Katoomba! The Blue Mountains (31st Jan/1st Feb)

I can’t believe how quickly the first month of living and travelling in Australia has gone. Seems like yesterday I was back in London, packing my rucksack, and heading for Gatwick airport.

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Says it all…

 

Time literally flys.

This weekend we treated ourselves to a trip to the iconic Blue Mountains!
We left Campsie on Saturday morning around 10.30am and caught the train to Central to pick up the long distance train to Katoomba, Blue Mountains. The journey seemed quite quick, arriving in just under two hours. It was great to see the scenery change from city sky scrapers, gently rolling into the vast lush rainforests of the Blue Mountains.

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Surrounded by purple

 

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Me and sleepy

 

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Me and Aduke being disgusting… biscuits btw

 

The train steadily inclined all the way there causing our ears to pop slightly!

Katoomba is the chief town of the Blue Mountains, sitting 1000 meters above sea level. The air is fresher and cooler although when the sun is out, it’s lovely and warm.

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The place in the mountains

 

Upon arriving, we headed for our hostel to check in and offload our luggage. It took a bit of walking up and down the street before we noticed the sign for the Katoomba accommodation.

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1 night digs

The hostel was huge, slightly outdated but very comfortable. The room was lovely. A bunk bed and single bed with lovely polished wood floors and a small sink area in the corner. The window offered a sneaky peak of what delights we had to look forward to. So it was a quick dash to unpack, lightening our backpacks, only packing the essentials for our first walk over to Echo Point. This was a short 25 min walk from the hostel down a single road.
The houses along the way were quaint detached character properties with luscious green gardens framing the homes beautifully. I couldn’t help but take a couple of pics of these little dream gems.

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Cute little house

 

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Kassie’s dream house

 

 

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Cassiopeia shop

 

We passed a house which had been converted into an art gallery and shop and from what we could gauge from the outside looking in, was filled with a mix of colourful and eclectic art. There was an enormous sculpture of a full size polar bear looking like it was wondering aimlessly in the garden. I then noticed the gallery was aptly named “The lost bear” -it was certainly lost that’s for sure, finding itself in the mountains of Australia!! -Great marketing strategy I thought -you wouldn’t forget this place in hurry! We admired the gallery and continued our journey.

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Lovely place

 

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The Lost Bear

 

It seemed that all of a sudden a beautiful backdrop appeared and hung at the end of the road. This was Echo Point approaching.

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The road to the cliff edge….

 

As far as the eye could see in panoramic view, there was a sea of densely packed tiny trees in a sort of bluey-green colour with a gentle haze floating in the air.

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lovely furry floor

 

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big green bed

 

As we approached the end of the road, the enormity of the view was absolutely breathtaking. I’ve never seen such natural beauty in all my life. The mountain range rolled up and down across the landscape, and a huge valley of thick trees ate the ground up with no view of the ground itself. The trees looked so small from where I stood, but these were big trees creating a seamless blanket which hugged all of the valley and surrounding mountains. The air was still but fresh, with the constant hum of tiny insects in every tree, collectively creating a ceremonious chorus which echoed sonorously across the valley. Simply stunning.

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3 gals

 

After taking lots of photos and video we made our way over to ‘The Three Sisters’. This is a formation of large jagged rocks that towers precariously on a cliff edge overlooking the Jamison valley. They have the name of three sisters from Aboriginal Dreamtime folklore. The legend is that there were three sisters who lived in the Jamison valley and belonged to the Katoomba tribe. They fell in love with men from the neighbouring Nepean tribe but marriage was forbidden due to tribe law. The men from the neighbouring tribe were unhappy with the law and took it upon themselves to use force to capture the sisters. A major tribal battle commenced and the three sisters were turned to stone in order to protect them. Unfortunately the elder was killed in battle which meant the three sisters could no longer be turned back and remained in stone forever. The girls names and now rock names are ‘Meehni’ (922 m), ‘Wimlah’ (918 m), and ‘Gunnedoo’ (906 m). They just look like rocks to me! But still, very interesting story.

