Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sydney - Manly, Bondi, Blue Mountains

Left at 5:00 am on a 5 day trip to Sydney with Melissa. We stayed at a friends place in Newtown. King street in Newton has lots of restaurants and hotels (thats what they call bars). Its the place to be and has great places to eat. While in Sydney we went to the harbor bridge, the opera house, the blue mountains, and just explored. We packed delicious double peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for cheap food on the road. On to the pictures.

Below is a very large Where's Waldo? (or as the Australians say, Where's Wally?) drawing on canvas by a street artist. Pretty cool.

Wish you could have seen the Opera House before Alicia ate it.

Took the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly beach.

Manly beach has a good sized national park off to the right, but we didn't have enough time to check it out.

If you look closely you can see people walking on the top of the harbour bridge.

We made it to Bondi Beach at night for some dinner and drinks. Beer's were $5, the cheapest we have found since we have been in Australia.

You can take a 3 hour train rid to the Blue Mountains or a 1.5 hour car ride. I'd recommend renting a car so you cans stop at different places along the way. It also gave us enough time to get lost and explore. Our map to the mountains had about 40 different places to stop, it was beautiful but wish we had more time to see it all. They call it the Blue Mountains because from the city they look blue. There are numerous eucalypts trees (commonly called gum trees), and in the hot sun they discharge a mist of eucalyptus oil from their leaves. The mist refracts light, which makes the haze look blue at a distance.

From the picture it's hard to tell, but this was a HUGE waterfall. So amazing.

The 3 Sisters. They sure are sexy!

We found this to be very interesting because when you walk on the trails and stairs you wonder how anyone was able to create these especially with tools in the 1800's. The first road was cut into the Blue Mountains by William Cox using a team of 30 convicts and eight guards. Starting at Emu Plains at the foothills in July 1814, they cut 47 miles to Mount York in just four months. At the end of six months they completed 101 miles of road to Bathurst, which was founded as the major center for agriculture on the western slopes.

The road was too steep for horse-drawn carriages until another branch was built from Mount Victoria to the historic township of Hartley in 1832. That could be considered the start of tourism to the area. The first railway into the mountains, from Emu Plains to Wentworth Falls, opened in July 1867. 

Walking down all of the stairs was killer on the knees because it was steep the entire time. Going back up wasn't much easier...haha.

Sydney Opera House. Yay, finally got to see it in real life!

Look! Henry's peeing....ok, not really.

If you look closely you can see a bird in the picture. As we were walking through this part of the garden, this bird dive-bombed Alicia's head twice! Not sure why, but she wasn't too happy about it. I just had to take the time to get a picture of the little bugger.

There were tons of Flying Foxes at the botanic garden in the middle of the city.

I don't know who's scarier?

They've got really good free museums at art galleries. This one was really interesting and varied. They had aboriginal art, contemporary art, sculptures, and plenty of unexplainable stuff.

For the last night we decided to stay near the airport at Airport Hotel Sydney which we picked based on price. The outside was not very impressive, but once we checked in it was a nice little spot. This wasn't the happening city, but I found it interesting. There is a large turkish population and many turkish restaurants, but that goes for many parts of Australia. On this last day of exploring the opera house, botanic garden, and museum it rained light and hard all day. We managed to stay dry all day, then on our way to the airport with our ruck sacks, we got soaked on a 5 minute walk to the train station. We had to change clothes at the airport to warm up.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Alicia, Melissa, and the Great Ocean Road

Melissa and I woke up really early on a Friday morning (Henry had to work, boo) to go on a one-day tour  of the Great Ocean Road with Wildlife Tours Australia. It was an all day adventure from 7am till was a looonngg day, but loads of fun. Please check out this link below to read a little history about the Great Ocean Road, it is worth viewing:

Although we both agreed we could have spent longer in many of the places we visited, overall it was a great tour, and our driver was really nice and informative. The biggest down fall was our free lunch we got at this restaurant, but we made up for by getting mint chocolate ice-cream in a waffle cone at an ice cream parlor (sorry, forgot to take a picture). YUM! We had to pay for that, but well worth the money.

CHEERS! This was the beginning of our journey. Melissa was drinking coffee, and I had some tea.

This is Great Ocean Road Memorial arch in honor of all those who worked on the road.

Went to a handful of beaches, but didn't get to spend much time. Also, we went by some look out points just to take some pictures.

Had to take a couple of jumping pictures. =)

Cool house, huh?!

Spotted one koala at Kennett Rive, he was sleeping, so cute. Our tour guide said they have bad tempers though, so don't piss them off. Also, did you know they actually sleep for 19 hours a day!!! Talk about a rough life.

Our tour bus.

This was a super easy walk through Otway's Rainforest.

One of the most popular spots to visit is the 12 Apostles. Spectacular! The pictures don't do it justice, it just a place you need to visit. They were formed by erosion and the constant action of the sea hitting the limestone thus wearing down the rocky cliff leaving behind large stacks of individual rocks. The cliff is eroding 2cm each year, so this means more large stacks of rocks in the future.

 The picture is small, but you can walk all the way out to the edge.

Not that you will fall and get hurt, but "You may fall and DIE." Straight to the point.

The Loch Ard Gorge was named after a ship called Loch Ard. It carried 54 passengers and crew from England to Melbourne. Unfortunately, there was ship wreck and there were only 2 survivors. This is where Tom Pearce (the ship's apprentice) and Eva Carmichael (an irishwoman immigrating with her family) came ashore. Pearce climbed out of the gorge to look for help, which he did, and came back for Eva. If you are wondering, they didn't fall and love and get married after that. Boo!

 Just thought the sky looked cool.

The London Bridge was a spot that visitors could walk all the way out to the end before the middle section collapsed in 1990. Our tour guide told us that there were two people on the end section when it collapsed (I think I would have peed my pants). They both survived and had to be rescued by helicopter. Sing it with me... London Bridge is falling down, falling down, London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady. Good, shall we sing it again?

 This is what it looked like before.

 A beautiful sunset to finish off the day...