gleeful grandiva

creative living for big and little kids

gleeful grandiva

Category: Day Trips


zoo picture

You don’t need their long necks to see the fabulous view from Taronga Zoo


From the tiny Corroboree frog to the 3000 kg Asian elephant, if there’s an animal in danger, chances are it’s a zoo that is trying to save them.

Once the nasty ‘jailers’ of the animal kingdom, confining huge species in tiny cages for our viewing pleasure, zoos have become key players in the conservation of wildlife.

Taronga Zoo on Sydney’s north shore is a perfect example of this.

Known as the zoo with a view because of its stunning vista of Sydney Harbour, Taronga was named after the Aboriginal word for ‘beautiful view’.


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fantastic food picture

Historic Ambermere Rose Inn

It’s easy to imagine the days of old when you visit Ambermere Rose Inn at Little Hartley.

The beautiful old building, mostly built with sandstone hand cut by convicts, was for many years a coaching inn for weary travellers braving the perils of a trip over the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia.

If only those bricks could speak; they would tell stories of the brave families who stopped there on their way from Sydney to Bathurst, of people getting rich during the gold rush, and of convicts, treated as little more than slaves, fighting back by becoming bushrangers.

What is hard to picture, as you feast on beautifully prepared food sourced specifically from the best the region has to offer, is the difficulties people had getting provisions in the town of Little Hartley.

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whale picture

We had the privilege of watching a bunch of humpback whales frolic in their ocean playground outside the heads at Sydney Harbour on their way north to breed earlier this year.

According to our tour guide, they had already travelled about 3000 km to be there, with another 1000 to go – a 8000 km round trip!

You never know how these things will work out when you book. It’s impossible for the service providers to guarantee you will actually see a whale. This particular group had a deal where if you didn’t see whales you could rebook a cruise at no extra cost. However, that’s not always practical.

We were lucky. The sun was shining (it was really cold, but we rugged up) and the sea was not too choppy – despite warnings from the tour guide telling us how rough it would be out there. It took a while to find them but once we did we were treated to a spectacular show. They came to the surface regularly and we were close enough to hear the water spray from their blows, though the boat’s captain was careful to observe the regulations regarding the distance to whales. We even saw some jump and ‘wave’ with their beautiful big tail fins. In all, I guess we saw about six whales, but our boat was concentrating on the first two spotted.

whale watching picture

It was obvious the crew were as excited as we were, though they do this trip twice daily during the season and usually have decent sightings. It seems the more they see them, the more they love and respect them, taking great pains to ensure they played by the whales’ rules; whales don’t like it when boats hang out in front or behind them (we could see their agitation when other tour boats did this) but are happy to play when boats are to their side where they can be watched easily by the whales.

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