In this week's post, Lorenzo discusses three excursions he's taken with CAPA to experience the wildlife of Australia, from petting wallaby at the Featherdale Wildlife park and hiking in the Blue Mountain National Park, to spending the night at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney.
One aspect of being in Australia is that most flora and fauna is unique to this region of the world and sometimes very different from what you can see back home. CAPA, being a well-rounded program, takes advantage of this aspect and brings students to experience the gorgeous landscapes the land Down Under has to offer and allowing them to interact with some interesting animals. In one weekend I and my flat mates have visited a wildlife park, an astonishing national park and an overnight stay at the Taronga zoo.
1. Visiting the Featherdale Wildlife Park
Petting a Wallaby at Featherdale Wildlife Park
The first experience was the Featherdale Wildlife Park. Located in the western suburbs of Sydney, and it was a great way to start off the weekend. As in most places there is a path to follow and as we entered some wallabies hopped their way to our group. They were not camera shy at all and let us pet them. I think it was the first time I saw anything similar to a kangaroo and also koalas, which unfortunately were separated from the public. A lot of Australia’s unique animals are birds and there are some very particular ones around the country. Getting to pet and interact with all those friendly exotic animals in the morning put me in a good mood for the rest of the day, I wish I could do it more often.
2. Hiking in the Blue Mountains National Park
A View of Sydney's Blue Mountains National Park
After the Wildlife Park we got on our way to Blue Mountains National Park, a marvelous Grand Canyon-esque place that is breathtaking both in terms of views and hiking paths. They are called Blue Mountains because the intense vegetation spread over the park, with the dim sunlight coming through, creates a sort of “blue haze” effect. We hiked our way to some beautiful panoramic spots, some where you could see waterfalls and others where you could take a look at some interesting-shaped peaks and the vast rainforests. It was very muddy all throughout the park so I advise that if you do go there, don’t wear your best shoes.
Another View of the Blue Mountains
After the hike we got to spend a couple of hours around the small town called Blue Mountains, just outside the park. It is very similar to a typical western town somewhere near the Rocky Mountains, with shops and saloons all on one main road. It also has that typical Australian vibe with the specialty cafes, bakeries and multicultural cuisine. After Blue Mountain town we headed home for the day.
A waterfall we passed while hiking in the Blue Mountains.
3. Spending the night at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney
The next adventure CAPA brought us on was a one night “Roar and Snore” stay at the Taronga zoo in Mosman, North Sydney. Basically you get to spend some time at the zoo when nobody is there, with tour guides and food served, plus you have a tent to sleep in with a spectacular view of Sydney Harbor and the sounds of all the animals around you. Being on a Monday night it kind of threw off my schedule but at the same time the experience was definitely worth it. I would pay again to wake up with that kind of view and also, after the visit, you get tickets to come back on another day and visit more areas of the zoo.
A view the sun rising over Syndey from the Taronga zoo
Having taken part in quite a few paid program experiences over the years, what CAPA is doing in Sydney gives it an advantage over your regular study abroad provider, at least in terms of activities. Australia is also revealing everyday more beautiful to live and explore and I am aware of being extremely lucky to be able to say so.
Sydney Harbor and Sydney Opera House.
Lorenzo Corazzin is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Global Studies major at the Arizona State University, he is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.
Lorenzo's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.