|Petting a kangaroo at the Taronga Zoo|
|View across Sydney Harbour|
|Inside the Opera House|
|Wine tasting at the Hope Estate|
|The giraffes have the best view!|
You can also book a harbour cruise without tea on the same ship, but you are standing at the top of the boat, rather than being seated inside the dining room. I loved having space to spread out and enjoy my meal while watching the sights go by. An added bonus was that the boat went from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour. I did not know this in advance, but you could actually get off in Darling Harbour, or ride it back to the original departure location. This worked out nicely for us because we got off in Darling Harbour and had time to do some shopping near our hotel for souvenirs!
After packing up our suitcases, we headed back out later that night to try some of the local delicacy, kangaroo, for dinner! The meat was good, very similar to steak… more importantly, I can now say that I pet a kangaroo and ate a kangaroo in the same day (but not the same kangaroo, thankfully).
We were headed to Auckland this afternoon, so we only had a few hours in the morning to pick up some last minute items in the city before going to the airport. The flight was longer than I expected (though it seemed to fly by after the long haul from the US) and there was a time zone change. We went back and forth over renting a car or taking a taxi, but since we had at least a few day trips planned for the next few days, we decided to rent a car. I’m glad we did this because the airport was pretty far from the city, especially when you don’t arrive until late at night. By the time we got our car and got the hotel, Rendezvous Auckland, it was after 1 AM. Fortunately we didn’t have an early morning planned for the next day… I was starting to feel a bit exhausted at this point!
|A view of Auckland from Mount Eden Summit|
That afternoon we took a bus out to Eden Garden at Mount Eden Summit. While the gardens themselves were beautiful, I cannot recommend coming here to visit via public transportation. We wasted a lot of time getting from Auckland to the gardens and then only had about 30 minutes or so to walk around and look at the flowers. Even if we had better transportation, I'm not sure this is a good place as a single destination. If you were stopping here on the way to something else, that may a better use of your time. We had dinner near our hotel that evening.
|Walking through the vineyards|
We paid for our lunch separately, but the tour company was able to make the reservation for us at Mudbrick. I wish we would have planned that stopped a little better because we were rushed to do both the wine tasting and have lunch. After a full-day of drinking wine and sight-seeing, we decided to eat dinner at one of the restaurants with outdoor seating near the Sky hotel.
The second part of our tour was exploring rock formations in a much larger, drive cave. There was a small section with glow worms near the top, but no where near as awesome as in the first cave. I did like that we could walk around in this cave and see some old bones from where animals died.
This was expensive, but definitely worth it. We didn't see the "main cave" that most of the tourists visit because we were ready for our long drive back to the hotel and a full next day.
The next day we headed back to Sydney and checked into our hotel on Coogee beach to do the beach walk to Bondi Beach. It was a relaxing last day in Sydney and a great way to pack and prepare for our trip back home.
Our flight back to the US left in the morning on our last day in Sydney, so we watched the sunrise over the ocean before grabbing an Uber from the hotel pretty early and said farewell to the Land Down Under. It was another long flight back (this time in coach since I could recover in the comfort of my own home), but we did gain back the day we lost on the way over. Time zones are a very cool thing!