Month: November 2019

610 Sunday 24th November 2019. Progressive dinner, beginnings of recovery and music soothes the savage beast…

Monday 18th November

Today I was wondering if I could find a Chiropractor on the Gold Coast who was as good as Mary Beth Bauer who first treated me for this condition – Spondylolisthesis – in February 2000. If I could locate Mary Beth she may know somebody on the coast. I knew Mary Beth was now married and had moved to Cardwell some years ago. I could find nothing on line in either her Bauer or married name but did find the practise she opened with her first husband was still operating in Townsville. I called on the off chance they may be able to help. The lady who answered knew Mary Beth and had worked with her for many years and recalled me as a patient. The sad news was Mary Beth passed away 5 months ago from Liver Cancer. Such sad news and I believe her husband David was devastated. The lady was able to tell me what method Mary Beth used and suggested I could ask any Chiropractor or Osteopath to use the same method on me. I am still saddened by the news of her passing.

Tuesday 19th November

Carer Lynda drove me to Robina to see the Osteopath. I passed on the information from the treatment method used by Mary Beth. He did some gentle exercises and placed some Kineseo Tape on my back explaining, Kinesio Taping is a revolutionary therapeutic method that is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process. It helps to stabilize an injured area of the body, supporting the affected area – but without immobilising the joints. It is a thin, stretchy, elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive. It is almost identical to human skin in both thickness and elasticity, so kinesio tape allows for better movement and less restrictions.

I am still using the new back brace I bought last week,

Tonight I took my usual cocktail of meds.

Wednesday 20th November

In the morning I felt good and in fact decided to go cold turkey and not take any meds. Most of the day I felt quite good but by dinnertime was beginning to feel pain so took an Endone and two Panadol but by bedtime was feeling I might be in trouble with pain by morning. I plugged my phone into the charger beside the bed, kept all my meds on the bedside table as well as a spare set of household keys and my Kindle and charger. I had this terrible recollection of last week not being able to get out of bed and if needed I wanted to be able to call the ambulance and other help. I drifted off to an uncomfortable sleep.

(Footnote to this comment. The NSW Ambulance Service invoice arrived in the mail today. $830 for the care and attention and the 9 Klm journey to the nearest hospital. I am sure glad I was not in an isolated place. Of course the good news is there is a reciprocal arrangement between states whereby if I provide proof of my state residency, copy of drivers licence and pensioner status the bill will be covered by Queensland Ambulance.)

Thursday 21st November

Woke in pain but was able to get out of bed and decided to maintain the Endone and Panadol but avoid the other meds which cause drowsiness. If I can maintain this regimen of tablets I hope to wean myself off the opioids and Valium. However I will not try to go completely cold turkey on all the meds. I know I am far from healed.

Today was our monthly Morning Tea in our clubhouse and a guest speaker for Nutrimetrics.

Highlight of the morning though was the birthday cake for Betty who is celebrating her 99th birthday. Betty is always one of the first to nominate for our functions and even turned up for Rock and Roll lessons a few weeks ago. A lovely lady who has many tales to tell and loves her music and these days watching the dancers. She lives alone and still does her own shopping and prepares her own meals. If only we could all be as healthy as her.

Friday 22nd November

A day of Endone and Panadol with a Valium before bed. I removed the Kineseo Tape in the afternoon and tried to do as little as possible. Tomorrow I may have to increase some meds as we have a progressive dinner with an Hawaiian theme which we have been planning for months. There is lots to do but I will refrain from heavy lifting, concentrating on providing beach music and beach photos on the Smart TV.

Saturday 23rd November

Setting up three locations for our progressive dinner was a bit more chaotic than planned. Unable to do any lifting, pushing, reaching, shoving, hammering and any other physical activity I was left to my own devices and as choreographer of tables chairs and tents.

First up I established my seaside slide show which will play as background visuals on the smart TV during the coffee, dessert and liqueur final phase of the dinner. I also established the sound system to play beachy 60’s and 70’s style music as background so as not to interfere with conversation but loud enough for songs and tunes to be recognisable. I also established the Rock and Roll /Line Dancing part of the programme to be louder to encourage those who want to dance to get up and do so. I also established the beachy background music around the pool for the first course and the same for the main course which will be held in pergola tents beside Biggera Creek. Citronella Candles on Bamboo poles were also placed around the pergolas.

