Monday, January 31, 2011

The Blue Mountains and Katoomba Falls

Only a 2 hour train ride outside the city is the Blue Mountains in a town called Katoomba. You can pay 100 dollars for a guided trip and lunch but we just payed 10 bucks for the train ride and figured out the trails on our own! The views were spectacular, as with most things here pictures do not do it justice. The mountains have a blue-ish haze around them from the eucalyptus trees. There are mountain structures called the Three Sisters which are meant to have originated from aboriginal heritage and were originally Seven Sisters (not sure if it has anything to do with the constellation). Near the Three Sisters is the Giant Stairway. The name is exactly accurate, going down was fine but walking up them in the blistering sun was brutal! We walked along the trails all the way around to Katoomba Falls. There were some smaller falls along the way that I thought were beautiful but none of them even compared to Katoomba Falls. They fall over a cliff that goes right down into the mountains and the view is spectacular. We took our shoes off and walked in the falls which was so nice after all that hiking! As I'm sure all of you at home know, hiking is one of my favourite activities ;). I was very proud of myself for making it through the whole day and keeping up with Angela who is a regular hiker. Definitely one of my favourite things I've done here so far.

The Three Sisters

Katoomba Falls

View from Katoomba Falls

Witches Leap, a small waterfall along the trail

Scruffy Murphy's

One night a bunch of the girls from my hostel and I went down to an Irish pub called Scruffy Murphy's for dinner and drinks. We were told later it was amazing that we didn't get food poisoning but I thought it was pretty good! Here's just a couple of shots of the girls I met.

Katy from New York, Me, and Angela from Mississauga

Rona from Scotland and Lisa from England

Trying to show how tiny the sizes are here!

A drinking game some locals showed us!

Mie from Denmark and Me! (Ha!)

The Botanical Gardens

On the same day as the Opera House, we walked over to the Botanical Gardens which is right beside Circular Quay (where the opera house and harbour bridge are located). It was so beautiful inside and hard to believe your right in the center of a big city! It's a lot like Central Park in New York but just so much more relaxed and a lot bigger. There were people sunbathing and reading books under the trees or people like us just wandering through and looking like complete tourists with our cameras out every two seconds!

These are all parts of old historical buildings that have been torn down

Hey mom, can you spot the spider?? :P

Tons of bats!

The Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Angela and I went on another day trek down to Darling Harbour then around to the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. It was a hot day and walking up all the stairs to walk across the Harbour Bridge was so tiring! But, we made it! And it was so worth it, you see it in pictures everywhere but when you actually see it in person it just feels surreal. And one thing you notice is it's really not that white, and up close it kind of looks like fish scales on the side. Kind of interesting when you think something looks one way when it's really another! Had to buy a hat on this day, the sun was just beating down. We always have to reapply sunscreen like every 30 minutes or else you feel like your just burning. I took way too many pictures of the Opera House from every angle imaginable so I will spare you that and just put up some of the best shots!

They take their no parking zones very seriously in Australia

Bondi Beach

The first day adventure was to Bondi Beach. A 20 minute train ride then a short bus trip down to the beach. I went down with a girl named Angela from Mississauga (so foreign!) and we spent the day soaking up some vitamin D and checking out the Aussie surfers. The beach is always packed but not too much that it's not enjoyable. It's coming to the end of the summer vacation for kids in school so a lot of the places were pretty busy this week. The beach was amazing though, so beautiful and hard to believe its actually January. Try not to get too jealous while you're sitting at home looking out at the snow! (I've added the photo of my burnt swollen feet at the time just so you can feel a little better)

Angela and I
Beyond painful to walk on!

Darling Harbour

For the first few days I mainly just walked down to Darling Harbour, only like a ten minute walk and nice for just getting to know the streets around me. The day I went down in these pictures was a little cloudy, it was early morning though. I was down with a girl named Mie from Denmark. As you can imagine the name kind of got confusing when explaining things... "Me and Mie are going out" etc. But she was a lot of fun and was really helpful when I first got here as I didn't know anyone and she needed help with english so we made a good match! Darling Harbour is very pretty, especially at night but here are some morning shots. It's usually filled with people but we went around 8:30 so no one was around and it was really quiet, kind of nice to see though! The pictures are of the harbour, the fountains around it and the Sydney 2000 Olympic monument.

Welcome to Australia!

Hello All!

As promised, here is my blog to keep everyone back home updated on what I am up to down under! I finally got my camera cord (although my camera is now broken) so I can put on some pictures that I've taken so far. I will try to update as much as possible, and hopefully I can get a new camera soon so I can continue to take more pics. I have already taken over 300!! Unfortunately, I can't put them all up so I'll just give you guys the highlights. Enjoy!