worry about not being able to bring your own camera or cellphone with you.  There are cameras strategically mounted along the route and you can get plenty of photos of you and your group.  They will be available in the gift shop at the end of the climb.  You can book your climb on line and buy your photos at that time to both save money and be sure to get a spot for this unique adventure which frequently SELLS OUT!

It’s an amazing experience and one not to be missed when in Sydney!

Wife with Koala

Wife with Koala

Another unique opportunity is only about 30 minutes outside Sydney.

Koala Park Sanctuary lets you get up close and personal with native Australian animals.  Yes, koalas, kangaroos, wombats and more!  Our family of 5 booked in advance, had a private guide.  With that, we got to go inside the koala enclosure (lots of other tourists looking puzzled as to how we got there), hand feed kangaroos, hold the wombat, participate in sheep shearing and drink Billy Tea.

Yes, you want to do all that! And if you think Koalas are are cute and cuddly, take a closer look at the claws on the one my wife is snuggling!!!

Me feeding kangaroo

Me feeding kangaroo

Without a doubt, the bridge climb and the close encounters with the animals were the highlights of Sydney for our group which ranged in age from 17 to 74. These are sure to be some of your favorite memories from your visit down under as well.  G’day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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