Posts Tagged ‘animals’


It’s hard to believe, but I have been living in Australia for a little over 2 years now. Where has all the time gone? It has taken some work, but I do believe I am finally getting the hang of living here.

Father knows best

In my opinion , Oz is a lot like America in the 1950’s, only tech savvy.  It’s a much slower pace most of the time, everyone is very friendly, and you can take most people at their word. The Aussie motto is “No worries Mate”, and they mean it. When I first got here, even though it is a different country, for me there was only a little culture shock.  Thanks to the fact that Australia is an English-speaking country (for the most part) and the fact that we get a lot of American TV here, Oz is a lot like the States.  Most Aussies could understand me, I just had to work on understanding what they were saying. Besides the Aussie accent, they do have their own lingo here that was rather confusing to me, until Gene, my own private personal interpreter, would translate.


The first time I heard that a man was “nursing” a child, I thought for sure Aussie men were very different from regular men.  I wanted to see this special male breastfeed a baby.  As it turned out, in Oz, to be “nursing” someone means you are taking care of them.



Since we are on the topic of babies, a nappy is a diaper, not a short amount of sleep, and asking a baby about his/her dummy is not a question about their intellect, but instead a discussion about their pacifier.

parramatta club

If we are going to a hotel, in most cases that means we are going to a pub to drink, but it can also mean a place we could get a room for the night.  A “club” is not only for dancing, like it is in the States, but instead it is the Aussie version of a VFW hall, only a whole lot better.

slot machine

They always have a café, and most have “poker machines”, or “pokies”, which are what Americans call slot machines. I am not really a fan of these clubs, but Gene really loves them. You can get a really cheap meal, but in my opinion, all the food in all the clubs are all the same.

WildLife Place 021

Since my move here, we have had only one visitor from the States, and that was my BFF Mary, from Detroit.  In her infinite wisdom, she summed up Oz in one word.  Adequate. This is the perfect word to describe Australia.  I am not saying that being adequate is a bad thing.  Aussies get just what they need, and usually no more.  That is one reason we go food shopping 3 to 4 times a week. Why buy extra when you can make another trip to the store and get it fresh?

Unit sweet Unit

Unit sweet Unit

A lot of things are much smaller than I was used to.  Take housing.  This is a photo of our “unit”, or townhouse. There are a lot of “units” (or apartments, condos, or townhouses) everywhere, and they keep building more.  There are single family homes, but the majority of them are what we in America would call small.  Like us, it is very common to have only a one car garage, (not a 1 ½ car) even if you are a two car family.  I just want to know where they keep all their stuff.  One of Gene’s sisters’ lives in what I call an “American” house. For Aussie standards, it is large, with big front and back yards. I say it is just about right.

macca's sign

Their serving size are also much smaller here.  A large drink at “Macca’s” (pronounced mack-ers) would be considered a small in America.


I had to get use to everyone driving on the wrong side of the road, and all the roundabouts.  It is very strange to sit in the front seat of a car on the left side, and not have a steering wheel in front of me.  I have driven a little here, and I am not a fan of how narrow most of the lanes are. Again, the adequate thing. I keep saying I just need to get out there and practice, but for once in my life, I am enjoying having my own personal chauffeur. I just can’t get Gene to wear the little hat that goes with the uniform.



When I’m asked what I miss most about the US, my first answer is always Taco Bell. Yeah, I know.  It should be family and friends, which I do miss, but I also miss the fact that I can’t just go through the drive thru any time of the day or night to get one of my favorite foods.  I have reserved myself to the fact that Oz is not a place for Mexican food, so I make it at home when I get a craving to make a run for the border.  I do Skype with my family and friends, so in some cases, I talk to them more now than I did when I lived there.

tomato sauce


Oz tom sauce

Another thing I miss is being able to find certain things in the stores.  One example is tomato sauce.  To an Aussie, tomato sauce is ketchup, and American tomato sauce does not exist in Oz. To compromise, I’ve learned to substitute tomato puree instead.

I also miss the fact that not every store gives you a bag for your purchases.


One thing that I will never understand, is their electrical outlets, or what they call power points.  For some reason they turn off the power points when they are not in use.  I am assuming that Aussies think the power may leak out when they are not looking, so they turn them off.

T2 006

They have wonderful tea shops that I frequent quite a bit, and my tea collection has grown to 60+ teas.  Aussies still look at me funny when I tell them my drink of choice is Ice tea, but I am hopeful that one day they will realize that they there are other ways to have your tea besides white (with milk) or  black (no milk).

rainbow lor.