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3 sisters and me

 

We made our way down the steep and hazardous stairway towards the three sisters.
There were a few people in front of us and I could hear a commotion going on a few steps further down. Keen to see what all the fuss was about, I bypassed a few people to get a better look. A fellow sightseer had a stick in one hand and the end of a snake in the other! He handled the creature with such precision, like he’d done this before, guiding the snake away from the stairway and onto a branch of a tree opposite. We all stared in amazement of the brave man handling the creature, all keen to see how the snake would react. The snake seemed to be unfazed by the handling and happily glided to a branch where he began to coil himself up. Fascinated, everyone was taking photos of the chilled out snake. We then made our way down the steep staircase.

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Slitherin chappy

 

We were able to cross a small bridge to gain access to the first sister rock, in which a small bench sat beneath the towering rock edge above. We found a nice spot opposite which was quiet and serene. We sat for a while, soaking in the mind-blowing views.

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Reflecting….

 

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Serene

 

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Chilling

 

I heard someone down in the valley bellowing their voice out in some sort of attempt to create a bouncing echo. We all heard the meagre attempt, then looked at each other, as if to say: ‘that’s a damn good idea, let’s have a go!’ We were at an advantage- being higher in the valley.
Aduke went first, closing her hands around her mouth- taking a deep breath and.. “Ohhhohhh” ….pahhhhhh! We all p*ssed outselves laughing! It didn’t echo, so a few practice attempts were required! We all had a few goes to perfect it, then I recorded it. An eery Echo bounced on each mountain and back to us. Totally amazing. Unfortunately some bloody Chinese cow was yapping loudly as I was recording the echo. So annoying. I could have slapped her for having such a big gob. This statement sounds a bit hypocritical, but this was a scientific experiment!!! Oh well, we could still hear our echo.

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Rock sister

 

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what a view

 

By now, it was getting in for 5 ish, so too late to attempt the giant stairway down into the depths of the valley. Apparently it’s a few hours hike down and across to the railway/skyride at Scenic World which would have been closed by the time we got there, meaning we would have the daunting hike back up the mountain, and in the dark! So, we just sat there admiring the view. It was so peaceful. We all sat there quiet as we looked out, finding our own inner peace at once. Quite a moment in time.
As the light began to dim slightly, we gathered ourselves and made our way back up the stairs. The hike up was a little wearing but our bellies were crying out for some grub which spurred us on.

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on the stairway

 

We passed the point where we had seen the diamond python snake. He was still there- curled up in a little ball- looking so cute. I don’t see why people fear snakes – they don’t look offensive – I think they are quite endearing (apart from when they bare fangs) -took a few more pics, then trudged back up to Echo Point.

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awwww how cute is this!!!!

 

There was a restaurant nestled behind the top end of Echo Point with a courtyard behind. An artwork installation of two intricately painted rhinos stood vehemently towards us. The feeling of regressing to a child overwhelmed the attempt at suppressing the urge to climb on the rhinos. We raced over, and clambered on. Wow the mountain had nothing on this – it was hard work! Once we mad it to the top we celebrated with a mock ride and photos of rhino summit triumph!
A family with a little girl noticed our commotion which stopped them in their tracks, the look on the little girls face – sheer desperation to experience what these fully grown adults were.

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On the arty rhino

 

Haha.. I soon got down to let her have a go. We then made our way back up the road of dreamy homes, past ‘The Lost Bear’ and towards our digs.
We noticed a man walking his dog approaching us. The dog was an unusual mix- I couldn’t tell what he was. A mix of Husky/Collie/Alsatian? -who knew what this pup had in him but he was a gorgeous chocolate brown with lovely markings all over and we couldn’t resist greeting him and his owner as they reached us.
Nugget is his name! And he was full of energy and excitement to say hello. We got chatting to his owner, Geoff, explaining that we were travellers new to the area and keen to find hidden treasures and somewhere nice to eat! Geoff recommended a few restaurants in town and then told us he was the owner of a business down the road, one with a great big polar bear in the front garden! The Lost Bear!!! I had wanted to have a browse in the gallery myself, so we parted on a promise to pop in the next day for a mooch around.

