Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sydney Day 4

Today was jam-packed with activities. We met our tour bus this morning at a nearby McDonald's for a 7:15 pickup. Or at least it was supposed to be 7:15. Apparently a couple of people overslept, making the driver late for our pickup location. That is so incredibly rude to inconvenience everyone else, not to mention that it impacted our schedule for the rest of the morning.

We drove in a small bus the 90 km to the Blue Mountains National Park, which is a World Heritage site. We stopped once about 45 minutes into the trip for a potty/coffee break. Once we arrived in the park we had time for a quick peak at the Three Sisters, a sandstone rock formation, before boarding the Scenic Skyway, a cable car with a glass floor that takes you 270 meters between the cliffs over the Jamison Valley. It is the highest cable car in Australia. Once across the valley, we entered the Scenic Cableway, Australia's biggest cable car. It can carry 84 people. Fortunately we only had about 30 on our  run.  The car took us 545 meters to the bottom of the valley.

Once at the bottom we walked on the Scenic Walkway, the longest elevated boardwalk in Australia. We learned about the temperate rainforest and the plant life, and also about the mining that had been done in the area. When that part of the tour ended, we climbed into the Scenic Railway. With a 52 degree incline, it is the steepest passenger train in the world. It took us back to the top where our bus met us to drive us to Echo Point Lookout. From there you have a grand view of the Three Sisters and the mountains in general. Several of us braved the intimidating steep, sloping staircase to go down to see the first "sister" up close. It was a rushed hike as the driver was trying to make up the lost time from the morning latecomers. We were scheduled to see an 11:30 aboriginal show, and Jim and I were a couple minutes late for that.

After the show we went to a nearby country club for lunch, consisting of baked chicken drumsticks, fried fish, salad, vegetables,  and a couple desserts. Then our driver took us to a surprise stop at Lincoln's Rock. The rock formation has no guardrails of any kind, and is a sheer drop off. It was gorgeous!

Last stop was at Featherdale Wildlife Park. Small by animal park standards, it is nevertheless home to  Australia' largest number of native wildlife. You can have your picture taken with a koala and also hand feed the kangaroos. We enjoyed the experience!

From there our driver Tim took us on a short drive through Olympic Village (from the 2000 Olympics) before dropping us off at the dock where we would caught a ferry for our return trip to Circular Quay in downtown Sydney. As we traveled down the Parramatta River on our way to Sydney Harbour, this was a different view of the city than we had seen before. Upon arriving we picked up dinner to go and brought it back to the room. We are tired!

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