Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Aussie Adventure Day 2 Featherdale Wildlife Park, Blue Mountains and Sydney Harbour Cruise


Monday February 6, 2017
Sydney, NSW Australia

Good morning Sydney Australia! For some reason I'm up at 4:30 a.m. and wide awake. So I'm checking emails and reading the news from back home and waiting for Jay to wake up.

It's Monday morning here but it's Super Bowl Sunday evening back home. The pubs around Sydney are opening at 6:30 a.m. for the game that starts at 10 a.m.. Australians love sports. The folks I've talked too think American football players are kind of wussies because of all the gear they wear but they still love to watch. This will be the first Super Bowl EVER that I've not watched.

I've got a date with the Blue Mountains and some pretty cool animals so hopefully I won't feel too bad.

We're a little early for breakfast but Ken, the Lord Nelson caretaker gets us some coffee, toast and fruit.

Today we're getting picked up at 8 a.m. for our drive into the Blue Mountains National Park, a World Heritage site. We meet our van-Vanessa at the Travelodge, a 20 minute walk from our hotel. Our guide for the day is Max and our driver is Dave. There are about 20 of us on this adventure.

Dave gives us some background about his country. He explains about the British Penal Colony and how the HMS Endeavour, under the command of Captain James Cook, was the first ship to reach the east coast of Australia in 1770 (the ship was scuttled in Newport RI in 1778).

It's a beautiful summer day, about 82 F at 8:30 a.m. and we can start feeling the heat.

After about 45 minutes in the van we arrive at the Featherdale Wildlife Park. I'm hoping to meet some Koalas, Kanagroos and maybe a Wallaby or two.
From their website: With over 1,700 mammals, birds and reptiles, our comprehensive collection of Australian species awaits your visit. You can meet a Koala, feed the Kangaroos and Wallabies, admire the size of our enormous Saltwater Crocodile "Ngukkur" and loads more!





More photos of Featherdale Wildlife Park: Click Here

After walking around the park for about an hour, we're back on the bus and heading to the Blue Mountains National Park. We leave the M4 for the Great Western Highway or A32.


The mountain range divides the coast from the Bush and just past the Bush is the Outback.

I'm checking the Patriots/Falcons score on my phone and it's not looking good for New England.

We stop in the town of Leura for lunch. Max called ahead and our lunch of fish and chips is waiting for us at Loaves and Dishes. The town also boasts a Teapot museum.

I check the Patriots score again 21-3 Falcons. WHAT? It's a quick 10 minute drive to the Three Sisters.

Suddenly we see the peaks and they do look blue. Max tells us the blue is from the Gum Trees or Eucalyptus Trees-they release a mist that contains eucalyptus oil making the air about the forest seem blue. We are at Echo Point.


Max tells us the aboriginal Dream Time Story of the Three Sisters.
The three sisters - 'Meehni', 'Wimlah' and Gunnedoo'are enchanting girls that lived in the heart of the Jamison Valley as part of the Katoomba tribe. The girls were young and their hearts were captured by three brothers from a neighbouring tribe. However the law of the land forbid the girls from following their desires and marrying outside their own people.

The brothers decided to capture the girls and carry them away to be wed, a major battle ensued as the two tribes clashed and the blood ran thick. An elderly witchdoctor from the Katoomba tribe feared for the safety of the beautiful sisters and cast a spell to turn them to stone to keep them safe from harm. During the raging battle the witchdoctor was killed and unable to reverse the spell.

The sisters stand mournfully high above the Jamison Valley, doused in glory, bewitching in their enchantment but never able to return to the human form.

I opt to hike down to one of the Three Sisters.


From this photo you can see where I hiked down to...


We walk around a little longer taking in the views. Most of group will be taking the SkyWay trip across the valley. Jay and I choose to hike it.

Before we leave the bus, I check the score one more time. It's the 4th quarter and the Patriots aren't doing well. Oh well, I have a rain forest to hike.


Jay and I make our way down into the rain forest. It's wicked hot but very peaceful. We are looking for Katoomba Falls.

We've found the falls.
It's been very dry in New South Wales (NSW); the fire danger is HIGH so the falls aren't roaring but it's still a beautiful sight to see. And well worth the hike down to them. We hike back up the other side of the valley to meet the rest of our crew at the Scenic World.

Scenic World even has a webcam for you to watch http://www.scenicworld.com.au/explore-our-world/take-look/web-cam/  but remember there is a time difference.

More photos of The Three Sisters, The Blue Mountains and Katoomba Falls: Click Here

Max and Dave collect our crew for our ride back to Sydney. I check the Super Bowl score and WHAT? the Patriots have won in overtime. You have got to be kidding me! I start getting texts and emails from everyone back in New England about the unbelievable game that I missed.

Well OK, but did you get they hang with Koalas and Kangaroos and Wallabies? Did they see the Three Sisters and Katoomba Falls?

Our day ends with a cruise down the Parramatta River to Sydney Harbour. We get on our ferry at Olympic Park...hmmm Bruce Springsteen is performing at Olympic Park Tuesday and Thursday night.


The kids are enjoying the river on this hot summer day.


We come around a bend in the river and suddenly we see the Sydney Harbour Bridge.



And no, we didn't do the Sydney Bridge Climb. But if you go and do the Climb please let me know how it was.

More photos of our Sydney Harbour cruise: Click Here

Off the boat and we stop at the Transit Information booth to see about getting to the concerts on Tuesday and Thursday nights. A really nice guy told us our options and laughed when we said we came from Vermont for the shows.

We leave Circular Quay and head back to The Rocks and the Lord Nelson. We hop in the shower, check emails and head downstairs for dinner.

I have the Chili Crab Spaghettini and Jay has the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad. Both we amazingly good.

We're in bed by 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday we have an easy day planned because we have BRUCE at night!

Did I mention that Sydney is still celebrating Chinese New Year?