Out in the Bush

It’s back to the follow-up trip home from New Zealand series, continuing where I left off in Sydney.

:: October 29, 2014 ::

Trains are a wonderful invention. You get on with just a ticket and get off whenever you want and repeat the process to return. No one is fussing over how many bags you’re carrying or how much they weigh. There are no metal detectors and no one searching your stuff a million times.

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So for our day in the bush, we took a train out to the blue mountains. Well, perhaps we were a little naive, but we really were expecting mountains. After just coming from green New Zealand, we expected something similar, with an Australian twist. And since the word blue was right before mountains I suppose we expected something to be blueish in color.

As we rode along in the swaying train car, we watched out the windows as city became suburban and eventually bush. There were ridges, and lots of bushy looking trees or shrubs, but nothing looked blue. And there were no mountains. At least, nothing that resembled mountains to us from the view of our train windows.

The one downside with trains is, they don’t wait. Not for anyone, or anything. So as we were riding along out of Sydney for miles and miles, we listened carefully for the next stops (if they were announced) so we wouldn’t miss our stop. It came then, but we weren’t quite on top of things, and some conflicting instructions to Natasha were not heeded… (“No, we don’t walk around in airports or trains barefoot.” “Yes, it’s a long ride, as long as you’re sitting you can take your shoes off.” “Oh! that’s our stop. Come on! We don’t have time for you to put your shoes on. It’s okay this time…hurry…!” and as I grabbed her and her shoes and stumbled down the second-story train stairs, the doors closed and the train kept moving. We had missed our stop.

Fortunately, there were other parks down the line, and we found another suitable green spot on the map to explore in the little town of Wentworth Falls. After lunch right near the train tracks, we began our hike. The name of the path/walk was called “Charles Darwin Walk”. We did laugh about that since we do not share his world-view in the slightest, but…anyway.

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It was much warmer than New Zealand, but not unbearable and I was simply struck by how very Australian it all was. The landscape was definitely different than green Kiwi land. More brown and dusty and rocky, yet we followed a little creek as it wound around and Natasha even went wading.

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I neglected to add these last couple pictures to our previous post, but back at the apartment at the close of each day, we would fix supper and enjoy food. So at the close of adventuring, we would sit down and feast. The most unusual food item? Check it out:

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Sydney, Round 2

Still catching up on our travels home from New Zealand back in late September-early October 2014. We flew from Auckland to Sydney where we had a nice 3 day layover, and got to see even more of Sydney. First stop: Angel Place for the birdhouse art display in the alleyway:16-003

We did some actual shopping right around the Westfield Shopping Mall too. I say actual shopping because we truly were looking for tights for Natasha. We found some too, so that was a success, and I felt rich because we bought them at such a fancy location. Even though that’s about all we bought in Sydney other than groceries to cook at our apartment because whoa, stuff is expensive there.

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The above picture taken from a stand-still bus stuck in traffic. We seriously could have walked faster than traffic was moving, however we were tired of walking and once it started moving, it was better than walking because of the distance we needed to travel.

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I didn’t want to leave Australia without seeing the Sydney Opera House and quite conveniently, one can view the stunning Sydney Harbour Bridge at the same location.

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After one full day of being in such a busy, upscale part of the city, we were kind of ready to be back in the outdoors with more nature surrounding us, so next post will showcase some of Australia’s bush and outback. This seems so silly, but all I could think of while hiking along was, “It looks so… Australian.”  :)

A Day in Sydney

{August 5th, 2014} We {gratefully} interrupted our flight schedule to spend a day and night in Sydney. Our flight from Jakarta arrived early August 5th, we were able to shower and regroup before doing a bit of sight-seeing. That night, we slept in real beds in a quaint little one-room guest house in an Sydney family’s back yard, before starting out the next morning to New Zealand. Here’s a tip on using the trains in Sydney: Don’t buy tickets at the airport.

They’re about 4 times more expensive because of airport specific taxes! We did the slightly odd thing, and walked out of the airport over roads that had traffic streaming in and drivers looking at us funny, before finding a nice walking/biking path that took us to a regular train station. The ~1 mile walk to another station (Tempe) saved us about $36 AUD.

This was just one of the many times I was happy we weren’t lugging a ton of luggage around. After a lovely lunch at the Sideways Cafe, we headed off to see some wild animals of Australia. This particular “Light Rail” train\track section is very new, only about 100 days old. You pay once you’re on the train by handing money (which we didn’t have yet) to the kind ticket-master. We hadn’t changed any money yet, and they don’t take credit card like some of the other trains, but he was very friendly and kept saying we could have this ride on Sydney, and winked at us. 09-056

The Australian Animal Adventure Park is at Darling Harbour, with a terrific view of the water and the city.

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These frogs made us laugh. Can you see them, just perched on a leave like a big fat lump? 10-062

Zoo Keeper Janel with a baby Tasmanian Devil.

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Sitting on a wombat.

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Posing with a wallaby.

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The kangaroos weren’t being very photogenic but this fella stood very still and stately for us. 15-081

See the koala?

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Ringo, the crocodile, was incredibly huge. I had no idea they got this big. 17-086

Darling Harbour:

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After this picture, Natasha proceeded to go around to each statue and imitate its position. 20-093

We will have about 2 more days in Sydney when we return to the States, so we’ll be able to do more sightseeing then. But this was a fine little outing to welcome us Down Under. 21-096