I mentioned to my eleven-year-old grandson the other day that sometimes I still have a posting or two to do for one vacation when it is already time for another trip. A case in point was our week-long sojourn in Sydney, Australia in 2011. I never got around to posting about what we did on our last day in Australia. “You should do that posting,” my grandson told me. So here it is.
One of the highlights of our trip Down Under was finally meeting a distant cousin with whom I had corresponded for many years on our mutual genealogical history. Lin lived in Sydney for many years before moving to Melbourne a few years ago. I asked her for some recommendations on what to see during our stay and she suggested that we sign up for a day trip to the Blue Mountains. We saw the high ratings in Trip Advisor for Blue Diamond Tours and booked our trip with them.
Alena called us at our hotel and told us she would pick us up around 7:20 on Friday morning and at exactly 7:20 a sparkling white Mercedes-Benz mini-bus pulled up in front of the hotel. Off we went on a 90-minute drive to the Blue Mountains which are about 120km west of Sydney. Along the way we stopped for tea and some delicious scones and arrived in Katoomba early enough to beat the crowds.
There were nine of us in Alena’s little bus that day: a geologist from Cologne, Germany; a solo traveler from Sao Paulo, Brazil; an air force officer from Colorado, a newly-wed couple also from Colorado, a couple from Tiburon, California (about 42 miles away from our Crow Canyon home) and ourselves.
Our first stop in the Blue Mountains was at Scenic World where we had a choice of four different modes of transportation: a scenic skyway over the Jamison Valley (“the highest cable car in Australia”), the Katoomba scenic railway (“the steepest incline railway in the world”), a scenic walkway (“the longest boardwalk in the Southern Hemisphere”) in the rainforest at the end of the railway near an old coal mine, and the scenic cableway (“the biggest cable car in Australia”) that we took to get back up to the top. By the way, the cost for these rides was extra; everything else that day was included in the tour price.
Alena next drove us to a secluded spot to view the top cascade of Katoomba Falls. And a short while later we were driven to the Echo Point Lookout where we had a great view of a famous rock formation called The Three Sisters.
After a pleasant lunch in Katoomba we were given some free time to walk around and sight-see or shop in Leura Mall. Then we were off to our next stop: a visit to the
Featherdale Wildlife Park in the Sydney suburb of Doonside (about 40 km west of downtown Sydney). Here we became acquainted with a plethora of animals that are native to Australia: kookaburras, tawny frogmouths, wombats, wallabies, koalas, kangaroos, dingos. We even saw a great big crocodile and a little Tasmanian devil.
On our way back to central Sydney Alena showed us the sights of Olympic Park where the 2000 Olympic Games were held and then we ended our tour at the Cabarita Point ferry station. From there we cruised in a RiverCat down the Parramatta River to Sydney Harbor and Circular Quay.
So that’s what we did on our last day in Australia. The next morning we flew to Auckland and then back to San Francisco