Just in case I have not mentioned this before, or not mentioned it recently, I live in what is called an Over 50’s Resort. It is a gated community. That does not mean it is 100% safe and secure. It just means it keeps out most of the people who should not be there. There are 101 houses or villas or units or whatever you want to call them. Of the approximately 150 people who call this home, about half, keep to themselves, doing what pleases them. The other half is roughly made up of about 50 people who support every function the social committee organises while the other half support us when they are not travelling somewhere. Our progressive dinner was expected to have about 40 people but it is travel time so the tight group of 30 people still kept us on our toes. Some people did not want to attend as mostly it is outdoors and they have a perception outdoors means mosquitoes and or sandflies. Perhaps there are some of those insects but we took steps to ensure they were kept to a minimum.

My ancient, original iPad connected to a battery operated set of Logitech speakers kept the music pumping all night. Those speakers produce an amazing sound over quite a distance.

Graham did a great job of making two punches, one with punch the other without. He also kept busy making Pina Colada, a drink I have not had the pleasure of tasting before. Now, I am not sure how this drink should be served, in what type of glass, with or without ice or with an umbrella. Mine was in a disposable plastic cup and the three I had needed no embellishment. It did come with an umbrella and a chunk of pineapple and a cherry. The only problem was he ran out of ingredients and could not keep up with the demand.

Dinner of baked ham was beside Biggera Creek and the tide was in, making it a great view in the gathering darkness. Who cared. Dinner was fabulous and there were enough wine choices for everybody.

Back in the clubhouse for dessert, liqueurs etc and of course music and slide show. I got myself a Tia Maria with cream to sip/slurp/ inhale.

I was asked to play some line dancing music and of course had to do some dancing myself. My back will give me problems tomorrow. How could I resist when the music was calling?

Sunday 24th November

Packing down and unfolding everything from last night was completed by 10am. With a friend I drove to the Ramada Hotel at Hope Island to check out prices for a possible launch trip to Curran Cove or Tipplers Resorts for a Christmas function.

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Ramada Hotel Hope Island Marina

As most of the trips begin from the Ramada it was a good idea to start there. The Ramada is not an easy place to find and it is so easy to get lost along the way. Oh goody a band was getting set up so it was a good excuse to stay long enough and listen to the Memphis Moovers   https://www.facebook.com/memphismovers/   a really talented and fun group.

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Nope. No idea who the man in the yellow shirt is. I understand the band is often a 6 piece. The lady in black wore great big heavy 6 inch heel shoes.

Maybe next week I will be off the meds and can drive again and operate a camera.

609. Sunday 17th November 2019. A lost week, sleeping mostly and living on Mothers Little Helpers…

Monday 11th November

Today is what we once called Armistice Day. A day when we stopped doing whatever we were doing and gave a minutes silence, reflection and prayer on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. I had fallen asleep soon after eating breakfast so in effect I did honour the 11th hour etc. I just did not do it consciously!

Once more my day was made up of small victories of being able to walk in larger circles and thanks to my meds, do so with a little less pain. That said, I figured if I can use my meds the correct way I could probably sit still on a flight for 90 minutes. That means NOT taking the Valium in the morning which means I will be wide awake, bushy tailed and not zonked out looking for sleep while trying to board a flight. On the strength of my thoughts I booked a flight to the Gold Coast tomorrow at 1.20 PM.I also booked a carer to drive me home. Of course this all hinges if I can get out of bed in the morning which is what happened to me last week. So far all is looking  A OK, that is, apart from pain but my meds should have kicked in by mid morning and I will take an Endone with a Panadol booster an hour before I am due to fly.

I managed a dozen circuits of the back yard but tomorrow I will be dragging two suitcases at the same time so that will be a challenge.

Tuesday 12th November

Small victories!

Yes I slept all night and managed to get out of bed and breakfasted and dressed and did my little walking exercises and packed my bags. Soon, we were on our way to the airport where Bev dropped me. At the Jet Star Service Desk they had a boarding pass ready for me. Yay! Then I took my Endone and two Panadol and waited. Even better for me was I had a window seat on Row 2 so I could sleep and the middle seat was vacant.

