Sparkling Sydney is a whale of a time
Sticking his neck out to enjoy the view.Even on the dullest of days, Sydney Harbour invigorates the soul, providing among the world’s most spectacular vistas.
When dawn cracks on a still, clear winter’s day you know that the harbour and its immediate surrounds are going to provide a real treat — that you should engage in that totally futile exercise of trying to make time stand still.
We were checking Captain Cook Cruises’ new combo offer that consists of a ferry trip on the excellent hop-on hop-off Sydney Harbour Explorer from Darling Harbour or Circular Quay to Taronga Park, a ride to the top of the zoo on the cable-car for a morning pretty much of doing whatever you’d like, followed by a whale-watching cruise, mostly outside Sydney Heads, in the afternoon.
The only real problem I can see with the arrangement is that you only have time for a taste of the zoo, and that you really need a couple of days there to take it all in, to see all the animals and attend most of the lectures and the shows.
The best approach is to work out in advance a few things that you want to do with your morning, stick to that plan and, above all, don’t attempt too much. Relax, take your time and involve yourself with a few animals rather than try to see the lot.
Just so swift, strong, agile and willing to be genuinely funny.
We spent quite a bit of time watching giraffes and, by the time we’d got seats, probably an hour or so watching the seal show. What a blast those guys are — just so swift, strong, agile and willing to be genuinely funny.
All in all, our apparent shortage of animal time may be explained by our choice to spend an hour or so having lunch at The View, the zoo’s classy restaurant, which certainly has one of the best outlooks in Sydney, with stunning harbour and city panoramas.
The top address in town … looking from Taronga Park to theharbour and the city.
And it has food to match the view, especially a shared entrée of spicy spanner-crab cakes that were served with tomato salsa and a smoky paprika aioli. Absolutely delicious.
My main course of a 200-gram sirloin steak, cooked perfectly to medium-rare, suffered only from chips that were a tad of the greasy side. The Woman with Altitude’s other entrée-cum-main-course of chicken-liver paté, with a bit of salad and chutney, was exactly what she was looking for before an afternoon on the real ocean.
And, boy, did those whales turn it on for us and 40-50 other tourists seeking a dose of cetacean action.
Time to go … but only for a few minutes.
It took only a few minutes outside the heads before the first holler of “tharshe blows” and pretty soon there were humpbacks of both sides of the boat, not very far away and obviously keen to impress.
They seemed quite aware that people were there to watch them and they obviously didn’t want to disappoint, turning on a fine display of breaching and tail-slapping.
The rules are fairly simple. Vessels can approach within a range of a couple of hundred metres, but that doesn’t stop whales from choosing to come much closer than that, in which the case vessels must remain as still as possible.
‘Thar she blows’ … cetacean action just outside the heads.
It was only when a much smaller, speedier boat clearly breached those rules, that the whales seemed to become a bit skittish.
Captain Cook offers guests a guarantee of a free cruise if they return without having seen a whale, but there was absolutely no chance of anyone claiming that benefit this day.
Visit www.captaincook苏州夜网.auand taronga苏州桑拿.au/taronga-zoo
John was a guest of Captain Cook Cruises and Taronga Zoo