30/06/2008 - 25/07/2008 14 °C
So here we are in the land of Kangaroos, koalas, didgeridoos and barbeques....and so far it's been pretty good fun!
We weren't really sure what to do with our time here - i spent the first two days in deep depression, sulking about having left New Zealand, before finally pulling myself together and starting to enjoy sydney! to be honest i think Australia is a bit overwhelming due to the sheer size of the place, we just had no idea where to start, and found everything to be pretty expensive and the distances between places quite huge. We looked at campervans and decided all in all it wasn't worth hiring one for such a short time and killing ourselves trying to drive as far as possible and not seeing much - so we've just stayed in sydney and done some short trips from here on the train, and got to know the city a little more. I'm glad we made that decision because really it's been exhausting being on the go constantly for 9 months, I was about to burn out, so it's been nice for us to have a bit of a break and just slow down and chill out!
So, obviously the first thing on my to do list was to see the harbour:
to be totally honest i'd never been a big fan of the Sydney Opera House, but i have to say it is quite impressive, and not a bad view while you're sitting in the park! (we could also see it out of our hostel window if we climbed on the sink and leaned riiiight out....
Then we walked around the Royal Botanic Gardens, and one day it was actually warm enought to have a picnic! (remember its winter here folks - it's still mainly sunny but damn it's cold when the wind blows) We were joined on our picnic by about 15 cockatoos, some lorikeets and a few pigeons....cue more Ace Ventura-type scenes:
Next on the list was obviously cuddling a koala....so off we went to Featherdale Wildlife Park, where we saw koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, tasmanian devils, cassowaries, sacred ibises, crocodiles, dingoes, flying foxes, peacocks, penguins and many more. Loved the koalas and kangaroos, they were so cool!
and ian enjoyed meeting skippy!
after that we visited the Blue Mountains, which are 2 hours west of sydney and one of the most popular tourist attractions in New South Wales. The Blue Mountains are so named because, from Sydney, they look blue. They are clad in vast forests of eucalypts (commonly called gum trees), which in the hot sun discharge a fine mist of eucalyptus oil from their leaves. The mist refracts light, which makes the haze look blue at a distance. That same oil makes the Australian bush as volatile as a pine forest in a bush (forest) fire. The vapour explodes, causing the fire to race through the canopy. (for more info go to http://www.sydney.visitorsbureau.com.au/page2-12.html )
The area is certainly very beautiful and dramatic, and we did a couple of nice walks, past several impressive waterfalls and some stunning views.
Soooo, we've also played a didgeridoo, drunk Fosters (yuck), and still need to throw a boomerang, have a 'barby', hopefully see the aussies play rugby against New Zealand tomorrow, and wear one of those hats with corks hanging off it....
Here's to the rest of the time in Australia!
Take care folks and don't forget there's a few more pics in my gallery on this site (link on the right somewhere) and if anyone's on facebook Ian and I both have a lot of photos on there!