Soon I was landing on the Gold Coast and my carer collected me and I was soon home safe in my own house and ultra tired from the Endone and I forgot to mention I even took a Valium. I was asleep in no time.

Wednesday 13th November

Woke to a little pain until it was time to climb out of bed. At least I was able to get out of bed without  a mobility aide. OK so breakfast included my usual dose of 7 different tablets. My other carer, Lynda took me shopping for groceries and a much needed new back brace. The old one was around 20 years old and had lost most of its elasticity. Time to also consider an Inversion Table which was a great aide when I last had this problem.

Luckily I have two sticks with a claw and a handle so was able to feed clothes into the front loader washing machine and when the washing was finished to pull the clothes out again.

I had an appointment with the doctor and managed to convince him to refer me to an Osteopath at Robina.

Thursday 14th November

Carer No1 took me to an appointment with a Osteopath in the afternoon. His treatment helped a little but I still need those Mothers Little Helpers which was written and sung about by the Rolling Stones last century.

And goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And two help her on her way, get her through her busy day

 

If you want to hear the full song it can be found here. Although t shows it as being a .MP4 file there is no video and plays in MP3.

The rest of the day is a blur of wearing my back brace and taking that cocktail of pills.

Friday 15th November

Much like yesterday only there was no Osteopath visit.

Saturday and Sunday.

Apart from a shuffling walk and regular doses of Mothers Little Helpers I made it through the day.

…And night.

608. Sunday 10th November 2019. A little bit of walking, a hospital visit and lots of pain…

Monday 4th November

Enid, Cooper, Oliver and I caught the train to Cronulla Beach.

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Original small rock pool at Cronulla Beach. As I a youngster, pre ability to swim days, I jumped in this pool and was suddenly in water ovcer my head. I struggled to stay afloat but a strange sound of bells was ringing in my head. Suddenly a hand grabbed me by the hair and pulled me to safety. I do not know who it was but I was grateful and thankful he was there in my time of desperate need.

041119 cronulla rock pool1041119 crfonulla rock pool2Mindful of my back I elected not to walk on the sand but stay on pathways. As things turned out maybe I should have stayed home.041119 ladies dressing rooms

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All that is left of the entrance to the ladies dressing rooms.

The boys had a wonderful time running jumping climbing splashing and the other wonderful things you can do at the beach, especially when the sun is shining.

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Cronulla Point. It does not have the spectaular rock formations of further north, on the other side of Botany Bay at places such as, LaPerouse, Little Bay, Malabar, Maroubra, Lurline Bay, Coogee, Brontee, Tamarama and Bondi
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Cronulla Point

We walked along the clifftops with wonderful views

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Blackwood Reef

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then back to the beach for an ice cream and then the train station and back to Bev’s house where I decided on a little snooze.

When I woke I could not get out of bed without severe pain. Maybe that should read extreme pain. I replayed the day in my mind to see what I had done which may have caused the regression to my most recent back problem two weeks ago. In fact on 26th October to be exact when I reported it in my blog, post number 605.

I have mostly kept that under control but now it seems not only have I gone backwards to that day but the pain this time is far worse. I still cannot understand what I did to create this latest setback. The only thing which occurs to me is I have worn a backback on the three excursions this week.

Tuesday 5th November

I was awake most of the night in extreme pain. Finally got to sleep when my alarm went off. After a quick breakfast of pain killers Bev drove me to the station and helped me with my bags onto the platform and waited with me until the train arrived. Maybe it was the cold or maybe it was the cocktail but first my arms started trembling and just as the train was coming into the station my legs and body all started trembling. I knew there was no way I could get on that train, manouvre two suitcases, change stations and get a lift to another platform to go to the airport, push suitcases around the airport and shuffle all the way to probably the furthest boarding gate, lift a small suitcase into an overhead locker and sit for a two hour flight then repeat the performance on arrival. Of course still had to somehow get into my car and drive. I could not even get into Bev’s car without difficulty.

I said to Bev I cannot do this so we went back to her place and started organising extra storage for my car, cancel the plane ticket and find a doctor. I managed to do all three in the next hour. The doctor gave me an additional cocktail of drugs and recommended if no relief in 48 hours we go to plan B.

I would rather do plan B from my own home.