Cockie & bridge


I also love the fact that there are beautiful animals here.  There are all kinds of birds all over the place, and my favorites are the rainbow lorikeets, and the cockatoos.

All dressed up for that night out!

All dressed up for that night out!

I also love the fact that fairy penguins also call Oz home.  They are the closest thing to a munchkin here, so they fit right in.

Koala Park 17

One of the things I really enjoy doing is going to some of the wildlife parks, and have lunch with some of my truly Aussie friends.  That’s something I never got to do in America.

winter car

Some things I don’t miss are having to be at work, and bad weather. Sydney has pretty mild weather, and never gets snow, so that makes me a VERY happy camper.  When I moved here, I was thrown into an early retirement, because I was not allowed to work.


Now I spend my days doing what I want to do, and not what a boss thinks I should do.  I like this way much better. Here’s a photo of me and the girls at one of the knitting groups I belong to.



Nice weather makes taking public transport not seem like a bad thing.  Instead of driving a car, I do take the buses and ferries to get where I’m going, and I also do my fair share of walking. I guess now that I have the time, I don’t mind leaving the car at home.  That would have never happened back in the States.  That, or living in a house without a heating system.  Even when I lived in Las Vegas, smack dab in the middle of a desert, we had a furnace, and we used it.  Here, we don’t have one…  Yet.

Fiji 169

I gave Gene one winter to see if I could handle it being cold in the house, and the answer is no.  So to put off getting a heating system this year, Gene is taking me on trips while it’s winter here. I must admit I like his way of thinking.

I have gotten use to this lifestyle, and I will be the first to admit, I am really enjoying it here.  It is a slower pace, everyone is laid back, and it is a very peaceful place to live.  I do miss America at times, but that’s what the airlines are for. For now I plan on staying here as long as possible, and enjoying my new life.  Gene and I do love to have visitors use our guest room, so if you are so inclined, feel free to plan a trip down under. We would love to show you around all the places that are on my “What to show visitors” list.  And if you’re lucky, my truly Aussie friends or our munchkins will fit you into their busy schedules.


No worries Mate


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Like any other mother or head of the household, Mother Nature likes to do some “spring cleaning” every now and again.  This time she chose summer here in Oz.  Being a woman, she is good at multi tasking, so she can take care of as much business as she can in a short amount of time.  While she turned up the heat this summer, she has also decided to add some light shows to remind us mere mortals who’s in charge.


The Australian summer is the peak season for bushfires, and are a natural phenomenon that occur all year round. When the mercury hits over 104°F (40° C), the heat ignites wildfires that spread extensively, engulfing farms, forests, homes, and wildlife sanctuaries.

bush fires3

So far this year, the states of New South Wales (the state we live in), Victoria, and Tasmania are really getting more than their fair share of fires. Gene and I live right in Sydney, so we are not in any danger, but the people who live out in the bush (that’s Aussie for the country) are having a tough time of it.

brush fires

There are firefighters from all over Australia helping to fight these fires, but Mother Nature seems to be winning.

 bush fires4

Like the fires out in California, there is really not much you can do if a fire is coming your way.


You can hope and pray that the firefighters can contain the fire before it gets to your home, but in a lot of the time, that is not the case.

Devastated Bendigo resident.

So all you can do is watch your life literally go up in smoke.

 water bombing

They do all kinds of water bombing, which does help.

 bush fires2

Most of the guys out there on the front lines are using  hoses, just trying to keep the whole thing contained.

 bushfire roo

Majority of the plants will regenerate themselves, but there is a major concern for the wildlife.


When firefighters do find animals, they help them any way they can.


This poor little guy is named Sam, and he is the spokes koala for the bushfires.  He was burned on all four paws, and his nose.  There are vets working around the clock to help all of the animals that are rescued. Sam is making a full recovery and has a new home at a wildlife sanctuary.


So, what happens now? Apparently Mother Nature got tired of the light show, so she had sent in rain to help put them all out. Most of the plants will regenerate themselves, so that process has already started.  It just  takes time.  Since there is no food source, all the animals have packed their bags, and moved to new homes.