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Beautiful Abo boy face on a wall

 

We made our way into town and found a lovely Korean restaurant. It was small, rustic with elements of Korean influence tastefully decorated inside and out. It was also packed out- a good sign in my book! Locals and travellers alike had flocked to this place for a reason and I wanted a taste of it too. There was no room, so we loitered outside for a short time, soon noticing that a local woman who sat alone at a 3 seater table out the front, looked like she had finished up. Confirmation of this was made when she turned to us, informing that she was about to leave, and that the food was amazing. Sold. We sat down instantly and checked out the menu- reasonable too! No wonder business is booming.

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Behave Aduke!!!

 

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yum!

 

I had a fried seafood and noodle dish, which had a nice spicy kick to it! Total munch. Ate the whole thing with chopsticks- of course.
We chilled for a bit, then got talking to a local who had no shoes on (I had noticed a few locals walking style around with no shoes- definitely a hippy town) He was a young, fresh looking man named Henry. I told him he looked unusual – well, he did! He had a beard growing which he had curled up Poirot style, with a sort of 90’s style bleach blond curtains hairstyle. A very unique look! He sat and chatted with us for a while, talking about DMT- some strange hippy practice. We had a very spiritual conversation which complimented our airy surroundings up in the fresh mountains. Henry suggested some great spots around for stargazing.

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Our hippy friend

 

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After dinner at the Korean place

 

We later made our way back to the hostel, only to find the security door wouldn’t let us in with the code we’d been given. I used the phone attached to the wall to call the receptionist who had checked us in and with no avail could we open this door- so knocking became the last hope. A young Chinese woman opened the door with a bowl in her hand with attitude slapped all over her face, eyes bulging out like she wanted to destroy us for daring to interrupt her late night food indulgence. “Whaa yu waan?” Haha. Er?! We live here bitch, let us in. She stated that she hadn’t seen us before and wasn’t prepared to let us in. This went on for a while and despite best efforts to explain the situation, she wasn’t listening. Patience soon drained and anger set in. She needed a bitch slap. She practically shut the door on our faces but our feet wedged the door open. What is wrong with this human being? Totally stupid in every sense of the word. Luckily, another woman came to the door and let us in after we confirmed we knew the password. An argument soon broke out between us and this woman after I realised she didn’t even work there. I told her that she had an attitude problem and that I wasn’t prepared to conversation with her anymore. One should never argue with a stupid person, for fear that others may not be able to tell the difference.
She barked at us as we turned and walked away, shouting: “I gunna report yu” ..we all stopped in our tracks and immediately turned around. In unison, Aduke and I shouted back; arms striking back at her: “WE’RE GOING TO REPORT YOU!” …Kassie, rounded it off nicely with a: “YEAH!!” -we all thought this was absolutely hilarious and walked down the stairs laughing in sheer disbelief of this woman’s audacity.
We made our way to the room, soon turning in for the night after enjoying a few glasses of red wine on the balcony terrace, and spotting a daredevil possum tightrope walk across telephone wires suspended above the road! The little mite moved so swiftly then disappeared into the night.

The next morning we arose early and packed up to check out of the hostel. We blagged an hour longer to have showers and prep for our hike into the valley.

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In our room

 

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nice

 

Popped the keys into the key drop/off point and headed back to Echo Point.
As promised, we stopped off at The Lost Bear gallery along the way to see Geoff and Nugget and to check out the place. Before we had even got to the door, Geoff was there to open it and greet us. With beaming faces, we passed the bear sculpture, and entered the creative space which had fuelled my curiosity since the day before.
We dropped our bags and all seemed to disperse away from each other to go and explore the many rooms, corridors and walls filled with different types of work.