Here’s hoping for a cocktail miracle.

After taking the first cocktail of drugs I was able to sit on a lounge propped up with pillows and fell asleep for an hour. The best sleep I have had in a week. After dinner I took more drugs and the first miracle occurred I was able to get into bed, albeit in a fetal position, with minimal pain and fell asleep.

Wednesday 6th November

Woke feeling OK and was able to get out of bed with much grunting and moving legs in various positions to get into a seated position then sort of quickly stand up accompanied by pain and the half shuffle half walk to the bathroom.

Well, that’s an improvement!

Most of my day has been getting into bed, sleeping and getting out of bed for a bathroom break, something to eat and back to bed. I am working on the theory that healing is happening while I am asleep otherwise there would be pain. However getting into and out of bed is a challenge to minimise pain with every movement.

Friday 8th November

I was due to fly out at midday today and on waking thought all was ok. Pain free and ready to face the world. That is until I moved and tried to get out of bed. No amount of wriggling and trying different positions was helpful. Total, absolute pain greeted me with every effort plus I had a full bladder screaming at me! Even with help from Bev and Pete I could not get into a seated position, let alone stand or walk or shuffle to the bathroom.

The Ambulance Service was called and they were very helpful although to put a Cannula in place were unable to find a vein…I was dehydrated! Finally after three attempts they found a vein and I got my first of several Morphine shots. After the second shot they were able to get me into a standing position and with assistance, shuffled to the bathroom for blessed urinary  relief. (They tried giving me a bag but no wauy wass my mind letting go.) However number two still eludes me. They strapped me into a stretcher and took me to Sutherland Hospital where it was explained morphine only lasts 15 minutes. Aww darn shucks. I have been given some additional prescriptions and they are placed in a bag. They gave me fresh Blood Pressure medication, Amlodipidine/Prittor. Also Celebrex for muscle relaxant, Targin for pain, Lyrica for pain, Antenex, an anti inflamtory and for sleeping and Endone for pain and sleeping. Added to this is Panadol which works with the Endone for pain and Tramadol and Mersyndol just in case. After a day of tests they finally let me go home and I slept most if the night.

Saturday 9th November

I was able to roll out of bed with minimal fuss and effort a well as minimal pain The cocktail of tablets is working.

I spent my day walking around in circles in the backyard with minimal pain. Late in the day an SOS  (Southcare Outreach Service) Nurse arrived to check all my personal particulars and to make some suggestions how to improve my life and mobility. She also lent me a walking cane. This may not be the correct forum to mention this but my bowels have stopped working since last Tuesday. That probably adds to the discomfort and pain,

Tonight with a great deal of effort I tried once more. . By the way the Prunelax and the  Movicol Laxatives have not been working. Finally trying did produce a small result but …

Once more, after dinner I fell asleep on the lounge. On waking I staggered off to bed and once again found myself in the land of nod. I am enjoying my sleep although Bev and Pete can hear me moaning perhaps when I roll over. SOS have decided, based on my pain and discomfort levels, not to begin physiotherapy at the moment.

Sunday 10th November

Although I still have a great deal of pain I feel it is now under some sort of control. I have spent the day walking around in circles and sleeping. I can now get out of bed with limited screaming in pain. It really is time to be thinking about going home. I will aim to get a flight on Tuesday about midday. In the afternoon Bev and Pete took me to Grays Point.

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GRays Point oin tghe Hacking River.

Fifteen minutes walking around was enough for my back and the pain.101119 grays point1

607. Sunday 3rd Novenber 2019. Pain Pain, go way, a trip to the aquarium and a total rest day on Saturday…

 

Part two of this week. Pain is making it difficult to write and edit photos and the pain killers makes it difficult to see the words on the screen. I have edited several times and may have still made errors.

Saturday 2nd November

Today was a quiet day, given over to cleaning house and setting up the garden for about 45 guests.

Bev and Pete had a caterer provide food and had a professional lady look after organising the kitchen while everybody got on with the job of enjoying themselves.

Their sons, David, Chris and Mitcel gave a speech presented as an ongoing story narrated by each in turn. I was no good for taking photos tonight but I will say there was plenty of food and drink.

It is nice to see a large group of people enjoying themselves without incidents.

It turned out to be a late night with the last guests leaving after midnight.