This is some typical re-growth of eucalyptus trees 15 months after a bushfire. The smaller trees (thinner stem and twigs) have not survived the bushfire, while the larger trees (thicker stem and twigs) have survived. Because the small twigs in the crown of the tree have also been burned, the trees had to sprout at a different spot; this has resulted in massive re-sprouting along the base of the tree, instead of in the crown. The inset clearly shows this re-sprouting of the tree over the whole length of the stem.


This is a close-up of a eucalyptus tree that has already started it’s re-growth.  Seeing how this is the main diet of koalas, this is a pretty important plant in Oz.


After a few years there will be very little evidence left that there was ever a fire. Most areas that were burnt come back stronger and fuller than they originally were.

KP Koala 12

Word will get around to the animals (via the grapevine I’m sure) that all the restaurants are open again, and they will very happily move back into the old neighborhood. It’s like, grow it and they will come.  I guess Mom Nature knows what she’s doing.  If it’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s always listen to your mother. She knows a thing or two.

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Winter Scenery (26)

I was born and raised in Michigan, which means that the beginning of the year means cold weather. By January we would be well into winter and all she could throw at us, be it snow, cold weather, or ice storms.

snow plow

I always loved it when the snowplows would come by to clean off the roads right after you finished shoveling your driveway just to have the plows fill it up again.

winter car

Most of the time it didn’t really matter anyway, because after all that shoveling, you would soon discover that your car wouldn’t start.  Even a car doesn’t want to get out of bed to drive around in below freezing temperatures before the sun comes up. Yes, these are some of the thoughts that come to my mind when I hear the word January.


Now that I am living in Oz, January is smack dab in the middle of summer. I will admit that I am still getting adjusted to it being warm this time of year, and it feels like half the year is gone already.


Sydney enjoys a temperate climate with a mild winter, and has more than 340 sunny days a year. Average temperatures in the winter months of June through to August are between 48° F (9° C) and 62.5° F (17° C).  In the summer months, December, January, and February, the average summer temperatures are between 65° F (18° C) and 78°F (26°C).  So, like everyone else in Sydney, we just enjoy the weather.  Usually.


This year though, on Friday, January 18th, we made history.  Seems that Mother Nature must be getting a little old, and getting a touch of forgetfulness. I am guessing that she decided to either mess with the thermostat, or do some baking here in Oz.   Either way, the temperature soared up to 114.5° F (45.8° C). The previous record of 113.F (45.3C) was set way back on January 14, 1939.


Even though I experienced Las Vegas’ over 100° temperatures for over 3 years, I hadn’t had the joy of adding 70% humidity to go along with them.  The newsreaders here (That would be newscasters in American) did one story on how it took an ice block (Popsicle in the US) only 6.5 minutes to melt.


It took the ice cream truck only 20 minutes.


Most of the trains were delayed by at least an hour with overhead wiring and signal problems failing to cope with the extreme heat. Some parts of the track even buckled because of the heat, and were unusable. I really didn’t believe that one until I saw the photos.

crowed beach

Most Aussies (like Gene and I) don’t have air conditioning at home, so we do what we can to keep cool.  A whole lot of over heated Aussies went to the beach.

Honeymoon 210

Gene and I opted for the mall, and made a day of it. Gene was thrilled because he got to eat at his favorite venue, the food court.

 bulldog in ice

Animals are not allowed at either the beach or the mall, so they had to come up with other ways to cool down. Nothing better than an ice bath to beat those dog days of summer.


Not everyone can say they have an indoor swimming pool for their cat.

 dog in tub

It’s always nice to enjoy a dip with friends.

 lion & Ice block

Our friends at the zoo kept cool too.  This lioness is enjoying a Popsicle made especially for her.  I wonder if it’s zebra flavored.


You would think that they would give him the banana-flavored iceblock.


Now this is one way to really cool off.


Too bad she doesn’t do competitive swimming.  With a neck like that, she would be head and shoulders above  the other swimmers.


Nothing like your own private pool.


Even out in the wild, the roos know how to cool down.

In the late afternoon, severe thunderstorm warnings were issued, but no rain came by us.  In the early evening, there were wind gusts of up to 65mph (104km/h) that swept through the city, as temperatures dropped by about 10 degrees in 10 minutes. Because of the wind, there was a lot of falling trees and roof damage. Then by 10 pm, Sydney was at a comfortable 73°F (23°C), and the severe thunderstorm warning were canceled.

