Thursday, September 29, 2011

Oz: Part 3.

Thursday was our Blue Mountain/Featherdale excursion. We woke up bright and early and headed to a casino off of Darling Harbour to catch our coach for the day. We thought for sure we were going to miss our bus, so we were running up and down the hills trying to find where we were supposed to be. Sweating and rushing (and slightly freaking out) we finally found it. Then we found out we went WAY out of our way (of course) before ending up where we needed to be. And once we checked in? We were told we had twenty minutes to spare. While we were running, Jennie and I decided we would not be the best competitors on the Amazing Race. Who knew running with backpacks was so hard??

Once on our bus we took a drive to the Blue Mountains to get a view of the Katoomba Waterfall and the Three Sisters. First stop was the Blue Mountains, which is also on the World Heritage Area list. They got the name because of the eucalyptus trees that cause a bluish haze when the light hits it. It was very gorgeous.

{close up of the three sisters}

The Three Sisters is a rock formation in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. They are close to the town of Katoomba and are one of the Blue Mountains' best known sites, towering above the Jamison Valley. Their names are Meehni (922 m), Wimlah (918 m), and Gunnedoo (906 m). The Three Sisters have an aboriginal legend behind them, that they lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe and they fell in love with three men from a neighbouring tribe (the Nepean tribe), but marriage was forbidden by tribal law. The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters causing a major tribal battle. Battle ensued, and the sisters were turned to stone by an elder to protect them, but he was killed in the fighting and no one else could turn them back. This legend is claimed to be an Indigenous Australian Dreamtime legend. (Thank you wikipedia for the help)

{Jennie and Boone meditating}

After viewing the sisters we took part in the Katoomba Scenic Railway which is said to be the steepest cable-driven funicular railway in the world, with an incline of 52 degrees over a distance of 415 metres. It was originally constructed for a coal and oil shale mining operation in the Jamison Valley in the 1880s, in order to haul shale from the valley floor up to the escarpment above. It was converted for use as a tourist attraction prior to World War II.

In 2000, Scenic World spent millions of dollars on the Sceniscender, now called Scenic Cableway, a unique cable attraction which lowers riders straight off a cliff into the Jamison Valley 200m below.

Built in 1958, the Scenic Skyway is another cable-driven conveyance at Scenic World. It travels across the gorge above the Katoomba Falls, 200 metres above the valley floor. It features an 84 person cabin with sections of electrostatic glass that turns the floor from opaque to transparent as the ride progresses. Thank you to wikipedia for all of the facts that I couldn't quite remember.

{glass before}

{glass after}

Anyhow we had a blast walking the forest floor, and taking advantage of all of the rides. Afterwards we hopped back on our coach and traveled to Featherdale Wildlife Park.

Featherdale was AMAZING. I could have spent much, much longer in there than the hour and a half that we had. It was definitely a blast! The kanagaroos were just hopping around freely inside. You could walk up to them and pet them. They even had ice cream cones filled with alfalfa that you could buy for a dollar and feed to them. They loved it and they were SO cute. We made it in time for Penguin feeding time and Tazmanian Devil feeding time. While we were there we also saw peacocks, pelicans, dingoes and koalas. The koalas were adorable, the handlers would hold them and they would just hold on to their shirts like a little toddler holds on to his Mommy. So precious. You could pet/touch most of the animals and the staff were very informative and shared many facts about the animals.

{Look at this bundle of cuteness!}

{not so fond of Boone}

{Penguin feeding time}

{Tazmanian Devil feeding time}

{Dingo feeding time}


After wandering around Featherdale it was time to head back into Sydney, driving through Olympic Park on the way. We were exhausted by the time we returned. That evening we headed out to an area of town called "Crow's Nest" and ate at a cute italian restaurant. I had some AMAZING lasagna and then we all had gelato for dessert. Then we went home and crashed. Friday was play day with Missy!!

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