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The Travel Map - January 2009

Taronga – A Zoo with a View

January 27th 2009 10:57
Did you know that Taronga is an Aboriginal word meaning "beautiful view"? Visit Taronga Zoo in Sydney, and you will soon discover how it got its name. Set on a hill in Mosman, the Zoo overlooks the Harbour. So not only do you get to see the amazing animals, you also get magnificent views of the City, the Opera House, and the Harbour Bridge.

Taronga Zoo is huge, and home to many local and exotic animals. Start with Wild Australia and see many of the animals that call Australia home, from colourful birdlife, to wombats, and of course the kangaroo.

The African Continent has lions that sit around with one hungry eye on visitors. There is a chimpanzee family, who like all families, were scrapping and bickering, and there are those magnificent giraffes with the best view in Sydney.

giraffes at Sydney Zoo

Great Southern Oceans spans 21ha, and includes leopard seals, sea lions, a New Zealand fur seal, (which was rescued and nursed back to health at the zoo), and penguins. You can see the seals up close through the thick glass at the Submarine research station. Best of all though, you can see these animals perform at the Energy Australia Seal Show that runs twice a day at 11am and 2pm.

There is so much more it takes at least one full day to see everything Taronga Zoo has to offer. Throughout the day, there are animal talks, and feedings that are interesting for those who are passionate about animals. It is worth getting a copy of the daily presentations either online, or when you first arrive at the zoo, and plan your day to make sure you do not miss anything.

Start from the top entrance and walk all the way to the bottom. If you are too tired to walk back up, hop on the sky safari, and get and aerial view of the zoo.

For more information about Taronga Zoo and how to get there, visit the Taronga Zoo Website.

Paradise on the Gold Coast

January 10th 2009 01:50
Less than two hours drive South West of Brisbane lies the rolling green hills of The Lamington National Park, set within the Gold Coast Hinterland. The area, which is one of Australia’s best subtropical rainforests, boasts extensive walking tracks where visitors can explore the spectacular forests, waterfalls and wildlife.


We decided to visit the O’Reillys Retreat, which is located in the heart of the Lamington National Park not far from Canungra. The 36km drive up the long winding often very narrow bitumen road from Canungra was worth it to get this close to nature.

From O’Reilly’s, there are a number of walks ranging from easy to difficult, which take you through the bush. Here you will see the some of the most beautiful plant and wildlife.

One of the most popular attractions is the O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walkway (which is only 300 metres from the guesthouse). The walkway is a series of bridges suspended 16 metres above ground, which allow you to walk through the canopy and view the flowering trees and stunning birdlife.

On the way, back it is worth stopping at the cafe for a coffee or a bite to eat. The birds in the area were very friendly and often come and sit at your table. There are signs instructing you not to feed the wildlife, however that did not stop them stealing food off my 18 month olds plate when she was not looking.


After exploring the mountain, we decided to visit several of the vineyards in the area. We stopped in at two, however after tasting their wines decided not to stop at any others. The wines were very unpalatable. It could have been they did not put their best wines on for tasting, or Queensland is just not good wine country. Either way I will not be racing out to buy any wine from that region.

Still if you want to escape the commercialisation of the Gold Coast for a while, or get out of Brisbane and see some wildlife, the Lamington National Park is well worth a look. We spent a day there, however if you have more time there are plenty of accommodation options in the region.

How to get there

To find out how to get to the Lamington National Park and where to stay check out the Queensland Government website.
For more information visit the on about O’Reilly’s website.

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