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Floating tap

 

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Croc

 

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So pretty

 

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Pyrography art

 

I felt so inspired. In some ways, a lot more than I had done in The Contemporary Art Museum. We spent a while thoroughly soaking in the creative vibes. Geoff gave us a lot of his time to tell us about the artwork, artists and gallery. A great way to start the day!

We were all hungry and in need of breakfast, so decided to head over to a cafe restaurant a short walk away. Geoff had kindly agreed to hold some our bags and belongings until the end of the day so we didn’t have to carry them down into the valley and back.

The cafe was modern with a traditional twist. Serving fresh food- made to order at reasonable prices. I ordered a Turkish toastie for breakfast and a sandwich to go for lunch later. After refuelling, we started the hike over towards the three sisters.

It didn’t take too long to reach the point in which we had reached the day before. We braced ourselves, and began the descent of the giant staircase which meandered deep down into the depths of the Jamison rainforest valley.

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View sneaking through the trees

 

It wasn’t before long we were all starting to feel the thigh burn of muscles working overtime as we descended rapidly. The stairway was so dangerous in places, with steps literally carved into stone which had eroded over time leaving a mere jagged edge acting as a step. The metal stairs ways were steep too with shallow steps – this was not for the faint hearted! There were actually warning signs and advice that this would only be suitable for strong walkers (this I consider myself). We were regularly being passed, by hikers who were bailing out and making their way back up, spooked by the daunting sheer stairwell and enclosing tree canopy – sweating and puffing, red in the face with a stark warning all over not to make the same mistake as they had – and I had absolutely no intention of making their mistake at all – I fully intended to make my way right to the bottom, then travel across the valley floor, all the way over to the the station to catch the train back up the mountain! hahah.
At one point, a fat cherry red boy climbing up, warned us that it was was raining down at the bottom, as he was puffing his little lungs out, grabbing hold of the railing and dragging his chubby body up the stairs… I looked at him acknowledging him and then replying that it didn’t matter… More to the point, it didn’t look like it was raining – ‘what do you know child boy’ I thought…
The descent continued and the green canopy slowly closed in on us. The senses were heightened to another level. The place was a visual feast of shades of green and brown. The bright white light filtered through the trees- creating beams and highlighting pools on the ground. The sounds of a constant hum from hidden bugs, and distant rushing water from a nearby waterfall. The feeling of pure thick sweet fresh air, the feeling of the oxygen entering the body every time I inhaled; a sort of nectar for the lungs. The smell of earthy notes rising from the dampened ground.. It was a real treat for the mind, body and soul.
The path lay in front of us, a winding mystical path framed by boulders and tropical greenery. I led the way to begin with, climbing over stepping-stones, following a dirt track, lifting leaves away from my forward path. I reached out to touch the plants as I walked on, feeling the light moisture from passed rain sprinkle on my hands, looking up and around, keeping alert and keen not to miss anything, having a real thirst to absorb in everything. This place was absolutely magical.
A distant rumble grabbed our attention… what. was. that? We momentarily paused, then the march ploughed on… the rumble returned, only now louder and inevitably nearer. Excitement spiked as moments later an enormous crack crashed above us and reverberated around before dulling. Oh yes, seems fat boy was right! We had literally walked into a rainforest! -rain being the operative word. And rain it did. The water came down in large droplets. Firstly, just gently, then turning into a hard and fierce rain. It grew harder, the thunder above us carried on cracking and booming.

We carried our walk on, eyes on the ground, watching our steps carefully as the water pelted down, then suddenly seemed to bounce off the ground. It looked amazing and felt refreshing on the skin. Cooling down heated bodies, hot and salted by the long arduous trek down the mountain side. The rain grew heavier still as we walked.

