Friday, August 8, 2014

Sydney Adventures

Katherine arrived in Sydney early Wednesday afternoon and after she arrived we went to explore a little more of the city. We did quite a bit of walking and went all the way down to the harbor and saw the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Botanical Gardens. 

Around 4:00 we made our way to the Sydney Harbor Bridge for our tour across the bridge. We were given special suits and some gear, including a kind of harness and we were led along the paths that are used for bridge maintenance and up to the upper arch of the bridge. We were really lucky with the weather – it was warm and sunny with barely a breeze – and we got to be on the bridge for sunset and after dark to see the city all lit up. After the bridge walk, we stopped for a dinner of pizza before walking back to our hostel for the night.
On top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge!

Thursday was a great day. Katherine and I got up fairly early this morning and went to a local cafĂ© for bagels and coffee before hopping on the train to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains! The train ride was two hours long but it went fast and it was great to see a little of the Australian countryside. It’s much drier than New Zealand and the vegetation is really different.
The town of Katoomba is small but it has a few cute shops and cafes. We walked all the way down the main street to the Blue Mountains National Park. The Blue Mountains are often referred to as “the Grand Canyon of Australia” and for obvious reasons. The mountains are layers and layers of ancient sandstone and limestone and in some places it really resembles the Grand Canyon.  We did a few hikes in the park. The first was the Katoomba Falls hike and we walked a long way down the mountains to an amazing waterfall. We then had to walk all the way back up lots and lots of steps and near the top we went to see the famous Three Sisters which are three tower rock formations.

Looking out into the Blue Mountains
Katoomba Falls
The Three Sisters
After our full day of hiking, we were both tired and ready to go back to town. We explored a few shops on the way back to the train station and then caught the 5:30 train back to the Central station. We were more than ready for supper when we got there after the two hour train ride and we decided to go to a place called Just Falafel which has all kinds of delicious varieties of falafel wraps. Falafels aren’t really a New Zealand or Australian food but they’ve become one of my new favorite foods while travelling here. After dinner, we made a quick stop for McFlurries before heading back to the hostel to get ready for bed and relax before another full day.

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