|We have been asked many questions about Australia - so I am posting another Sydney entry. A lot is duplicated. We totally loved Australia. Although New Zealand was beautiful, it was Australia and it's wonderful people that totally captured our hearts.
Gosh, we’re on vacation and you would think that I would have plenty of time to write the blog regularly .... NOT!
We have never traveled to this part of the world before so we have made sure that we are using every waking moment to see and do as much as we possibly can.
After spending 8 days in New Zealand, Charmaine and Mike drove us 2 hours south to Auckland airport for our flight out to Sydney, Australia.
On arrival at Sydney International we made our way to the train station within the airport. We each pulled our own luggage and made our way easily onto the train that sped, stopping at 5 stations albeit very briefly to Circular Quay where we disembarked. From there we only had another 200 meters to our boutique hotel - The Russell - in The Rocks, a section of downtown Sydney which is right on the beautiful waterfront/harbor. This train trip only cost AUS$15 as opposed to AUS$35 for a taxi to the hotel.
The Russell was a fascinating small hotel built almost a century ago. Our room was small but very well appointed with a queen bed and small ultra modern bathroom. The hefty AUS$250 price per night is very typical of a hotel night in this super glamorous city. Nothing in Sydney was cheap. A pizza was $27 and a glass of wine $15 .... we had to suck it up and pay the hefty prices ... what else could one do.
This was the downside of Australia - expensive!!! Virtually everything else I could think of in Australia would be under the heading “upside”.
We only had 3 days in Sydney and walked a few miles day and night checking out everything we could within a 5 mile radius.
On one of the days we took a full day tour to the Blue Mountains. All I can say is “breathtaking”!!!!! We were picked up promptly by our guide in a comfortable, air conditioned mini bus - we were a group of 20.
Our first stop was the ANZ Olympic stadium - of which they are extremely proud. From there we stopped at the Wentworth Falls for a picture and then on to the stunning small town of Leura where we strolled the crafty shops and then had scones (made in miniature clay flower pots) and tea and then went to Woolworths grocery store to buy a couple of bottles of Vegemite to bring back home to the States.
From Leura we traveled further up into the Blue Mountains to the town of Katoomba, onto the Three Sisters and Echo Point. We then stopped at Scenic World for over an hour to go down into the rainforest by funicular. This is the steepest incline railway in the world and pretty scary. 52 degrees, 128% or 1 in 1.28 - lots of fun riding it though. Because of the danger of the steep grade they will be removing this railway and replacing it with a safer one by the end of 2012 ..... too bad, but we are thrilled to be part of history and the privilege of riding it and surviving. LOL The mountains reminded us very much of the Smokies and were absolutely splendid.
Our next stop at The Three Sisters we were invited to an Aborigine Dance Performance at the Koomurri Aboriginal Center. What a fabulous show!!
Our next stop was Featherdale Wildlife Park. The total highlight of our trip to Australia. A magic wildlife park where one can walk between the animals, cuddle and feed them. Of course we fell in love with the Koalas and the Roo’s, the Wallabies and the gorgeous Kookaburra. Whew we wished we could have spent an entire day amid these gentle animals.
Our day ended by way of a relaxing ferry trip down the Parramatta river at sunset ...... a tremendous day in this awesome country downunder.
Our only regret .... that we did not set aside a few weeks to travel around this gorgeous country.
Please be patient - all the photo's will be posted when we arrive back home.