Day 15 & 16: Manly – a few days of rest

July 7th-8th

We had a couple of days to ourselves without any major activities planned.  We did make a trip to the Taronga Zoo on Monday.

This was a planned activity with the intent of taking the Hop on – Hop off Harbor cruise from stop to stop.  By this point our group had been on the ferry several times, and we took another cruise back from Featherdale too.  Plus, the cruise would have taken 2.5hrs either on the ferry or waiting for one.  So, we decided to skip the harbor cruise part and just drive to the zoo.  We did rent a car, so why not use it.  After a call to find out how we could pick up our tickets to the zoo, we discovered that we had to drive across the harbor bridge to Sydney, pick up the tickets from Darling Harbor then drive back across the bridge to the zoo.   No problem.

So, a few things you should know about driving here:
1. It’s not the right side of the street – they say it’s the correct side, but I say the other (or wrong) side.
2.  The driver sits on the right side of the car.  We have an automatic – thank goodness.  I’ve driven like this with a standard – mind-blowing!
3. We elected to use the GPS on my phone rather than renting a GPS from the rental car company.  Thanks, Phill, for that suggestion -more on that later.
4. Driving under the above listed conditions is difficult.  Try adding a non-stop talking 3yr old, navigation that is slightly delayed, roads that have multiple names – none of which are on the GPS at the right time, lanes that change based on time of day,  and one way roads that are not listed as one way on the GPS.  Good times.  Oh, and add a little morning commuter traffic.  Lovely.

We finally arrived to what we thought was the ticket office, but I can’t seem to find it.  I made 2 phone calls to the office, but still was unclear as to where I needed to go.  Finally, I discover we needed to be on the other side of the bridge.  To get there by car was going to take forever, so I decide to walk across the bridge while everyone else stayed in a no parking zone in the car.

Finally with tickets in hand, we got back on the road to the zoo.  At this point we are thinking it might have been better to just take the cruise!  Anyway, we make it there with no problem, have a little picnic lunch in the car and get underway.

Our intent was to power through the zoo as we were on a limited timeframe with winter hours being shorter.  We walk in and immediately see the giraffes being fed.  Really long tongues lashing out to grab a whole carrot from a child’s hand while zoo employees take pictures.  Every activity on this trip has photos for sale.  There is a fantastic view of the Sydney skyline and harbor bridge in the background, so we grab and quick snap, skip the long lines at the giraffes and hop over to the chimps.

Taronga Zoo with Sydney in background

The zoo is pretty great, and we saw loads of animals.  I loved the tiny baby chimp and the tiny monkey hanging in the tree just out of reach.  Also the many, many lemurs just over a bridge near a playground.  It was a good day -once we got past the stress of driving.






The drive home was only slightly stressful since my phone was about to run out of battery, and we had no idea how to get back without it.  1% battery and a 10min drive.  We made it somehow.

Bryan and I went out for a date night with Phill and Emma and had some great adult time.

The next day we had a wonderful breakfast at Phill & Emma’s favorite coffee spot – Hemingway’s.  Loads of books all over the shelves, fantastic coffee and lovely breakfast.

Then we walked over to a favorite playground on the Manly Lagoon. The kids had a great time and played for ages.  Then we walked back along the beach admiring the amazing views for the last time.  Then back to pack, make dinner and do loads and loads of laundry.

Another bright and early morning and 1/2 day of traveling ahead. Up next…Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef!

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