Saturday, February 3, 2007

The One with Macca and the Blue Mountains

We caught an early train out to the suburbs (crossing over the Sydney Harbour Bridge) and met up with Mum and Dad's friends Kevin, Julie, John and Sue, who would be showing us a bit of Sydney over the following few days!

Today we were on our way to the Blue Mountains, but we had an impromptu stop at the Featherdale Wildlife Park on the way, which would give us our first encounter with the Australian Wildlife. In fact, I hadn't even made it inside the park before I came face to face with a Joey in a Duffel Bag - really cute!

We saw Catbirds, and Kookaburas, Cockatoos and even a Flamin' Gallah. A very fat Wombat was having a scratch, and a baby Wallaby jumping into his mothers pouch and then sitting with his head poking out and his tail over his head!

As we walked through the park I had the chance to hold an Olive python - I'd never so much as touched a snake before, so it was weird to hold one, but quite cool. I think i'm looking a bit Shirley Bassey here... shame it wasn't a Boa... (bad joke, I know!)

Next up were the Koala's - I love koala's, as they are so dozy, and this one looked particularly cute all sleepy on his branch. We got to stroke a more lively koala called Macca, who was busy trying to eat everything in sight!

But the best thing was the Kangaroo's. They're almost human the way they lie relaxed on the ground, and we got to feed them. It was like guinea pig food, and it was in an ice cream cone (no i wasn't feeding them ice cream, as someone thought when looking at my pictures - I'm not that stupid!) One of them took the cone of me and and had a good old munch.

Other wildlife included a Southern Cassowary (a weird prehistoric looking bird, with a lump on it's head - it looked pretty vicious to me!), Dingo's, Tasmanian Devils, Echidna's, and a Saltwater croc.

Fully animaled up, we headed on to the Blue Mountains. Our first stop was Wentworth Falls, where Darwin described the view as "the most stupendous he had ever seen", and to be honest I can understand why. Even with a drought, the waterfall was pretty cool, and the view over the Jamison Valley with the Eucylyptus trees giving off the blue haze, was quite something.

From here we drove to the little town of Leura, for some lunch and a quick browse in the antique shops (but more importantly the old fashioned sweetie shop!!!), and then on to Katoomba, and our viewpoint of the Three Sisters.

The Legend goes that a clever old man called Tyawan, had 3 daughters, who he loved dearly. When he went hunting he told them to stay on the top of the cliff to keep them away from the evil Bunyip that lived in the valley.

One day one of the daughters knocked a rock with her foot, and it fell into the valley awakening the Bunyip, who charged up the hill towards the daughters. On seeing this happen, Tyawan changed the three daughters into rock to protect them, using a magic shinbone.

The Bunyip then chased Tyawan, who changed into a lyrebird and flew away, but when his arms became wings he dropped the magic shinbone, and was therefore unable to change his daughters back from stone.

We headed down into the valley by way of the Scenic Railway, which happens to be the steepest Funicular Railway in the world, with an incline of 52 degrees! Very aptly they play the music to Indiana Jones as you set off. We then caught the Cable Car back up, for more great views over the Jamison valley.

Having slept all the way back to Sydney, I got in a few more hours kip before heading out to the pub at 3am to watch England beat Scotland in the 6 nations. Dad joined us, as did Mike (a Welsh friend of Helens from home), and Brendan (A scottish guy from our hostel room). After winding my Dad up about the score for the brief moments while Scotland were in the lead, Dad got his own back on Mike, when the score came good... "What's the score taff?" as the points went up and up. But it was all friendly banter... Mike kept calling Dad "Daddy", which is a little worrying!

Dad, Mike, H and Brendan with Jonny (Thank God you're back) Wilkinson on the screen

It's very weird watching the rugby in the middle of the night, as while you're in the pub, it feels like it could actually be a Saturday afternoon at home. It's only when you walk home, at 5am and the birds are chirping and the sky is getting light, that you realise that 3am is probably a little early for your first drink of the day! The things I do for my rugby!

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