Travel Photos


Day 19 – Kangas, originally uploaded by bexadler.

I don’t know when I became such a fan of zoos. For the most part I have always despised zoos, but in the last two months I have visited three (in Hawaii, Utah, and now Australia). Each of these zoos were great experiences, with each one improving on the things that I had loved about the last. Thus far, the Taronga Zoo in Sydney has been my favorite.

First, you take a ferry out from Sydney to get there and get a beautiful view of the Sydney Harbor once you reach the highest point in the zoo.

Second, the Taronga Zoo had really interesting exhibits that used ravines to divide the people from the animals rather than using cages and nets (although there were still some animals in nets or with the plexiglass walls, like the big cats and many of the birds). The lack of barriers made it easier to get good photos of the animals. In addition, there were two awesome “animal encounter” exhibits that allowed visitors to walk among the animals. The above picture was taken in one such exhibit.

Lastly, and definitely the most particular to myself, there were three baby elephants at this zoo. As many of you know, I have a weird love for these giant creatures and the babies just melt my heart. The elephant exhibit was definitely worth seeing. There were two large pool areas where the elephants could play and enjoy splashing about. We were lucky enough to see the three calves pushing each other into the water and wrestling in the pool for a good five or ten minutes. It made me wish I had a better camera so I could have zoomed in on them. There were also a couple of baby cockatoos and supposedly there was a baby rhino (the first to be born using IVF), but we couldn’t find the exhibit. Other highlights for me included a platypus, seals, a Kodiak bear, Tasmanian devils, and koalas.

The price of $45 to get into the zoo was a bit hefty for my taste, but I thought it was well worth the expense.

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Day 8 – Matiatia Bay, originally uploaded by bexadler.

Today Melissa and I took a ferry over to Waiheke Island and did a hike along the coast before doing some winetasting – yum!

Sorry for the shortage of posts. I’ve been a cheapo and am just stealing wifi wherever I can. Hopefully soon I’ll invest in some real wifi time and give you a decent update.

Berry Creek Falls, originally uploaded by bexadler.

Last weekend I went with The Boy and his friends to Big Basin Redwoods for some camping and hiking. It was my first time out there and I loved it. The weather and the scenery were gorgeous. I could have done without the mosquitoes, but that’s a constant gripe of mine in the outdoors. The above photo was taken along the Skyline to the Sea Trail – a moderate 10 mile hike that passes three waterfalls and plenty of redwoods. It was a tough hike for some of those among us, but I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t recommend it for new hikers (they’ll hate you!), but if you already know you enjoy hiking then I’d recommend checking it out.

Note: If you plan to camp in Big Basin Redwoods in summer, I’d recommend making reservations far in advance. We reserved our spot a couple months in advance and most of the campgrounds were already taken. I’d also recommend going en groupe because the campground is a bit pricey at $35 a night, plus an $8 reservation fee and a $10 fee per car if you have more than one car.

 

Coyote and Landscape, originally uploaded by bexadler.

One of my biggest disappointments as an amateur photographer is that I don’t have a zoom lens. I spend a lot of time in the outdoors so I tend to see a lot of wildlife. Most of the time said wildlife is too far away for me to get a worthwhile shot, but on my recent trip to Death Valley I got lucky. Not only did we see lots of wildlife, including a roadrunner (which I didn’t catch on film), but this beautiful coyote got within a close enough range that I was actually able to shoot some decent photos of him. This is one of my favorites from the coyote “photo shoot.”