Friday, February 26, 2010

Blue Mountains and Wildlife

Today we did a tour of the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney.  The bus picked us up outside our hotel at 7:40 a.m.  Our first stop on our tour was to Featherdale--an animal sanctuary.  This place was amazing and so fun!  We got to pet kangaroos and koalas!  They weren't in cages so we could just walk up to them.  They are so cute!  We took tons of pictures, of course.  We spent an hour there looking at all the other Aussie animals (dingoes, wallabies, wombats, birds, etc.).

Our next stop was the mountains.  They are really hills, but they are beautiful.  They're blue because of the eucalyptus oil interacting with sunlight.

We did some walks and scenic lookouts.  We also went to a place called Scenic World which has two cable cars and a rail road.  The first cable car was glass bottomoed so you could see all the way down to the bottom.  We were pretty high up and the view was amazing.  Then we took another cable car further down to the rain forest bottom.  It was only a couple of minutes, but again the view was great.  We took a walk around the forest, but it wasn't that exciting.  The trees were gigantic though.  Especially the ferns.  They were huge!  The cool thing is we took a railroad car back up.  It is left over from the coal mining days and is the steepest rail in the world.  It's at a 52 degree angle!  It was crazy going up that.

To end our tour we did a quick drive-through of the Olympic Park and then hopped on the ferry to the Circular Quay.  We got to see a great view of the Opera House and Harbor bridge as we pulled in.

The quay (pronounced key) was a cool part of town, but way too expensive.  We were looking for a decent place to eat and ended up spending a couple of hours walking around Darling Harbor.  It was beautiful.  Each part of Sydney feels so different but I love it all!  I could definitely see myself living here.  It's a great mix of urban and beautiful scenery.

We eventually found a restaurant that turned out to be quite a hot spot.  We had fantastic home-made pasta and brick-oven pizza, and a couple of well deserved schooners of beer.

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