Hyde Park, The Opera House and Crocodile pizza

Yesterday was a brilliant day and a perfect start to the holiday! A nice way to ease us in to the city! Firstly, we woke up early and enjoyed lovely breakfast looking out on our view and watching the morning sky and the sun rising. A joy of breakfast was being able to have some Norwegian Jarlsberg cheese as well as trying out vegemite (which would be the equivalent of Marmite). After a great shower and finally deciding on an outfit (I couldn’t decide on if it was going to be cold or hot, and how to dress accordingly) we set off towards Hyde Park!

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Hyde Park was beautiful and you could definitely spend an entire day or two there! There were so many different displays and even tours like an Aboriginal Heritage tour where they teach you about what they used to eat and use in the natural landscape of plants! The park was packed with fit Australian joggers (there were hundreds of them) and you realized that Australia is quite like Norway in the sense that they seem to be very culturally inclined to have a more healthy lifestyle! There were quite a few brides and grooms around getting their photo taken in the beautiful park too! In addition to this the family (well, at least three of us; Mum, Dad and myself) was getting very excited about spotting all the tropical birds roaming around the park! It was funny that we were getting so excited about the wildlife, when the Australians seemed not that bothered (as they are just spoilt rotten with some beautiful birds that are as common as pigeons in European cities). Birds we saw included  the Australian white Ibis, kookaburra, common myna, noisy miners, pied and black Currawong, masked lapwing, cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets. Australians not that bothered.

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It was also so lovely to see some great plants! We especially loved the Native Australian border of trees and plants! We especially got our eye in for the eucalyptus trees with their lovely smelling leaves and beautiful, white, smooth bark. Another favourite was the Australian ficus trees, which were so interesting in their build! They have roots like mangroves, which I’ve later googled to be characteristic of buttress and aerial roots. These roots are large roots on all sides of a shallowly rooted tree, common in nutrient low rainforest soils. The roots prevent the tree from falling over, being larger on the side where tree may potentially fall over on, and intertwined with buttress roots from other trees to create an intricate mesh, which may help support trees surrounding it. When the roots spread horizontally, they are able to cover a wider area for collecting nutrients. Some of the ficus trees like the Ficus macrophylla had dropping aerial roots from it’s branches, which apparently when reaching the ground thicken into supplementary trunks. We also observed some of the buttress roots connecting and creating little pools for retaining water, which the aerial roots could drop into.

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We eventually reached Mrs Maquirie’s point at the top end of the park and were greated by the magnificent sight of the opera house and city skyline. The opera house is an absolutely iconic building, and it was exhilarating to see it in person! In the park towards the lookout view you kept seeing glimpses of the massive, beautiful building set amongst the trees and greenery. At the lookout point Dad got invited in to speaking some Thai for a promotional video for some thai group, which was hilarious! They were lots of fun! I think it was some travel agency for Thai tourists, and they were running around playing lots of fun games (they were a bit older than my age, haha, but a bit of park games were still in order) and definitely adding to the atmosphere. We continued around towards the opera house, where we got distracted by some feeding cockatoos which were very friendly. Most of them were tagged with numbers, on their wings and this was part of a behavioural study, as we had seen a sign about it previously in the day in the entrance to the park. One of them was so friendly he hopped onto my hand and was waiting for me to give him some food! My favourite part of the day!

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We then decided we actually were hungry and instead of going to the Opera House we went to “The Rocks” to find a local pub I had been recommended by a fellow blogger! The area was really pretty, with more charming, older looking buildings, and even a cute market taking place that day! At “The Australian” they served a great selection of local Australian beer as well as some really cool pizzas and other dishes! I had a coconut marinated saltwater crocodile pizza topped with spinach leaves and chilli! I guess that was my first ever reptile meat, and I quite liked it! It tasted like chicken (haha, standard thing to say), but I guess that makes sense as they are closely related to birds and are cold blooded! Peter tried a kangaroo burger, and he really enjoyed it! I got a taste and thought it tasted good too so hopefully I will get an opportunity to try some soon myself! It tasted like a more gamy steak!

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We then headed to the promenade, and watched the sun set on the Opera House before headed home and catching the evening atmosphere of the city!

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