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Published: August 29th 2011
Day 3 Wednesday
We had decided to keep this day relaxed after being so busy the past few days. While i checked emails, Ifan went out and booked us train tickets to Tamworth for the coming Saturday. At 60 dollars each it worked out at just 38 British pounds to do a distance of around 400 Km...bargain!
We headed on down the the Royal Botanic Gardens. Originally established in 1816 as the colony's vegetable patch, the gardens are now one of Sydney's favourite green places where visitors are actively encouraged to "please walk on the grass, smell the roses, hug the trees and picnic on the lawns". Quite a difference to "KEEP OFF THE GRASS" signs back home! We did as we were told and had a picnic on the grass. We were accompanied by some Ibis (the stork like birds I mentioned previously) who did their best to look nonchalant but swooped down greedily on any tit-bits thrown for them. We also saw what we think is the Australian magpie.
As we walked around the gardens, little plaques told us what the trees and plants were and where to find them throughout Australia. We came across a laughing kookaburra who obligingly let me get close enough for a picture, and overlooking the harbour we found some cockatoos who decided they would very much like to say hello to the camera. Other wildlife included moorhens, which I think they call swamphens over here, Rosellas (brightly coloured little parakeet type birds) and the resident bat colony. Apparently they are grey-headed flying foxes and park management periodically try to oust them from the gardens as they destroy vegetation. Thankfully they stick around and despite the pong of guano, I think they belong.
During the winter the sun sets fast around 5.30pm and this is when the gardens close to visitors. As the sun set, we headed out and back around to Circular Quay to book a whale watching trip for myself (Ifan has no interest in "big fish") for the coming Friday. Humpback whales are right in the middle of their southern migration at the moment so the success rate of seeing them are around 98%. Here's hoping!
On our way back through town we stopped off in Dymock's bookstore. I bought myself book on whales and dolphins around Australia and New Zealand. It cost me $30 which is about 19 pounds back home......I don't think I'll be buying many books here! For dinner we stopped off at Mother Chu's vegetarian kitchen (Ifan's suggestion!) which was a family run chinese restaurant, followed by a couple of beers at the pub before bed :0)
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