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Sunday, 20 June 2021

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Australia Harbour From Airplane.
 
Location: Sydney, Australia
Address:  Bennelong Point
Date:  May 2012
Website:  www.sydneyoperahouse.com

  As our plane made its approach into Sydney airport we caught a glimpse of one of the world's most recognizable buildings.  Sticking out into the harbour is the famous Sydney Opera House.  The opera house has been completed since 1973 and was deemed a UNESCO heritage site in 2007.  While we never did make it inside the building, we had a chance to admire its exterior up close.

Sydney Opera House Australia

  The opera house is designed to look like a group of shells or sails.  It was designed by Jorn Utzon who was the winner of a design competition.  
 
The exterior of the Sydney Opera House Australia

    When we walked up close to the  Opera House we could really appreciate the design and work that was involved in its construction.
 
The exterior of the Sydney Opera House Australia

    You would expect it to be something exceptional since it was only anticipated to take 4 years and 7 million dollars to build but ended up taking 14 years and costing 102 million dollars.

The exterior of the Sydney Opera House Australia

    The building looks different from every angle. 

Sydney Opera House Australia From Across The Harbour

    From across the harbour it appears almost as if the groups of sails can fold down onto each other .

Sydney Opera House Australia At Night

    In the evening, the Opera House is lit to highlight the curves of the sails against the dark Australian night.  We can only imagine what the building looks like inside, but it is definitely worth a visit just to admire its exterior. 


Map of Our World
Sydney Opera House

Post # 300

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Uluru

Uluru Ayers Rock in the Centre of Australia
 
 Location: Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia
Address: 3 Yulara Drive
Date: May 2012
Website: parksaustralia.gov.au
 
  Uluru is located right in the red centre of Australia.  The giant sandstone rock is a sacred spot for the aboriginal people of the region.  Uluru is also known as Ayers Rock when it was named after Sir Henry Ayers who was the Chief Secretary of South Australia.  We prefer the original name.  During our Australian trip we spent a couple of days and nights exploring the area around Uluru.

Kata Tjuta Uluru

   We stayed at a place called Emu Walk Apartments.  In the distance we could see Uluru and another important group of rock formations called Kata Tjuta.

Kata Tjuta

  Kata Tjuta is made up of about 36 domed rock formations that jut out of the earth. We took a tour which gave us the opportunity to see some of these formations up close.

One Of Kata Tjuta's Valleys
  
   We walked into one of the valleys that is formed between the domes.  You can see how the sandstone rock is shaped by rainwater running down its walls.  While the mass of rock was impressive we had hoped to see some of the desert's little creatures on our walk.  We would have to wait until we returned to our apartment.
 
Crested Pigeon

  As we entered the property a few crested pigeons ran across the walkway.  These pigeons seemed to prefer running around to get out of our way rather than take flight.

Spider In Uluru Australia

    As we walked through the apartments, a spider was spinning a web right at face level.  We are glad we noticed it in time.  We snapped a photo in case a doctor needed to see it later and carefully passed by making sure we didn't get tangled in the web.  Australia is full of deadly insects and spiders.  We are not the best at identification so we just generally avoid everything that crawls or slithers.  We believe this is an orbweaver spider which, while its bite might be painful, is thankfully not deadly.  If anyone reading this knows otherwise please post in the comments.
 
Caterpillar In Uluru Australia
 
   Outside on the ground we found another fuzzy critter.  Australia is known for having processionary caterpillars that follow each other in long lines across the desert.  This caterpillar was all alone so we don't know if later it would join up with a group for a game of follow the leader.

Uluru Camel Tour Camels Sit On Ground

  The next morning we had our own version of follow the leader.  We had signed up for a sunrise camel tour.  The tour started in the dark so that we could be out on the trail when the sun finally started to rise.

Sunrise In Uluru Australia

   When the sun did rise there was a beautiful orange glow that grew from beyond the horizon.

Wild Camel On Hill Uluru

  We noticed a large animal walking along the top ridge of a hill.  It turned out to be another camel.  This camel wasn't an escapee from a camel tour, it was a feral camel.  Dromedary (single humped) camels were brought to Australia's desert for transportation back in the19th century.  Today, close to a million wild camels roam Australia.

Wild Camel Near Uluru Australia

  We also saw other wild camels walking beside the road when we travelled to Kata Tjuta.

Camel Rides Uluru Australia.