Yes, Sydney does get some hot weather, but so does everywhere else in the world.  I like the fact that it may be really hot one day, but will cool down the next.  We don’t’ get snow, so I don’t have to shovel anything, or scrape ice off my windscreen (that’s Aussie for windshield).  On the really hot days, I’ll just sit back, in the shade, eating an ice block.  That is of course if the truck hasn’t melted.


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It’s the holiday season again.  Today is the fourth Thursday in November, so I guess that means it’s Thanksgiving. Yes, it’s turkey day!  A day for the big parades, getting up early to start cooking the feast, watching football on TV, eating way too much, and then falling asleep on the couch because of the tryptophan in the turkey.

The only problem is I’m not in America.  I am in Oz.  Aussies don’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day, so today was just another ordinary Thursday.  No fanfare, no kick off of the Christmas season, no family get-togethers. Just plain ol’ Thursday.

I decided that just because it is not a national holiday here, that does not mean that I can’t make my own feast just for Gene and I.  So, off we went to the mall to get all the ingredients I would need to make a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

As I walked into Coles, our regular grocery store, I had visions of turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie just waiting to come home with me to grace our faux holiday table. But, all I found was a reality check.

Seeing how it is now the end of November, here in Oz, we are at the tail end of spring, with December 1st being the first day of summer.  Since it is so warm this time of year, there is not a large selection of what we in the north call “cold weather” food. This is not oven roasting season, so in short, there was not a whole turkey to be found. We did find some turkey breasts, but they cost as much as a whole turkey.  I figured that since I was in Oz, the Thanksgiving Day police would never find me, so I would just have to forget the turkey, and make a substitution.

My first thought was chicken.  I could just pretend that it was a really small turkey, and all the side dishes were just really big.  They even sell fully roasted stuffed chickens, all set and ready to eat. The only problem was that we had just had chicken the night before, and we have chicken a lot.  Besides, Thanksgiving is supposed to be a special meal, with special foods. So I stood there and tried to think of what I could cook that would make it a special dinner.

Finally it came to me.  I am in Australia, the land down under.  What does Australia have that no other country has?  Kangaroos. I checked the meat counter, and sure enough, there was roo meat.

Kangaroo meat is high in protein and with only about 2% fat, and is considered a very lean meat. There are various cuts of kangaroo, including fillets, minced meat (hamburger) and ‘kanga bangas’ , which are kangaroo sausages.

You can also buy steaks, and just hope that they don’t hop away before you can cook them.

I have had kangaroo meat before, and like it.  Yes, I know what you’re thinking.  “How can you eat something so cute?”

My response is; turkeys are cute too.  Some of them even have great senses of humor. Most people have no problem sinking their teeth into a big juicy turkey leg or breast, so don’t judge, and keep an open mind.

Gene on the other hand, is not a fan of having kangaroo for dinner, either to have them come over to share a meal, or being the main course.  So when I informed Gene that I would be making roo for Thanksgiving dinner, all he had to say was “Oh, so you’re going to cook dog food?”  Apparently, this is a very Aussie response to this kind of news, because they do use some of the lesser cuts to make dog food.  Seeing how I was buying the top grade of roo meat, I let his remark slide.  To keep the peace, I got him some BBQ pork ribs, and I picked out some herb & garlic kangaroo kebabs for me.

Even though I live in Oz, we don’t own a barbie that I could cook our dinner on, so I used what Aussies call a grill.  In America, we call it a broiler.

Even though it was only the two of us, we had plenty to eat, and even had leftovers.   Aussies would never think of using pumpkin in any kind of sweet, and I did not want to make a whole pie from scratch, so we didn’t have any dessert.

Even though it was not a traditional Thanksgiving meal, we really enjoyed it. Australia doesn’t have a holiday that is the equivalent of this American holiday, so I guess it will be up to me to keep the tradition alive.   I don’t think I’ll have any problem coming up with a menu for the warm weather, but I’m guessing convincing all these Aussies to put pumpkin in a  pie is where I’m going to run into problems.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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There are not many things that can stop a whole nation dead in its tracks.  Mother Nature gives it the old college try every now and again, as she has proven many times all over the world.  Here in Australia, mom nature sent Cyclone Tasha into Queensland as a Christmas Eve present back in 2011. Then just to make sure the people who were out-of-town visiting family wouldn’t miss out on all the fun, on February 3rd, 2012, she sent Cyclone Yasi to the same area. This left 100,000 without power, over 28,000 homes were flooded, and the cost of bananas shot up to about $12.00 a kilo.  This didn’t stop the whole nation, but it did stop a huge part of it.