The rain that bounced off the ground began to retain its form until the ground was sprinkled with small pieces of ice. Crunching over the frozen balls as they continued to fall, I took my Go pro out to start filming this phenomena. My skin and clothes now drenched with water, I felt my saturated trousers so heavy and practically falling down with weight. The balls of ice were now relentless and growing in size. Like cherry tomatoes made of ice hammering down which bloody hurt when they pelted down on bare flesh. We had to seek shelter. Further down the path, I noticed part of the mountainside rock jut out slightly. Running over, turning and backing up as much as we could, we watched as the hailstones battered the ground. In a short time, the hail slowed and reverted back to raindrops. We jumped out from our shelter and rejoined the path which was now littered with small round balls of ice. Amazing! Never expected to see this in Australia.
By now the rain had started to dull down and the roll of thunder was all but nearly gone. We all looked at each other and rearranged our clothing, wringing the water out. The rain had now stopped, with just the droplets of water falling from the leaves on trees all around catching the sun light as they fell.
I noticed what looked like steam coming off Aduke’s skin, the heat of her body evaporating the rain in the now crisp cool air. The sun now began to make an appearance, highlighting the steam coming from all of us! The place looked so luscious.. freshly watered and now bathing in streams of sunlight as creatures returned to fill the air with an atmospheric sound -like something from a film.
The hike across the valley floor continued until a familiar sound grew louder. The sound of rushing water grew, and I instantly knew this was a result of the recent heavy rainfall. No surprised when we followed the winding path which lead us to a gushing water torrent flowing rapidly down the mountainside. It was immense. This was enough water to sweep someone off of their feet and down the white water rapids below. Admittedly, I found this thrilling and a challenge! The girls went first as I filmed them – First Kas took her time to find suitable stepping stones to aid her crossing over the fast streaming water. Success! she made it to the other side. Aduke was up next, as Kas had done before, Aduke took her time to retrace Kassie’s footsteps over the mini river. Me next!!!! I filmed myself as I hopped over quickly, then feeling satisfied with my victory of torrent crossing, I turned the Go pro back to capture the amount of flowing water. Fascinating stuff.
The hike then continued… we seemed to be the only people down here – no-one had passed us either way- we had the valley to ourselves. We sang songs as we pushed on. This was a long walk!
Before long, the sound of gushing water returned. Not again! This was louder and sounded like a larger quantity of water… luckily we notice a river running adjacent to our path and gathered that this was the result of the nearing loud watery sound.

The path was winding close to the mountainside and slowly started to reveal streams, rock pools, mini water falls and eventually a bridge over a massive rock pool where the roaring sound of water pouring down the mountainside grew louder as we drew nearer. It was almost deafening, the amount of water that was cascading down, and it seemed to come from all around. I looked up, high above the canopy, to the top of the mountain edge to see the source of this monstrous water rapid. Water was flying off the cliff edge, gallons and gallons a second. It was enormous, but so far up. The water would have taken a while to fall and work its way down to were I was, hidden under the trees on the valley floor.

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Top of Katoomba Falls

 

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By the bottom of the waterfall

 

We stayed awhile, taking photos and film of this enchanting place. Drenched still, and pressed for time as ‘Scenic World’ was due to close at 5 -and this was our ticket up the mountain via the railway or skyline, but most certainly not by foot. We hot footed it along the path, reassured by the reoccurring signs informing us that we were approaching the railway.

The path started to wind upwards and there was a sheer drop down the valley. Breaks in the trees revealed glimpses of the distant landscape bathing in sunlight. The path straightened and widened until it came to a stop. There were metal railings which guided down to a huge open area, like a huge viewing platform hanging out over the valley below. The metal stairway guided round and back on itself like it was designed for queuing for a ride or something. There was hardly anyone there. I raced over to the edge to get a view out and over. Wow, it was something else. I could see the three sisters in the distance and the milage that we had covered over the last few hours.

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A view after a long walk

 

The girls soon caught me up and we all stood there in amazement.
A strange rumble fast approached from the mountain side. I turned to see a train fast making its way to the platform. Ah, so this is where the train stops. Bingo. The train came to a halt and people poured out onto the metal platform, soon dispersing into the woodland. We took this opportunity to race through the remaining crowd, and fix a place aboard the train. Result. No hiking up for us! the barriers closed down and we were completely enclosed in our carriage. Within minutes, the train started to move backwards up the hill.

