Camping outings have had more auspicious starts. This is the weather we drove out into on Saturday.
Initially, we were poo-pooing the pattering of rain, but as the whole thing started to turn a bit Biblical on us on the motorway we sat there considering options: if it doesn't stop, turn back, or drive home at the end of the day, or sleep in the car.
Amazingly, there was enough of a let-up when we checked into the campsite to put the tent up with minimal wetting to the inner layer. The Mr was out in the rain hammering in the pegs topless to conserve clothing dryness (hey, let it rain, I say). We just blew up the mattresses (in an inflated sort of way, rather than an explosive one), covered them with tarps and waterproofs in case the tent leaked while we were out, and left the rest of the stuff in the car, toothbrushes and pyjamas on top. Here they are setting out from the campsite.
Went into central Sydney and did the Aquarium/ Wildlife centre run again. She never seems to tire of it. Our annual passes have been fantastic, we've used them again and again but they are coming to an end in June so this might be the last time for a little while we do the run. We almost know all the animals by name by now. Oh, and they still had the Lego exhibits up... and Lara insisted on posing with all the models to have her photo taken.
Disco Bear comes everywhere these days...and poses in diving helmets, too.
... Incidentally, I discovered just the other day (courtesy of Mr Billy Bryson) that Moby Dick initially came out entitled 'The Whale'...
Lara and Disco Bear indulge in a boxing match to emulate the Lego kangaroo.
Frilled lizards, real and not.
The Big Croc
Raining in the kangaroo enclosure so they were all gathered here, they looked as if they were chilln' at a bar.
Snogging a wombat
Once we'd seen our fill (for the moment) of curious creatures, we tromped off through the rain to Chinatown for dinner. And, Oh, hurrah, hurrah, we were able to order three fairly mild but nevertheless interesting dishes, and the Non had some of all of them, and enjoyed them! It's not an absolutely exclusive diet of plain boiled veg and chunks of meat any more! Long may variety prosper. It may be a while before we get her to the Vindaloos but it's a start. Tried both Dim Sum and spring rolls, and declared she liked the former but not the latter... Still, she did try, at least.
It was gone 7 by this time and normally she'd be heading off to bed, but not tonight. It was onwards and upwards (literally) to the Observatory, where I'd booked a tour.
Hmmmm.... How can I put this. It wasn't quite what you would expect it to be. There was almost no-one there, and I'm not entirely surprised. Was looking forward no end to the planetarium, and was stunned to be ushered into a room about the size of an average bedroom, with something like a photographer's umbrella in the middle and beanbags in a circle underneath it. Here they did a projection of the night sky and there was a guy giving a talk. Now, hats absolutely off to the staff for super-friendliness and willingness to please, they were gorgeous. But is was a million-dollar service on a ten pence budget. We also saw the 'oldest telescope in the Southern Hemisphere' (unfortunately the guy here was garrulous as a cockatoo and really couldn't tell a story straight but still, it was interesting). The Non got her face painted with the rabbit in the moon, and made a 'Saturn' with a Styrofoam ball and a CD disc (oh shit, I think the Mr must have driven off to work with that thing still in the glove compartment...) We also saw a couple of 3D movies in their little theatre, which were amusing – it was the first 3D experience for all of us. In short, nice to go to once but I don't think it's going to be a regular port of call.
Painting her 'Saturn' at the Observatory, and bunny-features.
I didn't look what time it was by the time we made our way across Sydney and got to the campsite, but it must have been well past 11. Never have we had so little trouble putting the Non to bed. Dived, she did. Positively dived.
Even more astonishingly, the tent hadn't leaked, despite continual downpours throughout the day. And it had finally cleared up.
Sunday breakfast at the campsite was accompanied by rainbow lorikeets and kookaburras who made no bones about wanting a share of our meal. The Lane Cove campsite where we stayed is really quite amazing for wildlife: it's much more densely populated than a natural woodland due to the superabundance of food... and with all the nice sort of animals you'd want to encounter, not red bellied black snakes and so on. Lorikeets, cockatoos, bush tailed possums (though we didn't see any this time round, we were barely around during the night), and some indigenous 'hopparoo' as the Mr calls them. About the size of a rabbit, hops along on hind legs and scurries, indifferent brown in colour, pointy nose, random length of supportive tail and generally very likely to be concealing a pouch. Didn't see those this time round, either, but the bird population more than made up for it. We didn't offer them bacon and eggs but they sure liked toast and hot cross bun.
Taronga zoo on Sunday. It was a bit of a question whether we would follow through on the plan and go, because there was a certain noticeable degree of … tiredness... but we decided to go for it and it all turned out very nicely. In fact, so nicely that at the end of the day we upgraded our tickets to an annual pass – as long as we go once more by this time next year we'll have almost used the money's worth, and if that doesn't happen I'll eat the proverbial hat off my head.
Komodo Dragon - ridden by the Merewether Beast
Trust Lara to sniff out the reptile show and get her hands on the python.
The giraffes have the best view for miles around, and so does the bird show ground. Here's the guy with the 'Barny Owl'.
The 'Free Flight' show was great, with the usual owls and other raptors as well as a cleptomaniac gallah, trained chickens and storks, black and white cockatoos, and even and Andean condor, all behaving perfectly in the skies over Sydney.
The condor and a flock of Black Cockatoos
Fundraiser at the end, where you give a coin to the cockatoo and it drops it in a box. And a snog from a gorilla afterwards.
Kid's zoo feeding time, always a favourite.
Tree kangaroo, and some stunning pics the Mr took of the tiger: 'Such a Chospcat!'
Mr Tapier was out and about!
Cable car back up to the top
So here we are, Monday morning, the Mr's gone off to work, the Littles is rolling around the place playing her DS, I'm sitting here uploading pictures, the house is an unspeakable shambles and there's a garage-full of damp camping equipment that needs drying, cleaning and putting away. I guess I'd better get going.