Saturday, February 28, 2015

Day 3 Australia - Sydney

Tuesday Feb 24 - Sydney Australia
Italics tour company description.

Transfer Type: Seat in Vehicle
Duration: 9.83 hour(s)
Pick up: 7:10am Swissotel Sydney
Drop off: 5:00pm Swissotel Sydney

We were up and out the door at 7 AM despite almost sleeping in. We were met with a small van which took us to our meeting place.
Heading out of the city your first stop this morning is at Featherdale Wildlife Park where you
arrive before any other tourists to meet the native Australian animals here - guests can actually
get up close and personal, stroke a koala and hand feed kangaroos, wallabies and emus...a
great experience.

We are a small group, seventeen in total. No introductions are done.

 There are two guides as the driver/guide is in training. They are both named Peter and have a good Australian sense of humour.
We are at the park before it opens. As we wait they chat with us.

It seems they missed one passenger, a glitch between the two tour companies. She taxis to the park, at tour company's expense, $160.

Once in, the guide mentioned he likes coming into the park, but he doesn't do a tour. We are left to wander but not given a return time. We finally track him down at the coffee shop and he said to be back by 9:30 at the bus.

The koala is taken out for photos but the duration is up to the koala. We are only allowed to pat their behinds. So soft. And I will put to rest the story that they are drunk on the eucalyptus. The reason they sleep so much is due to the absolute lack of nutrition in the tree. 

Feeding the kangaroos.

We are back at the bus by 9:30. But wait another fifteen minutes for some others, who can't be blamed as there was no clear direction given.
Mary, the missed passenger, climbs aboard, disappointed that she didn't have much time at the park. When some others appear she comments "you're late", not appreciated by them.

Departing from Featherdale drive to the Blue Mountains via the highway.

The Australian Light Horse Sculpture Parade is dedicated to the heroic troops who served in the Australian Light Horse and their horses that could never return.

The sculpture has a central mast and four sets of radiating markers representing the Australian Light Horse on parade. The soaring 55m high mast with its reflective crown, located at the centre of the Light Horse Interchange, provides a focus to the sculpture.

The lit mast and crown symbolise a torch in the dark. Red, the colour of the Flanders poppy and poppies that bloomed throughout Palestine, is symbolic of the blood of supreme sacrifice and is the colour chosen for the sculptural group.

The abstract plumage attached to each marker represents the emu plumes attached to the Light Horsemen's slouch hats. The white band is a reference to the departing soldiers' innocence of war.

Travel through the picturesque village of Wentworth Falls, home to a good collection of Victorian and other historic buildings and onto the Wentworth Falls Lookout.
With spectacular views over the Jamison Valley and the magnificent waterfall for which it is named, this beautiful lookout is your first stop. Here enjoy a leisurely 30 minute round trip walk to see the Waterfalls.

Nope, never saw the town or the water fall.

Instead he took us to his secret look out. This was a good spot, but a steep decline. A few didn't come.

Devil plant.

Continuing on you arrive at Eaglehawk Lookout, a remote lookout point away from the crowds for views of the famous 3 Sisters. The character of the Three Sisters changes throughout the day
and throughout the seasons as the sunlight brings out the magnificent colours. Here your guide
will discuss the legends behind this famous rock formation and time available for you to take
some great photos.

Nope, we don't stop here.
Instead we spend the next hour dropping three couples off at three separate hotels in the Blue Mountains. This was extremely annoying. The guides got off the bus, retrieved their luggage and escorted them into the hotels.

We make a stop along the highway, no signage, at another "secret" lookout. No  markings, no rails, we walked down, but some turned back when you had to bend the trees to get through to see the 3 Sisters. Sorry, Aussies, but these were not that spectacular if you have seen the 3 Sisters in Arches and Monument National Valleys.

Then make your way around the mountain to the village of Blackheath and your lunch. Here you
enjoy a 2 course lunch food only. Beverages can be purchased at your own expense from the Bar.

Lunch was at the Boiler Room, a restaurant set in the original boiler room of the adjacent hotel.
The menu was limited to either a Caesar salad, pizza, or panini. All carbs.
When we commented later to our agent who had set up this trip, she said lunch was supposed to be at the Leura Golf Course and we should have had an option of fish.

The Boiler Room belonged to the hotel next door.
The hotel began as the Belgravia Hotel which was completed in 1891.

The Australian retailer Mark Foy purchased the site in 1902 for the purposes of a hydropathic sanatorium under the belief that the land contained mineral springs. At that stage the town was known as "Medlow" and Mark Foy successfully petitioned the New South Wales government to change the name to Medlow Bath, the current name.

By the time the hotel opened in 1904, the mineral springs (if they ever existed) had dried up. Mark Foy had mineral water imported from Germany in large steel containers. After travelling in these containers from Germany to Australia the water reportedly tasted awful, and so it was assumed that it must have been good for a person's health. Guests of the hotel were instructed to drink this water on a regular basis. Fire destroyed the gallery building in 1905, and the original Belgravia wing in 1922.

The afternoon is spent visiting a selection of lookouts. Once you clap your eyes on the view from
Govetts Leap you'll know why it's one of the most famous lookouts in Australia. The magnificent
waterfall drops a whopping 180m to the base of the cliff.

Nope, no selection of lookouts. But we do get a waterfall.

Then drive through the picturesque village of Mount Wilson and stop to enjoy a glass of sparkling wine or orange juice at a beautiful remote lookout location.

We don't stop at this village.

The last stop is at the delightful Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens where you stop to enjoy the sweeping views across to Sydney before travelling down the Bells Line of Road to arrive back at your hotel.

The fog is gathering like a cloak as we head towards the gardens giving them a lovely mysterious appearance.

We have our sparkling wine as we stroll.  It is getting to the end of summer for the flowers.

 Back on the bus for the 1.5 hour drive back to our hotel.

Evening on our own.

It is gone 6 PM when we get back to the hotel so we pack up as we have to be out of here by 9 AM for our 11:40 flight to Cairns.

Then we head out for dinner, and it had actually gotten a little cool and I put on my sweater (John kindly went back to the hotel to get it for me).

The plan was a place I had seen that had gammon steak and mashed potatoes on George St. but when we got there it was a gambling place and the clientele seemed a little strange. So we went to PJ Gallagher's and I had lamb and John had stew.


  1. Hmm, it sounds like your tour was a bit disappointing, but you did get to see quite a few highlights. I always thought that each marker at the light horse interchange represented a horse with it's tail. Good you got some typical Blue Mountains weather- it's always foggy and misty at some stage during your stay. Nice you got to the Hydro Majestic- I haven't been there since I was a kid (although we drive by a lot, I live a few hours west of the mountains), and haven't had a chance to stop at since it reopened a few months ago.

  2. What a great post and wonderful photos from your trip. I would love the wildlife park.. And the waterfalls is beautiful.. Great shots, have a happy weekend!

  3. The lookouts are amazing. And to be that close to koalas and kangaroos, that's terrific.


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