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The Perkins' favourite places

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Olympic swimmer and gold medallist Kieren Perkins, his wife Symantha and their three children, love their family holidays. While the family lives in Queensland, they do love getting away to Sydney, and have agreed to share a couple of their very favourite places that don't cost a fortune.

They really enjoy a day on Pittwater. The Pittwater-Broken Bay-Cowan waters cruising ground has a total of 36.8 nautical miles of protected sailing waters. It is not a commercial area and much of the time, it allows you to appreciate the surrounding beach, little beaches and coves without too many other boats around. All that beauty just an hour or so north of Sydney's CBD.

The family rented a 21-foot cruiser from Barrenjoey Boat Hire. You just drive to the boatshed, launch the boat and away you go. No licence is needed and the boat can go right up onto beaches, so no need for a dinghy. There is plenty of room for children to move around and also a table on board — but most adventurers would rather have lunch on one of the many beaches. Take your own picnic or stop at many of the food shops on the way.

Fishing rods and bait are a good idea — you never know what's biting — then follow the map to Portuguese Bay, Towlers Bay, Great Mackerel Beach or The Basin. Wallabies are often seen there and a lovely time can be spent swimming and building sandcastles. Chances are the spot you choose to stop will be your own private beach.

The Basin has toilets, showers, gas and wood barbecues and fire pits, as well as grassy spots with tables and chairs.

Another of the Perkins family's favourite places to visit in Sydney is Taronga Zoo. Before you visit, it's a good idea to get a schedule of feeding times so you are more assured of seeing animals at their liveliest. The promise of food gets them very interested!

More than a million people visit Taronga Park each year and being right on the beautiful Sydney Harbour, visitors and animals enjoy some of the best views in the city. It's like taking a quick trip around the world — there are animals from every continent and new additions are constantly arriving at Taronga.

The 19 chimpanzees are a very popular attraction and everyone loves their antics. Baby Sembi is a new addition and she will be seen clinging to her mother and taking it all in.

Giraffes Andara, Nyota, Zaraffa and young male Jimiyu get the best of the views but all the other animals are happy with their lot.

Asiatic elephants are recent arrivals and have settled in very well. They are a big attraction — in every way. You get a good look at their sprawling tropical home from the Swing Bridge.

The new 1.2 hectare Great Southern Oceans exhibit features Australian and Californian sea lions, Australian and New Zealand fur seals, leopard seals, penguins and pelicans. It plays a vital part in marine conservation through education of the creatures' natural habitats, breeding and field conservation.


Sydney's northern peninsula


Barrenjoey Boat Hire's 21-foot cruisers cost $240 for eight hours and carry 12 passengers.

The Basin has camping sites available. Contact Parks and Wildlife NSW for further information.

Information provided by Parks and Wildlife, NSW

Taronga Zoo entry is $37 for adults, $18 for children between 4-15 years and children under four enter free of charge. It is open every day between 9am and 5pm.

For further information

Barrenjoey Boat Hire/Barrenjoey Boating Services
Governor Phillip Park
Palm Beach 2108
Ph: (02) 9974 4229

Parks and Wildlife NSW
Ph: (02) 9974 1011

Taronga Zoo
Bradleys Head Road
Mosman 2088
Ph: (02) 9969 2777

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