The suburb that spreads down from Military Road to the harbour may be known as a northside haven for moneyed up families with big houses and big SUVs, but Mosman has more to offer than a look at how the other half lives. For starters, the area named for its original owner, Archibald Mosman, is home to Taronga Zoo, one of the great places to see animals in the world. Plus, Mosman features a lively restaurant and boutique shopping scene, most of which you'll find along Military Road – we suggest starting the day with corn fritters at Avenue Road – and the area is also where you'll find some of Sydney's most picturesque harbour beaches.
It's beautifully laid out, the paths are wide and meandering, and – most importantly – the place is full of animals. Really interesting ones too: along with the lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) there are impossibly cute new young elephants, chimps and giraffes, as well as Taronga classics (pygmy hippos, the komodo dragon, koalas, platypi, Andean condors) and many exotic creatures you may not be immediately familiar with. We don't want to play favourites, but if Malaysia's noble bear-cat is binturong, we don't want to be binturight. Taronga is also the most fun way possible to have your conscience pricked about the parlous state of the planet for many of our co-inhabitants. For an example of a sobering statistic: right this minute, you almost certainly have more Facebook friends than there are wild Sumatran Tigers. As that little factlet suggests, the zoo is also making a song and dance about its conservation work as well as its education, research and breeding programmes, so you can spend freely on site knowing that your money is going towards funding worthwhile causes. That stuffed penguin you bought for your nephew might be making the difference between the survival or the extinction of the Corroboree frog. Make a day of it and take in the shows (especially the bird and seal performances) as well as the feeding times, which are available at the website, in order to see the beasts at their most lively. It's worthwhile getting a combined ferry/skyway/zoo ticket if y
Chowder Bay is on the southern side of Sydney's Middle Head Peninsula where a steep bushy backdrop is countered by a gorgeous harbour side frontage. The area hosts historical buildings and remnants of past military occupation; only reopened to the public in 2007, Chowder Bay - whose name grew from the whalers who made chowder from the bay's abundance of seafood - is a very charming spot.