So what can stop a Whole nation?  Ask any Aussie, and without any hesitation whatsoever on their part, and they will say (in unison I will add), “The Melbourne Cup.” In fact, it is marketed as “the race that stops a nation,” and that saying is even trademarked. Being an American that is not really into sports that much, I had vaguely heard of it, but had no idea what it was.

As it turns out, it is a horse race, not unlike America’s Kentucky Derby.

It is held at Flemington racetrack, and is the richest “two-mile” handicap in the world, and one of the richest turf races. The race starts at 3 pm the first Tuesday in November (which is spring here), and the nation literally does stop to watch the race.  Just like our super bowl, there is all day coverage on TV, but instead of just one race, there are 10 held at that racecourse on that day, with The Melbourne Cup being 7th.

The Flemington track is 3.2 kilometer ( 2 miles ) long, and the race usually takes a little over 3 minutes to run.

The Kentucky Derby is known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports”, but that could be because at Churchill Downs, the track is only 2 kilometers ( 1.2 miles ) long.

I decided that since I am now living here, I should see what all the hoopla was all about.  Betting is legal in Oz, so I decided to place two bets on this race.  My first bet was for “Americain,” an American-bred, French trained stallion that was the favorite. Even though they spelled his name wrong, I still bet on him.

The second bet was for “Unusual Suspect,” a nine-year old, which made him the oldest horse in that race, and was the least favorite to win.  As you can see, being an American horse, he really knows how to relax before a race. I was sure this was 5 dollars well spent. Since Melbourne is a plane ride away from Sydney, I opted for watching the festivities on TV at home, and tuned in at 10 am like the rest of the nation.

As it turns out, it’s a very spectacular event, and the whole occasion is called the Melbourne Cup Carnival, with the focal point being the race.

There were over 100,000 people there having the time of their lives. According to Google, this Carnival has also gained a reputation for fashion with a penchant for drama. It is the day to make your strongest fashion statement with an exotic or outrageous ensemble – hats are essential, as is a yellow rose, and a cup pin on the lapel.

The pin was just a little replica of the cup itself, and the yellow roses were single yellow rose boutonnieres. I was really quite surprised (and impressed I must say) to see that there was very little coverage on TV about what everyone was wearing.  Most of the broadcast was spent on either the races, or  the horses.

Like the Kentucky Derby, fashion at this event is everything, and the crowds love to strut their stuff.

The main word this year was color.  And, there was plenty of it.

This is the Melbourne Cup Fashion in the Field Designer winner Craig Braybrook’s winning design.

Looks like she decided to wear her Easter bonnet for the second time this year.

I’m guessing that all of these outfits must cost a pretty penny.  Too bad this woman could only afford the bottom half of her dress.

Don’t know about you, but this is on pair of shoulders I wouldn’t want to be crying on.

Does she really need the umbrellas???

Seeing how Australia still recognizes the British crown, like England, there were a lot of “hats” so to speak.  Or what they tried to pass off as hats.

I’m guessing that right before their ride showed up, they realized they forgot to purchase their hats for the race. What’s a girl to do?  Sure!  Christmas bows will work just fine!

I want to see the closet she keeps this one this in, and also the bird that has lost it’s home.

I’d like to know if her head would pop like a New Year’s Eve favor  if you pulled both white feathers  at the same time.

There were people from all professions at the race.  Here’s a teacher with pencils for her class.

Now THIS is a nice flower growing out of her.  Does that make her a pot head?

If Mrs. Big Bird wore a hat, THIS would be it.

Someone should have told him don’t try to out do your female partner when it comes to head wear.

As we all can see, the French ambassador even made it the race.

It seems that Rebecca Madden, an Australian news reporter, is a Motown fan. Looks like she wore the Aussie version of     Aretha Franklin’s  hat.

Now men were not to be outdone by the women.  Majority of them were dressed in your basic dark suits, but not all of them…

This is what happens when you tell men to wear color, and  then  let them dress themselves.

This trio came prepared for drinking….

Guess he couldn’t find any matching pants.

Not wanting to be seen without their hats, Paul and Jacko decided to improvise….

Naturally, for an event of this magnitude, there were all kinds of celebrities around.


Kim Catrall took time off from finding sex in New York City to check out an honest to goodness stud.


Rebecca Judd (An Aussie model) left the catwalk behind to stroll the grounds at the track.