 

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Excited!

 

The Indiana Jones theme tune came on and we all started singing along as the train sped up high until it was practically vertical, our seats pushed forward and we were literally on the edge, Kasa’s backpack went flying down to the bottom of carriage, nearly knocking out some bloke- so funny…

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Us on the Scenic Train

 

The train passed through a tunnel in the rock face as the music continued – this was brilliant! Those mugs earlier killing themselves as they panted and dragged their steaming hot bodies up the mountain were totally missing out! Always persevere I say! This was our reward for carrying on- come rain or shine or bloody golfball size hail!
We had reached Scenic world. A place where lazy bastards come to hitch a ride up and down the mountain. Haha. Na, this was a failed theme park that has a scenic railway ride that travels families down to the trails in the valley, and a Sky-ride cable car which does the same, as well as another cable car which travels over Katoomba falls (the crazy big waterfall we has seen earlier from the valley floor)

Once we had reached the summit, we paid for a wrist band to go on the other sky rides. We were pressed for time, as the place was going to shut soon, so we hot footed it over to the cable car that would take us back down to the valley floor. The views were beautiful, and the ride gentle, as it glided though the trees then exposed itself to the air and sheer drop below…. it was so peaceful and smooth. We watched the views fade, the ground grow closer, until the trees enclosed in on us. We exited the sky-ride then walked back round to rejoin the queue to go straight back -we were going to get our moneys worth of wristband passes at Scenic World. Back up the line we went, the views reappearing and showing off. I noticed an aged track laying on the ground as we came into the top station. This was meant to be a roller coaster, but was scrapped due to complaints. It would have been brilliant but would have been very noisy and disrupted the delicate balance of the beautiful environment as well as been detrimental to wildlife.

Once we exited the skyline it was a race to get to the third ride – The Katoomba falls cablecar. We raced through crowds, still damp from the earlier down pour, until we reached the station for boarding. A short wait, then we were on. I found a great spot at the edge of the car and waited, anticipating the ride to start – this was a high one.
The sky-ride conductor informed us that it would be a 7 second free fall to the bottom…good grief! It was high.. but breathtaking as we got a birds eye view of the Katoomba water fall. The water poured over the cliff edge, hitting rock platforms below, then falling again until it reached the bottom, like water pouring down stairs. The trees framed the waterfall beautifully as we took loads of photos.

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Katoomba Falls from the air

 

The ride was quick and came into dock at the other side. Again, we rejoined the queue and came back -this time standing in the middle of the car over the glass bottom to take in the views from directly above. The car glided over the rock edge then flew over the sheer mind-boggling drop below. I don’t have a fear of heights at all, but even this was a bit unsettling- I totally embraced it though. Taking photos of the drop and selfies all the way back.

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Aboard the skyway

 

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Blooming high

 

Once we had pulled back into Scenic World, it was one last dash to have a quick ride back on the railway (my favourite) as this was the last ride of the day..we jumped on, the doors came down and the Indian Jones theme tune started up – again, we all sang along as loud as we could…haha..so funny.. such kids. The train sped up and dropped down through the carved tunnel in the rock-face… This was so much fun. hahaha!!!! Everyone on the train was ooooooh-ing and ahhhhh-ing. The valley exposed itself again as we shot down the mountainside, soon pulling into the metal platform station that we had arrived at earlier. We stayed put (because we weren’t missing this train and walking back up) Moments later the barriers came back down and we were off again. Yay! “wooooooohoooooo” all the way back up again…
By the time we reached the top, it was closing time. We exited the building and found a spot outside to have our delayed lunch…

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Outside Scenic World

 

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In the cab back

 

– called a cab and made our way back to The Lost Bear.
Knowing we had clean dry clothing back at the gallery was so reassuring. The journey back to Sydney would have been so uncomfortable in damn clothing.
We walked through the gallery doors to be greeted by Nugget who wanted to play, and being such a lover of all animals- I couldn’t resist! We raced out to the back yard after a quick little cuddle and photo in the gallery, to gather bamboo sticks to throw and fetch.

