Day 2: Featherdale Wildlife Park & Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia
Day 2 was quite possibly Christopher's favorite day of our entire trip (because, kangaroos). The day started off with a boat tour of Sydney Harbour. It was absolutely AMAZING. Sadly I left my camera at the hotel for the boat tour, so I don't have any photos of that. It was a few hours and we sailed around the coastline while drinking tea and eating biscuits (some British influence there, I think). I have to be honest- I didn't want to go to Sydney. I was actually a little frustrated that Chris was SO insistent on going because I figured all big cities are basically the same and I'd rather go explore the nature- but boy was I wrong. I fell in LOVE with this place (we both did!). It is THE most beautiful city (probably why it's one of the most expensive in thew world....). I could have spent two weeks just in Sydney. In fact, one thing Chris and I have always talked about is where we want to settle down and raise our kids (England or the States). It's been an ongoing debate, and our minds change all the time about the pros and cons of both. But when we went to Sydney, we both agreed- we could totally live there forever! The city was bizarre- it reminded me of a mix of San Fransisco and Santa Barbara with all the coastline and architecture. But it had tons of British influence (yet significantly more laid back) so Chris felt right at home. It was like a California-meets-London hybrid. I mean, what more could you ask for?!
Later that day we went to go hang out with koalas and kangaroos- this part of the trip was (clearly) mostly Chris' doing :) He's been obsessed with kangaroos for as long as I can remember (I swear it's half the reason he wanted to go!) and so being able to see them up close was his absolute dream come true. It was kind of like watching a kid in a candy store. He named all the kangaroos and was pretty sure they were as excited about him as he was about them :) We ALSO got to see some koalas, which were pretty cute! Apparently they sleep something like 20 hours a day though, so they're not that exciting.... but still, adorable. And holding one was absolutely as adorable as you'd imagine- it's literally like a real life teddy bear! Christopher has been asking me for a pet kangaroo (he wants a small grey one) every day since we got back. And he still sends me photos of kangaroos at LEAST 3 times a week! We heard the Taronga Zoo was amazing and had a view of the Opera House, so we decided to make a stop there in the afternoon (even though we were absolutely exhausted and it was pouring down rain). It was a beautiful zoo, but all he really cared about was the kangaroos.... again. Even after we spent the morning with them :)
Now for the honest review- if I had to go back, I would not go back to Featherdale. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a HUGE believer in animal rights, and I had the impression that this was a huge wildlife park where the animals roamed free. But I had an INCREDIBLY hard time seeing birds in cages only 7 feet tall by 5 feet wide- they wouldn't even really be able to fly. It felt cruel. I believe there's a difference between animals who can't survive in the wild (or who are endangered) and keeping perfectly healthy animals captive for no reason. I have mixed feelings on zoos, too, for that matter- on one hand they do a lot of good conservation work and the funds help protect endangered species. Sometimes I think the awareness they raise may mitigate some of the issues I have with them. Even so, I try to limit my patronage of these kinds of places. The issue I had at Featherdale was that the cages were tiny and cramped, whereas in a zoo at least there is usually SOME room for the animals to move. Even though the koalas and kangaroos were super adorable, I definitely wouldn't recommend this place if you ever visit the area!