Jennifer Hawkins, an Australian model, television presenter, and  Miss Universe 2004 was there in all her glory. For some reason, she toned down her hat.

Kate Waterhouse is a journalist, media personality, radio talent, and Fashion Editor for The Sun-Herald. She is the daughter of leading thoroughbred trainer Gai Waterhouse and grand-daughter of racing legend Tommy “TJ” Smith.

Australian, Nicole Kidman was there in all her full glory. There  is a rumor that she wants to play  the part of Elisa Doolittle for the remake of My Fair Lady.  Personally I think she should get the part.  She’s already has the dress.

 Judy Jetson decided to go back in time and try to fit in.

Everyone was there, even the smurfs.

 Prince Charles and Camilla showed up and had their usual fun. They were there to represent the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

For security purposes, this time they brought along their stunt doubles just in case there was any trouble.

I thought it was really nice of the winning horse’s family to come to the race, and show their support.


Finally, 3:00 came, and the race everyone was waiting for started, they opened the gates, and they were off!                                    At 3:03, it was over.

Green Moon, a 6-year-old, won the richest prize in Australian sport. Not only does the owner get the purse that is over 6 million dollars, they also get the gold trophy.

The Cup is made out of 1.65 kg of 18-carat gold, has over 200 hours of work put into it, and it’s value is $125,000.  The winning trainer and jockey also receive a miniature replica of the cup and the strapper is awarded the Tommy Woodcock Trophy. A strapper is the person that looks after a racehorse, sort of like a horse nanny. Tommy” Woodcock was the handler of Australia’s most famous racehorse, Phar Lap. (Think Secretariat with an accent). In the event of a dead heat, a second cup is on hand.  My horses came in 11th and 21st out of 24 horses.

They had Camilla present the cup to the owner, but since he couldn’t make it, his son accepted the award. One thing I did notice was that they didn’t really make as a big deal out of the horse as they do at the Kentucky Derby.

One of the reasons they call the Kentucky Derby “The Run for the Roses”, is because the winning horse of the Derby gets not only a bouquet of roses, but also a blanket of roses.  Although most of the Flemington track was completely  lined with roses, the only thing the winning horse got was a bath.

The next day when Green Moon was back at home, naturally the press went out to interview the owner.  With his nanny close at the reins, Green Moon got to have lunch out of the cup he just won.

Now I can’t say for sure, but I’m guessing when Green Moon got home, and into his barn, all his horse friends had a party for him for a job well done.

And I bet they all had a good laugh over all the headgear the people were wearing.

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Here in Australia, the end of August signals the end of winter. Seeing how Sydney does not get any snow, the winters here are rather mild. So mild in fact, that there have been many a year that the weatherman just never got around to reminding Mother Nature that spring  doesn’t not show up until September 1st.  Seeing how Mother Nature doesn’t really have a boss to report to, she does what she wants.  So this year, she decided to have just some of the flowering trees come into bloom early. After much deliberation, Mom decided on the cherry tree.  As it turns out, cherry trees are only in bloom for about 2 weeks out of the year, so time is of the essence.

Even though there are a lot of botanic gardens in the area, the Auburn Botanic Garden has the most cherry trees. So every year, they host a cherry blossom time, and remind the public just how short this season is.

Since we have been cooped up for most of the winter, we decided that this would make a nice Sunday outing, and besides, we could use this time to become one with nature.

When we got to the gardens, it seemed that everyone within a 50 kilometer radius had the same idea. Seeing how the trees are only in bloom for about 2 weeks, and we were now coming upon day 13, it was today, or wait until next year’s show. The weather was nice, we were already there, and we found a parking place that was only 7 blocks away, so we decided to check it out.

They have the park divided into different types of gardens, and they give you a map so you can make your way around on your self-guided tour. We decided to go opposite the flow of heavy traffic, so we started in the Australian natural garden.

They had some wallabies and other Aussie animals to look at and take photos of.

Being a garden, they also had  some really nice plants that were showing their best side for the camera and saying cheese.

From there, we ventured into the Rainforest.


Because of the heat and humidity, plants that are found in a rainforest generally grow really large. I had to tear Gene away from reading his map to stand next to one of these plants just to show the massive size. (That would be of the plants, not Gene)

They even had a slow-moving river that was a very deep bluish-green.  I kept looking around for fairies, because this setting is exactly what fairies are looking for in a forest.