Sunday 3rd November

Enid, Cooper, Ollie and I went to Sea Life Aquarium at Darling Harbour.

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Australian Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour.

https://www.sydneyaquarium.com.au/?utm_source=gmb&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=yext&utm_content=2              We once again used public transport and it really makes sense as there is no parking and with the amount of traffic in Sydney it would take twice as long to get anywhere. The day was threatening with rain but remained clear all day…until it was time to leave.

Although vehicular traffic on Pyremont Bridge has been closed for many years, foot traffic still remains in place allowing the public to move from one side f Darling Harbour to another. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrmont_Bridge      

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Darling Harbour which was once a busy industrial wasteland populated by goods trains, trucks, storage, dirt, filth ans not visited even by fishermen. Once the road traffic was and then rail traffic was diverted the area was converted into a wonderful people destination. The bridge in front was Pyremont Bridge and part of a main thouroughfar for trafiic to the western suburbs. The bridge was often closed to traffic while the swing bridge was opened to allow a ship to pass through

As a boy I really enjoyed travelling to the city with my mother on the bus or the tram from Balmain and stopping at Pyremont Bridge to see it open. Later, when I was old enough, about 10 years of age, I would take myself to the city and explore.20191103_151016(1)

The aquarium was fun with lots of sea life not just the usual sharks and sting rays.

031119 shark
Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear And it shows them pearly white Just a jackknife has old MacHeath, babe And he keeps it, ah, out of sight You know when that shark bites with his teeth, babe Scarlet billows start to spread Fancy gloves, oh, wears old MacHeath, babe So there’s never, never a trace of red With thanks to Bobby Darren and his song Mack the Knife.

I sort of thought we would be in and out in less than an hour. The reality was quite different. I can recommend this attraction as worthwhile. Although entry is not cheap staff are busy all day looking after guests and keeping things clean. One of the attractions which was a surprise. There is a Dugong, one of only two Dugong in captivity in the world. Staff feed it lettuce leaves about every hour.

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One of several underwater tunnels where the fish and sharks and stingrays etc swim

It was difficult taking photos here as apart from being inside the aquarium, most exhibits are seen through glass which does not lend itself to good photos but added to that is the water itself which gives every photo a murky shadowy look. Then of course the water and the sea creatures are in constant motion.

Just as we were leaving the rain began , in bucketloads, so we did a series of short runs up Market street seeking shelter then dashing across the cross streets. Our destination was The Sydney Tower Eye Observation deck 250 metres above street level.

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Sydney Tower

https://www.sydneytowereye.com.au/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=gmb&utm_campaign=yext Once again photography was difficult as there were no open spaces. Only glass, the deck was slowly rotating and it was raining. No matter there were great views of a cruise ship leaving harbour, the zoo, Balmain where was born, Maroubra where we lived for many years and of course the airport where I be flying out of on Tuesday.

On arrival at the Tower we first had to watch a 4D Movie of various attractions and locations around Sydney. Actually it is a great short movie with great visuals, appropriate soundtrack and a vibrating floor to add to the experience.

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White Bay Cruise Terminal. I once lived in a street only a hop step and a jump frpm the terminal. In my youmger days the area was used as a storgae place for logs being moved around the harbour. Now it is a major tourist precinct.

Although it was a long day and long train trip home the energy levels of the boys were still on high. Sometimes too high.

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Cooper, Enid and full of energy Ollie sotting 250 Meters above street level.
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Cockatoo Island

As with the trip to the zoo on Friday, I carried a back pack and did a lt of walking.

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St Mary’s Cathedral on the other side of Hyde Park.
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Hyde Park War Memorial. Wjen I was in the army I was selected to perform a ceremonial guard duty here on three occassions.

I wonde if that contributed to my woes of extreme pain which were about to visit me but I will save details for the next post.

It is always nice to visit Sydney, the Harbour City.

I may be prejudiced but I still think it is the best harbour in the world.

606. Friday 1st November 2019. Flight to Sydney, a day at the Zoo and pain is a constant companion…

I WILL BREAK THE POST DOWN INTO TWO PARTS – AT LEAST FOR THIS WEEK. MY PAIN HAS NOW GONE FROM CONSTANT TO CHRONIC, TO INTENSE TO  SEVERE TO MAJOR. SITTING FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME IS A NO NO. BUT I WILL POST WHEN POSSIBLE AND EXPLAIN AS I GO ALONG.