  The camels on our tour we not so wild.  They followed each other slowly and steadily.  Everyone was riding two people per camel. 

Uluru Camel Tours

  Our camel had a bit of an itchy head and took any opportunity to rub against the camel in front of us.

Camel From Uluru Camel Tours

   Our camel was named Chester.  As the guides called him it is pronounced "Chestah!"  It is quite high up sitting on top of a camel. When they sit down they fold their legs underneath them.  This means the riders are tilted way forward as the front legs fold under and then levelled out again as the back legs fold.  The process is the same for when the camel stands up.  Chester did a good job and we remained in our saddles the entire time.

Uluru Sunset

  After an early morning of camel riding, we had plans for a late night too.  We headed to Uluru to watch the sunset.

Sunset BBQ Near Uluru.

  There were some tables set up so we could enjoy a meal and some drinks while the sun went down.  We hate to admit it, but the kangaroo was tasty. After dinner we would look up at the sky and see the stars in the reverse of how we are used to seeing them in the Northern Hemisphere.  

Desert Mouse Near Uluru.

  During dinner we had a few friends scurrying under the table looking for scraps.  Uluru is known for having the cute Spinifex Hopping Mouse.  We are quite sure our visitors were just regular mice.

Uluru From Ayers Rock Airport.

   Our time in Uluru came to an end and we caught one last glimpse of the giant rock formation as our plane started down the runway.  We had seen some creatures big and small and even more reasons why Australia is such an unusual and special place.


Map of Our World
Uluru Camel Tours
Emu Walk Apartments , Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Post # 299

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Assiniboine Park

Assiniboine Park Zoo Entrance

Location: Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Address: 55 Pavilion Crescent
Date: Oct 2014
Website: www.assiniboinepark.ca

 Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba is more than just a park.  We were in Winnpeg as part of a trip to Churchill, Manitoba to see polar bears. We were in Assiniboine Park to see more polar bears and the other annimals of the Assiniboine Zoo.  Before we even reached the zoo, we soon realized that there were lots of animals to see throughout the park.
 
The Pavilion in Assiniboine Park

    The Pavilion is a beautiful building that operates as an art gallery. Admission was free and we went inside to take a look.  We knew already that the building contained one of the world's most famous bears.
 
Pooh Gallery Assiniboine Park

    The second floor has a gallery dedicated to Winnie the Pooh.  Winnie the Pooh was a black bear cub from Ontario who was rescued by a Canadian Lieutenant called Harry Colebourn.  The bear was named Winnie after Harry's hometown of Winnipeg.

Statue of Winnie The Bear and Harry Colebourn

    Just outside of The Pavilion is a statue dedicated to Winnie and Harry.  Winnie was eventually taken to England and lived in the London Zoo.


Winnie The Pooh dolls Assiniboine Park

  A.A. Milne wrote the famous books about Winnie the Pooh. The stories included his own son, Christopher Robin and his dolls.  The bear doll was named Winnie after visiting the real Winnie at her home in the London Zoo.  Above are some early Winnie the Pooh dolls.

Assiniboine Park Gallery Art
 
    The other floors of the gallery contained art from other artists from Manitoba and highlighted the culture and history of the province.
 
Assiniboine Park Polar Bear Art

    There were more bears of course, such as this polar bear that was part of a collection of nature paintings.  This painting reminded us that we were still headed to the zoo to see some real bears.
 
Serpent Bush Assiniboine Park

  Next to The Pavilion is a Nature Playground.  We found more creatures here all made of wood and plants.  There was a serpent.   

Yak Bush Assiniboine Park
Sheep Bush Assiniboine Park

    There was also a yak bush and a sheep with big googly eyes.

Winnie The Pooh Assiniboine Park

    Just in case you had not yet had your fill of bears or Winnie the Pooh, there was a bear shaped bush.  We had not yet had enough so we headed over to spend the day at the zoo.

Red River Ox Cart Assiniboine Park

   After a long but enjoyable day at the zoo we headed back to our hotel.  As we left the park we saw one last animal.  A giant ox sculpture sits at the entrance to the park.  This ox is pulling a Red River cart which was used for early trade, travel and work in Winnipeg.  One last history lesson that didn't involve bears before we ended our day.


Map of Our World
Nature Playground , Red River Ox Cart 
The Pavilion At Assiniboine Park 

Post # 298