Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sydney Part II days 4-8

Rachel and I were particularly excited about Featherdale because it has only the native Australian animals. As we left the bus a man was holding a baby wallaby and Rachel went up to see it, she said she had been waiting all week to see one and so the man said "If you've come all this way to hold one, here you are!"

The Wildlife park was so nice and we could have spent much more time there, but we were on a schedule and so onward we treked to the Blue Mountains. We planned our AU adventure in July for 2 reasons, one was timing certainly, but secondly it was to get a taste of winter. Why we chose not to take coats (that we had brought) is debatable but there was a definite chill in the air at least 20 degrees cooler once we hit altitude. We even got a taste of sleet for a short while after lunch while waiting for the bus.
The Blue Mountains were amazing and beautiful. Very grand and such spectacular scenery. The three sisters rock formation was cool and the other scenery was outstanding. By the end of the day the sun was setting and the temps were dropping further, we were happy to be riding home on a cozy bus. We did chose the 'fast return' option so to avoid being stuck on a bus in rush hour traffic we rode a ferry home from Sydney Olympic Park, home of the 2000 games. Boating into the harbor at night was so pretty, sadly my camera couldn't do justice to the city lights.
Friday we decided to set out on foot, we headed first to the Sydney Aquarium which was super. We were there at the peak time of day so it was a bit crowded in spots, but neat nonetheless. The highlight for me was that we finally got to see the platypus, the only native animal we had missed at the Featherdale zoo. After the Aquarium we set off again toward the Queen Victoria Bldg. (QVB) and old market restored into a mall, then on to Hyde Park, The Australia Museum, St Mary's Cathedral and some other random sites like the clock tower and the AU stock exchange. By days end were were ready for a beer and a sitdown.
Saturday was our last full day & night in Sydney. We had a lazy morning, then checked out the "Rocks Market" and did some shopping and seeing the sites. Some very talented artisans (and some junk too) were there. I also finally did some opal shopping and my sweetheart was very kind to me, black opal earrings and a pendant (made easier by tax free and a favorable exchange rate!).One interesting thing about our cool antique hotel was it's proximity to Sydney's oldest pub, "The Fortune of War". Our room faced the street and so every night we'd hear the drunks roll out about 3a.m. It was a bit annoying, but mostly funny. One night a gentleman serenaded us with a salute to the RAF for at least 3 blocks. After dinner and getting the kids showered and settled Pat and I decided to join in the fun downstairs and settled in for a couple of pints with the crowds. We met some ladies from Melbourne and a newly wed couple from Brisbane and had a pleasant chat with them all. Back up stairs by 11 feeling like we had tasted the local flavor.
Sunday was meant for travel, we hated to leave, but everyone was looking forward to sleeping in their own bed. To the airport by noon, Sydney to Cairns from 3-6pm, then the L-O-N-G wait till midnight at the Cairns airport. Nothing but vending machines available at that time so Pat used the last of our AU $ to hire a taxi to go off airport and get some hamburgers. $70 for dinner isn't unreasonable , unless you consider it was 4 hamburgers, 2 bags of chips and 2 cokes! Anyway it was tasty and makes a good story. The flight from Cairns gets in at 4 am Guam time, it's a long trip, but one I would do again in a heartbeat. AMAZING OZ

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