Thursday 31st October – Halloween

I was up early, 4.15 am to be precise. I was away on the M1 by 5am. Dropped i30 off at Alpha Parking at Tweed Heads and the shuttle bus dropped me at Coolangatta Airport shortly before 6am. Then came the not so good news. I have a ticket for the 8am Jet Star flight but I am on standby. The ticket desk told me the flight is fully booked as are all the remaining flights today.

Grrr!

I was told maybe there were seats still available on Qantas. Maybe, but at $428 one way I was not keen to go that way.

I decided to take a risk and wait until 7.30 in case somebody did not show. At 7.25 my name was called and I got on the flight which was delayed by a half hour. I was on my way to Sydney.

Why was I on my way to Sydney?

My sister Bev and her husband Peter are both celebrating their 60th birthday on Saturday.

After changing trains twice I finally arrived in Gymea, hungry and hanging out for a coffee. It has been a long day.
Bev was sitting her two granddaughters, April and Violet. In the afternoon sister Enid arrived with her two grandsons, Cooper and Ollie and the noise began.

Four children under 8 running jumping shouting. Then we took them to Cronulla Beach, ate fish and chips in the park and the children ran around in the dark. Sometime somewhere they must slow down.

Tonight I got the news my youngest sister, Shan had a turn earlier in the week. Doctors are looking at her heart as the culprit. The heart specialist will install an Implantable Loop Recorder which will record her heart activity for up to 2 years. Because she had fainted and has been left weak and shaken and her confidence is at an all time low, she has decided not to join us this weekend.

Friday 1st November

Enid, also known as Sue and to her grandchildren she is known as Lally we headed off to Taronga Park Zoo. We took the train from Gymea to Circular Quay.

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Cooper and Ollie from Circular Quay Station.
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Circular Quay.
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Circular Quay

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The zoo was opened in 1916.

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Whiting Beach
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Little Sirrius Point Ligthouse

The zoo is situated on hilly land of 28 hectares (69 acres) on Bradleys Head overlooking Sydney Harbour.

https://taronga.org.au/sydney-zoo

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KomodoDragon

There are over 4,000 animals in the park and all set among native vegetation. There is a large cable car taking visitors from the wharf to the park entrance and if it is your first visit you will gasp in delight at the view. The zoo has changed over the years especially since my last visit in another century. Although this is not my first visit, I still gasped with delight.

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Pinchgut

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The difficult ting about visiting any zoo is where do you start? We had four differing opinions but two of us wanted a coffee before we began. After that we found while on our way to something we thought we wanted to see we saw something which was interesting and we deviated from our course.

The boys, Cooper and Oliver,seemed to enjoy everything but in 6 hours we only saw a portion of the zoo. Elephants 011119 elephantwere high on their list of must see but they were more impressed with the tiger adventure. 011119 tiger4011119 tiger1011119 tiger011119 tiger3This was followed by feeding time for the gorillas 011119 gorilla2011119 gorilla1and after that the free flying bird show.

011119 vulture
Vulture

That was very impressive and the boys came away saying that was the best part of the day. We never had time to see the aquarium, the seals, the penguins, the chimpanzees, the Australian Native animals,011119 gorilla the Rhinoceros, the Hippopotamus and so on. I think another view of the Zoo is on my to do list. 011119 meerkat

011119 bear

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Annaconda. About 5.5 metres

Despite the smoke haze, the view of Sydney Harbour was still awesome.011119 opera house3

We caught the cable car back to the wharf and were on the ferry at 4pm and were home again by 5.30. Arriving at the zoo by ferry from Circular Quay is not the only way to enter as there is a large car park at the top entrance to the zoo but is really the best way. Maybe I am a bit prejudiced but having spent my childhood and youth travelling Sydney Harbour by ferry I still think it is the only way to travel.011119 tiger2

Yes it was a long day but we enjoyed ourselves, especially the boys.011119 opera house1011119 shb

Despite all the walking and uneven ground my back pain still allowed me to enjoy myself with only a few instances of moving, standing or sitting the wrong way to remind me.