Next we came to a very large open space, but soon realized that this area was the seating area for the open air theater.

Naturally Gene had to get on stage and try out a little to be or not to be. It was more of a “not to be” type of performance seeing how none of the birds that were in the audience did any tweeting about his act.

Even though these gardens are mostly Aussie gardens, one thing we noticed  was that the majority of the people there were Asian.

We also noticed that they all had cameras, but even though they are surrounded by nature, they are too busy taking photos of each other to notice all the beauty around them.

It didn’t matter what age the subject was, all they shot were the people they were with.

Some of them even dressed for the occasion, and wore fancy silk kimonos.


As we continued our walk, we came upon the rose garden.  Seeing how it was the tail end of winter, the roses were just getting ready to bloom.  To make up for the dormant rose bushes, the paths were lined with really nice and colorful flowers.

It was all really well maintained, so it’s still lovely even in the off-season.

Seeing how this is Oz, when they come to a fork in the road, they turn it into a roundabout instead.  I was very surprised to see one on a footpath. Guess the road guys don’t want to have any accidents of any kind.  As you can see, Gene is still trying to figure out which way to go.

Along the way, they have a lot of little types of gardens to check out. Some without water,


And some over water.


It seemed that around almost every turn, we would come across yet another kimono.


Seeing how these are gardens, there are flowers all over the place. They had huge bushes of bird of paradise.


Lovely daisy bushes.


And a whole bunch of these little flowers in both white and pinkish purple.


As we rounded a bend, we came across what looked like a miniature Stonehenge sort of display.  Turned out to be a sundial and believe it or not, it really worked. Best part was we didn’t have to wind it or change the battery.

As we made our way to the Japanese Gardens, there were more flowers to enjoy

and beautiful plants. This is a Hoya, and we use these as houseplants in Michigan.


Kimonos  were all over the place…


The garden is very nice and very peaceful even though there were a lot of people there. To get to the little bridge, you need to follow the path of rocks.

The only thing is that the path is through the water.


But, once you make it to the other side, the view is very nice.

As we continued our walk, there were even more flowers to see.

It was amazing to see so many plants in bloom when it wasn’t even spring yet.

More animals and fish to feed,


And even some things to try to figure out. I guess she decided to wear her full fur tail instead of her summer tail. After all, it was still winter.  Guess her kimono was at the cleaners.

As we continued to walk the footpath, we finally made it to the area that had most of the cherry trees.  Like the rest of the park, it was filled with people all wanting to take a look

It was a very nice change from the drabness of winter, and all the color really lifted everyone’s spirits.


Seeing how we were there at the tail end of the blooming season, all of the trees were only about half full of blooms.  But, the show was still quite nice, and very lovely.


As we made our way out of the park, there were more flowers

All kinds of colors

Just smiling and greeting spring.

More waterfalls


And bridges.  These of course are Gene’s favorites seeing how he is a bridge guy.

As we walked to our car, I noticed that spring fever had hit other garden visitors.  This car had a flower that would do a little dance for you.

It was really nice to be able to get outside and not have to really bundle up for a change. Spring is here in Oz, and I am going to take full advantage of the nice weather. No more heavy sweaters or winter coats are needed for a Sydney spring.  The only thing left for me to do is get my kimono and tail out of storage and send them to the cleaners.

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One thing you can say about Aussies is that when they have something no other country has, they will make sure the rest of the world can experience it up close and personal. They have some animals that are only found here, so they make sure the general public can see them.  I am of course talking about kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas. Even though you might go to see these original Aussies, there are many different animals to discover.  Like larger cities in the  US,  Sydney has a regular zoo right in town.  It’s the  Taronga zoo, and it has everything you might expect in a zoo.

They have mountain goats

Assorted reptiles, with some being quite small,

And others being quite large.

Koalas, the king of cuddles,

Gentle giraffes,


And of course, everyone’s favorite, kangaroos. Kangaroos are bigger than wallabies (which look like small kangaroos), and from what I’ve heard, you don’t want to get too close to a full size roo. They can really take care of themselves, and would have no problem winning in a street fight.

They will want to check you out, but since there is a fence between you and them, it’s ok to stare right back at them.

It’s a very nice zoo, but one thing that puts this zoo on the map is the great view it has of Sydney. Where else can you see roos, koalas, the Opera House, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge all in the same place?

