Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Friday, December 22, 2023

Australian Museum, Sydney Cove, and Darling Harbour, Australia - Part 1, Friday, December 22, 2023

It's 7:45 a.m. on Friday, December 22, in Sydney, Australia. It's time to find brekky (breakfast). We didn't need a huge breakfast at a sit-down restaurant, so we searched the QVB (Queen Victoria Building) and underground tunnels for our meal. It was love at first sight when we saw the fresh fruit parfaits at the Top Juice kiosk in one of the tunnels.

Don't these look yummy?

Looks can be deceiving. We should have asked what was in them. The fruit was fresh and delicious. The yogurt was good and identifiable as such. However, the unidentifiable food at the bottom of the cup could have been better. Looking at it, I thought it was ground blueberries or chocolate. However, upon tasting it, Bob and I were mystified. Perhaps ground raisins? I hate raisins. Upon querying Facebook readers, the consensus was Vegemite. Hmm...not a fan. At least we enjoyed the top part of the parfait.

Today is a free, full day in Sydney. We arrived a day before our cruise so we could go to the Australian Museum and do more walking around. It was a few blocks walk to the museum and about 75 degrees outside. 

Australian Museum, Sydney.

Promoting the Ramses the Great
exhibit inside the museum.

This world-class museum is FREE with an admission fee to the special Ramses exhibit 
(adult $52 Australian). When we go into a museum we feel like we are going to be tested afterward and, therefore, read all the exhibits! 

Today, Sydney's outdoors was calling. We limited our stay to three hours, including lunch in the museum's cafe. [NOTE: It took way longer to edit photos and write this blog!!]

The Exhibition Hall had "Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs." I would have thoroughly enjoyed seeing this, but Bob wasn't interested. [I never got to see the King Tut exhibits a few years ago.] Below is a description from the museum's brochure: 
"Transport yourself back 3,300 years, across the sands of the Sahara Desert where you reach the heartbeat of Ancient Egypt ruled by the most celebrated pharaoh in the country's storied history. Experience one of the greatest collections of its kind in this Australian-first edition, Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs.

"This...experience provides...a window into the life and accomplishments of Ramses II, more commonly known as Ramses the Great, who ruled Egypt for 67 years - the second-longest reign for any pharaoh, living an astonishing 92 years.

"...features 182 priceless artifacts including the coffin of Ramses the Great plus Egyptian treasures and one-of-a-kind relics...many have never left Egypt before...[V]isitors will discover a stunningly preserved collection of artefacts, including sarcophagi, animal mummies, magnificent jewellry, spectacular royal masks, exquisite amulets, and ornate golden treasures of the tomb, showcasing the superb workmanship of Egyptian artisans."

We started our exploration of the museum in the Garrigarrang exhibit on the Upper Ground Floor. In the language spoken by the Eora (people) of the Sydney Basin, garrigarrang (sea) and garrigarrang nura (sea place or Country) means the ocean, plants and animals; the beach, land and estuaries; and the seasons, weather and sky. People belong to their Sea Countries and their Sea Countries belong to them. Australia has many different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations who each manage their own territories. 

The canoe below was typically used on rivers and for visiting neighboring islands. This type of canoe is typically propelled with a single paddle with a broad, rounded end. Its style and design are very different from the dugouts of the Northern Territory or tied-bark canoes from the southeast coast of Australia.

Bark canoe, 1905, from 
Whitsunday Island, Queensland.
Also, various types of fish traps.

Art: Aboriginal with a crocodile
on his back.

Canoe, crocodile sorcerer, and 
crocodile spirit man. See the photo below.

The next exhibit highlights the problem with abandoned "ghost nets." Aboriginal peoples collect trash and ghost nets from beaches and repurpose them into art that tells stories. 

Ghost net art: "Dauma," 2013.

Ghost net art: "Garom," 2013.






Gurugal darimi.

"Old Man, His Son, Old Man's Grandson,"
1985, attributed to Deaf Tommy Mongatopi,
Melville Island, Northern Territories. 

The next gallery we went through was Wild Planet. I will identify a few of the animals we saw.

Red Kangaroo (male) and Common Wallaroo.

The male Red Kangaroo is the largest living marsupial, weighing more than 90 kg (198 lb.) and standing over two meters (6-1/2') tall. Females are only half the size and blue-gray in color. They regularly travel six to 12 miles to find food and water and can hop over 55 km (34 miles) per hour. One hop can measure 7 meters (22' 10")!

The Common Wallaroo can survive harsh conditions of the mountainous regions, rocky hills, and steep escarpments. They use their short, broad, hind feet to leap around on rocks. Extreme heat and predators can be avoided by sheltering in caves and rocky outcrops. Though they often gather near streams, the Common Wallaroo can survive for up to three months without drinking, by obtaining all the water it needs from the plants that it eats.

