Monkeys and dead fish are probably the last thing most visitors expect to see in Sydney, Australia. But those who veer a little off the usual tourist path with find both in abundance.

taronga zoo   taronga zoo elephant

Monkeys and a multitude of other animals can be found at the Sydney’s Taronga Zoo  located on the Sydney Harbour, still within sight of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Based on a bar-less system and offering a spectacular views of Sydney, this Zoo has been entertaining locals and visitors since 1916.

Covering over 40 acres, the best way to get an overview of the layout is by taking the Sky Safari cable car which operates from the top entrance to the Ferry Wharf from 9.30am to 5.00pm daily.

sydney fish market fish

Dead fish, on the other hand, can be found right in the heart of Sydney at the Sydney Fish Market. Most locals know about the market, but very few, including the doorman at the Four Points at Sheraton where we were staying, know about the large Fish Auction that occurs every morning behind the market. The second largest fish market auction in the world (the largest being in Japan), it is a hive of activity from 5 am to mid morning. It’s open only to those in the industry, but visitors can get take part in a behind the scenes tour of the Sydney fish auction floor on Monday, Thursday, and Friday mornings.

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Liz Lewis is a New Zealand based writer who favors wine tasting and food markets over bungy jumping and mountain climbing.