The zoo is very nice, but if you really want to get up close and personal with the animals, you need to go to one of the wildlife parks that are in the area.  There is one in Darling Harbour called “Wild Life Sydney.”  They say it’s “The Australian animal adventure in the heart of the city.”  Seeing how I had never been to this animal adventure before, when Mary, my best friend,  was here visiting, I decided to take her there.  It is right on the harbour, and I was not expecting to be impressed at all.  Boy, was I wrong.  Once you go through those doors, you would swear that you were nowhere near the middle of Sydney. Most of the time you are indoors, looking at the animals that are in outdoor areas. It also has different areas like the rain forest, desert, and outback.

They had a butterfly house that you could go into, and many of them would put on a show, and some brave ones would even land on you. This was one section

where  everyone,even kids were very quiet.

Naturally, they had koalas.

They have a HUGE crock, but he didn’t seem to care about the crowds one bit.

There were all kinds of birds all over the place, and most of them were flying free.

Some were  walking  around right where we were walking.

Some even look at you the way you look at them.

Now of course they had some really huge birds, but they were behind glass, and for very good reason…

They have a cassowary, which is the world’s most dangerous bird. It is the 3rd largest bird in the world, but can, and will attack and kill at a moment’s notice.

I don’t know what this little wallaby did, but he was in the same area as the cassowary, and he doesn’t look too thrilled to be there.

Even though the cassowary has very pretty colors on it’s head, Mary didn’t care for that bird. She did like it’s cousin, the emu though.

Seeing how this attraction is geared towards teaching, it was nice to see that the animals got into the spirit of things, and  tried to bring culture to the masses anyway they could.

This is Whistler’s mother’s Aussie style.  It’s called “Whistler’s Mum.”

Now, even though this animal adventure was pretty impressive, in my opinion there are other wildlife parks that give you a more involved chance to see the animals.

Out in the suburbs of Sydney, there are two different parks that are on my “Where to take visitors” list. They are Koala Park, and Featherdale Wildlife Sanctuary. Now THESE are wildlife parks!  This is where you can have lunch with some of the animals, and they don’t mind you touching them.

Like all the other parks, they do have birds, some are  in huge aviaries.

Even these birds will try to entertain you. This is the rainbow lorikeet version of the Rockettes.

This little guy is a Bower bird, and he is very good at mimicking.  The last time I saw him, he put on  quite a show!  He must have been doing a skit about  war, because he had the sounds of machine guns, bombs going off and even a flying helicopter perfectly mastered.  He also made sounds like other birds, cats and dogs. He was brought to this sanctuary because he had a broken bottom beak and can’t make it on the outside. I bet all he needs is a good agent.

Some birds come just for the handouts,

And some wild birds that just come to visit for the day, then go home at night.

Then they have some that came for the day, and decided to just live way up in the trees.they know a good thing when they see it.

Some just need to get away for a while.

And some just come for the water sports.

There are wombats that are usually asleep during the day, but this guy decided to stay up and check out what goes on when the sun is up. Right now he is resting from all the excitement.

This is a real live Tasmanian Devil. They come from the island of Tasmania, which is part of Australia. They are loners, with a really bad attitude, so you don’t want to mess with them.

This is an echidna, and it’s sort of like the Oz version of a porcupine.

This is a real dingo, the Aussie version of a wild dog. Another one you don’t want to mess with.  You’ve heard the saying, “The dingo ate my baby”?  Well, it’s true.

Now of course they have koalas.  As you can see from most of the koalas photos, they sleep a lot.  Like 20 hours a day.

But, at these parks, at certain times of the day, they will wake some of them up, and you can not only have your photo taken with them, but you can pet them also. If you are lucky, they will even smile for the camera. I am stroking this koala while the photo is being taken, and their fur is really soft.

The koalas are cute and cuddly, but the big star of the show are the wallabies.

They take turns as the look out while they are waiting for you.

They are all over the place, just waiting for you to have lunch with them.

They really enjoy having lunch with people,

but they also  enjoy the chat that goes along with the food. Believe it or not, they have come up with a lot of answers to a lot of the world’s problems.  The only problem is they can’t get the politicians to listen to them.

Not only can you feed and pet them, but some of them will put on a show for you.

This guy was really getting into his air guitar.

Like human Aussies, Oz animals are really laid back, and most times  don’t seem to have a care in the world. They just want to make sure you enjoy your visit so you will come back to see them.

They  will even go so far as to  pose with you for photos to put on your blog.  No worries mate.

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