Gould's Monitor or Sand Goanna.

Spotted-tailed quoll.

Lumholtz's Tree-Kangaroo.

Short-beaked Echidna.

Gang-gang Cockatoo.

Shingleback or Bobtail, a relative of the
Blue-tongue Lizard. 


Rufous Hare-wallaby
and Rufous Bettong.

Greater Bilby.

Next, we ventured into the Westpac Long Gallery which I thought had the most interesting collection in the museum: "200 Treasures." 

"200 Treasures" exhibit explained.

Here are photos of my personal favorites in the objects section of this exhibit with the accompanying descriptions.

Captain Cook's Hawaiian cape.

Captain Cook's Hawaiian cape.

Siapo or barkcloth.

Reverend George Brown's 
cabinet of birds.

Upe Hats.

Carved canoe prow.

Tetale bird figure.

Lord Howe Island Diorama.

Maitland Bar Gold Nugget.

Crocodile Turtle Mask.

That was some fascinating stuff. Next, we went to the first floor. The "200 Treasures" exhibit continued around the interior balcony. The "people" part of the 200 Treasures exhibit was wrapped around the walls of this balcony. I was most impressed by the Irish Elk Skeleton, Megaloceros giganteus. 

Irish Elk skeleton.

The photo I took of the description was very blurry, so I'll type it in: 
"Standing about two metres tall, with antlers spanning more than three metres, the Irish Elk was one of the most impressive megafauna of the Pleistocene epoch. Unlike many other megafauna, it survived the Ice Age but became extinct, probably due to habitat loss, around 7,700 years ago.

"Despite its name, it's neither an elk nor exclusively Irish - specimens have been found across Europe and in northern Asia and Africa. It is not closely related to any living species, but it is suspected that the animal was the foundation for the folkloric aurochs of German mythology. The bones of this specimen are dark, rather than the usual white, because they were preserved in the peaty bogs of Ireland."

The first floor is also home to the "Minerals" exhibit. WOW! Not only does this exhibit have a lot of rocks, minerals, and meteorites, but it also gives clear descriptions of how all these things formed. 

The museum brochure describes this section as follows: "Be dazzled by over 1,800 spectacular specimens, including some of the oldest rocks on Earth and visitors from outer space."

Here is a sampling of their Minerals exhibit.

The fluorescent light exhibit.


Ribbonstone (banded chert), kangaroo 
pattern, St. Anthony's Lagoon, Northern
Territory, Australia.

Gold nuggets from Australia.

Deadly mistakes.
What's a rare earth element?

See the photo below.

This slice of rock is made of alternating bands of
three minerals: red bands of jasper, golden
bands of tiger eye, and dark bands of iron oxide.

The balconies of the Westpac Long

The whole second-floor balcony is surrounded by bird exhibits! We climbed the stairs to the second floor.

Bob loves this Fairy Wren.

Whole-wall display cases are full of Australian birds!

Look at how big a stork is!
Powerful Owl.

Rainbow Lorikeet.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.

An assortment of colorful birds!

The rest of the second floor contained "Dinosaurs," "Surviving Australia," and "Wansolmoana" (One Salt Ocean) exhibits.

Birds are "living dinosaurs."

Surviving Australia: This exhibit covered surviving everything from the hole in the ozone layer to poisonous spiders, deadly snakes, crocodiles, and very unusual animals and how they survive in hot and inhospitable environments. 

The dreaded crocodile.

This is the first of three panels.

Wombats are unusual. See the description below.

The platypus.

The platypus.

The Platypus burrow.

The last gallery, "Wansolmoana: One Salt Ocean," is the newest and reflects the cultural significance of the immense body of water that connects the islands and people across the Pacific region.


See the photo above.


A rare Rotuman Suru believed to be the
first of its kind made since the 1800s.

See the photo above.

Artwork in the gallery.

Maori poupou, ancestral house post.

There is so much more to see in this museum. I hope I hit the highlights. Please take a trip to Australia and include this museum in your exploration for your enlightenment.

The rest of Friday, December 22, will be covered in Part 2.

To be continued...


  1. I hope you are able to visit the Opera house and do the bridge climb. We did a 3 week land tour with 4 days in Sydney. There was so much to see, but we didn't do the museum. We spent 3 weeks in Egypt and did their musuem. Enjoy the journey!

    1. Thanks for posting, Bill and Jan. I love the comments.

      We did not tour the Opera House or do the bridge climb on this trip. On our 2012 trip to Australia, we walked across the bridge and back, but didn't do the climb then, either.

      I bet the museum in Egypt was quite something!


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