Sydney Visits (Powerhouse Museum, Taronga Zoo, Sydney Tower)
Returning from Cairns we planned to spend a few days in Sydney to explore a bit more and spend some time visiting with Frances and Michael. We are getting comfortable enough to leave the car and take the trains and ferries – takes the stress out of commuting and eliminates the need for parking. The Powerhouse Museum has long been on our list of things to do and we thoroughly enjoyed the time there. We have long been members at the Manitoba Museum and Winnipeg Zoo back home and have found in our travels here that memberships, rather than one-time admissions, are often worth the cost. This was the case with the Powerhouse – even more so when we found that rural residents (like us) receive a SIGNIFICANT discount! We can now pop in to the museum whenever we are in Sydney, can use the members lounge, and get discounts to special exhibits like the Game Masters we saw this time. Game Masters is an exhibit of video games from its’ origins to today – game design and development, art and planning, lots to see. Frankly, the first section of 1980s arcade games had me hooked. So many old familiar games that I haven’t seen for almost 30 years still evoked muscle memory that allowed me to rack up quite a few high scores on several machines! It was interesting to see kids marvel at their parents’ skills on these old machines and their frustration when they couldn’t match their parents’ score. We did get out of that exhibit and explored other parts of the museum appreciating the vast open spaces and large artifacts. We also managed to find the members lounge and enjoyed a rest on some comfortable couches, a cup of coffee and a bikkie. As far as the membership goes, it has already paid for itself because the rural discount was less than what we would have paid for general admission. Any subsequent visits will make it all the more worthwhile. We also took the chance while in Sydney to train/ferry to the Taronga zoo. Having just been on the sky train over the rain forest in Cairns we didn’t bother with the sky train over the zoo and just walked up to the entrance. It is a great sprawling zoo with some amazing animals we don’t get to see in our own home zoo – like giraffes, hippos, elephants, platypuses (Platypii? Platypodum?) and a good variety of reptiles. Occasionally we would turn a corner on the path and get a spectacular view of the harbour with the bridge and opera house gleaming in the sun – another, “look where we are!!” moment. We also purchased a membership here as it will also get us in to the Dubbo Zoo which is supposed to be pretty terrific and much closer to home than Sydney. One of the memberships we purchased when we first got to Australia was to the Merlin group of attractions. The aquarium and animal attractions are worthwhile and educational. The wax museum is a little goofy but fun – with the membership we can pop in and run through without worrying about seeing everything. This membership also gets us in to the Sydney Tower Eye which we did this time through. Great views of the city from a unique vantage point high above everything else. While we were in the central business district (the CBD) we also found some neat markets with tons of fresh veg, seafood, and cheap tourist chachkies that, for the most part, we refrained from purchasing! We enjoyed a couple of meals out on the town – something we really don’t do when we are home. One night we hunted and gathered some comestibles from the market and enjoyed some time in the kitchen preparing a meal we could all share while we visited with Frances and Michael. It was a great evening with lots of laughs and stories. Another night Frances made it possible for Alicia and I to get out for an anniversary dinner which we really appreciated. On the drive back home we went through wine country making note of places we’d like to visit next!