Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sydney: Explore 4 Pass

With koalas on my mind, I wandered over to the ticket counter at Sydney Wildlife World.  I decided to purchase the Explore 4 Pass for $49.99.  It provides single entry to Wildlife World, Sydney Aquarium, SydneyTower and OceanWorld Manly.  Since Wildlife World and the Aquarium are adjacent to each other and SydneyTower was just up the street, I figured I could get my money's worth.  It wasn't going to be feasible to get back over to Manly to see what they have over at OceanWorld.  Maybe next time.  The lady at the ticket counter told me that it generally takes people about an hour and a half to go through each.  Seemed like an excellent use of 4.5 hours of my time.

First up was Wildlife World.  They have all sort of creatures here, including butterflies, insects, snakes, lizards, crocodiles, birds and marsupials.  This venue is distinct from the Taronga Zoo, which is much larger.  Nonetheless, I was pleased with the breadth of animals Wildlife World had to offer.  Plus, it is conveniently located in the city.

The first habitat was for butterflies.  Hundreds of them were flying about but a few of them landed on these platforms which made for an easier photo op.

Next up were invertebrates (or spineless animals).  They had a ton of these creepy crawlers, including one that had me particularly spooked.  This would be the funnel web spider, the most venomous spider in the world.  They are found in the Sydney area and, although they are not aggressive unless approached/cornered, the bite of the male can kill you in less than a half hour.  Yikes.  They did develop an anti-venom in the 1980's, so there have not been any deaths in about 30 years.  The funnel web that they have on display was hiding on me, so I looked it up online and here's a picture of what they look like:

After being sufficiently creeped out by the spiders, I found little solace in the next habitat: snakes.  Wildlife World has many highly venomous snakes, as well as the most venomous snake in the world, the inland taipan.
Inland Taipan
Once past these snakes, I found some other reptiles to observe.  There were these mini-alligator like creatures that were obsessed with watching me.  I bet they would nibble on my finger if they had the chance.  Also on display was the largest lizard in Australia, the perentie.  It can get up to 6.5 ft long.
He's got his eye on me
On my way over to the marsupials, I came across Rex.  Rex is a monster at 16.4 ft.  It was a nice way to end the reptile exhibit with a bang.

On my way over to the kangaroos, I spotted a huge bird.  Reading the signage, I learned that he was a Southern Cassowary.  Also hanging out were a bunch of Yellow-footed Rock Wallabys and two Laughing Kookaburras.  They are known for their call, which is famously displayed in the Tarzan movies.
Southern Cassowary
Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby
Laughing Kookaburra
Finally, I made it to the kangaroo habitat.  Ordinarily, you can interact with them because it is all open, but it was pretty hot at this point and the trainer told me that "all the 'roos were hanging out in the corner being lazy".  Cute nonetheless right?

The koala habitat was the final one and also the clear highlight for me.  These little guys are adorable.  A few things I learned about them is that the have a special lining in their digestive tract that allows them to digest eucalyptus leaves that are actually toxic.  Eucalyptus leaves are also not very nutritious, so koalas' "sluggish, dopey nature is a survival mechanism, as the koala cannot afford to waste precious energy on a big brain or active lifestyle".  They also don't really have a natural predator.  I seriously loved these guys.  I spent an inordinate amount of time watching them, even though they were mostly just sleeping.  At one point, one woke up and stared right at me.  How cute?!!

Putting my Explore 4 Pass to good use, I next headed to the Aquarium.  Although there were a myriad of fish and shark habitats all unique to the oceans surrounding Australia, I was a little annoyed at the crowd.  The Aquarium is a linchpin in the Sydney tourism industry so I'm not surprised it was so crowded even though it was only a Wednesday.  However, I found myself making my way around more quickly than I did in Wildlife World.  Here are a few of the highlights:

Completing my Explore 4 Pass, was my trip to SydneyTower.  SydneyTower is the highest point in the city.  One level is the circular, wall to wall glass observatory.  Obviously, GREAT panoramic shots.  Also on the observatory level is an attraction called Oztrek, which is a virtual tour of Australia.  I wanted to do this but it was closed because of renovations.  Not pleased.  You can also upgrade your ticket to include something called SkyWalk.  In the SkyWalk, they harness you in and then you're able to actually step out on a clear platform high above the city.  There is also a restaurant below the observatory if you are interested in dining amidst beautiful views of Sydney.  Here are the best shots I took this day.

After the tower, I decided to walk back to the hotel.  I took a route that led me up George Street, which is very well known because of all its good shopping.  I purchased a few souvenirs and also got myself some jewelry from a store called Diva.  I was so beat after all of my adventures that I found myself ordering room service once I got back.  The next day would be my last in Sydney.  I had an 8am meeting and was free for a few hours before I needed to head back to the airport.  You better bet that I made the most of those few hours.  Stay tuned for my last post on Sydney, where I explore the Sydney Opera House and Botanical Gardens.


  1. The roos and koalas are too cute! I used to have a stuffed animal koala who looked just like the little guys, minus those crazy claws. I just want to hug them!

  2. yea, loved seeing all the animals. obsessed! glad you're making it through all my Sydney posts! Only one more to go!

  3. The koalas are adorable! I love them! Too bad you couldn't play with the kangas.

    Could have done w/o the huge spidey pic :) heeeeeebie jeeeeeeeebies.