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Playing hard to get

 

 

 

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Puppy hugs

 

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Me and Nugget

 

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Nugget waiting to play fetch

 

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Nugget

 

 

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Us with Geoff

 

 

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Me, Kenji and the gals

 

After a while, I couldn’t stand to be in my damp clothing any longer and went back inside to change with the girls. Dry clothing! Bliss!!!!
Geoff had been a real help – not sure what we’d have done without him- many thanks to him and his son Kenji. We had a few photos taken inside and outside of the gallery before leaving.

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Dino scupture with cool web spit

 

We made our way back to Katoomba station where we caught a train home. The light had disappeared with clouds setting in, the heavens opened. We were fine though… toastie in dry clothing, comfy in our carriage which carried us all the way home.
What a weekend.

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Tired but cosy

 

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Feet up and going home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit to The Contemporary Art Museum (29th Jan)

Thursday evening after work, the girls and I met up at Circular Quay for an evening of art and culture at The Contemporary Art Museum, Sydney.
It was ‘free’ entry- my ultimate fave word- so we weren’t about to miss this opportunity.
Contemporary art needs to be approached with an open mind. This is sometimes difficult for me as well, even though I have had an extensive art focused education!!
Some of the work looks- well, crap. Take the first exhibition we saw, it was just an old sketching book that had had everything ‘rubbed’ out. So there was nothing there. The spiel that went alongside the poopy work of ‘art’ was all about the concept of erasing time. Pull the other one. This bs annoys me. It’s talentless and unimaginative. Anyone can poo in a box and call it art, as long as they can back it up with some elaborate bs to explain what the concept is/what the process was and how they were feeling at that sad and critical point in their lives. It’s actually hilarious watching people stare at this stuff in amazement. Needless to say, I did not photograph the rubbed out vogue magazine draft book-whatever it was or wasn’t. Ok, this is me not having an open mind, but having an opinion. I personally call art something that evokes me, something that I wish to possess, something I wish I could do, or be. That’s inspirational.
We continued our tour of the museum, and I wasn’t very impressed with level 1.
The only exhibit that caught my attention was a piece by an artist named ‘Gordon Bennett’ (I thought he was a racing driver). Bennett had created a very provocative painting. It wasn’t particularly technical, but it had one hell of a punching statement.
A black door with red outlined, blood-red slash marks scratch down a canvas, with the faces of three aboriginal people peering through.
Very moving. I found it a bit disturbing actually, which fuelled my curiously- what does it mean?
Questions. When a piece of art renders questions onto its viewer.. when emotions spike, confusion sweeps, and for me… well, I immediately felt a strong empathy for the desperate faces trapped behind the slash marks.
The psychological pain of these people visually appears as blood dripping from the bottom of their bodies, seeping through the gashes. They are prisoners- maybe not literally (anymore), but psychologically. They are in their own hell. For me, this was about ‘Freedom’ -or a lack of it. These faces had their freedom stolen, and I felt sad for them.
This was my interpretation.
For me, this is real art.
Something that conjures up strong feelings, emotions, opinions and questions -all in a split second, leaving one searching for answers.
Something that may be controversial and leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth. Or something that totally breaks your heart and leaves you to feel utterly helpless -and all you can do is appreciate, understand, then walk away… but never forget.
Love it.

I started to feel somewhat optimistic after that!

Level 2 was an interesting one! The first exhibit I noticed was a series of sepia photographs. There were around 10 but I photoed 2 that I found the most interesting- I found them really eery… sort of scary. They were all rather strange actually.
Images of 2 men fighting but they looked as if they may have been embracing, another of country gypsy folk- just staring back at you as if they could see into your soul, one of a man running from something, maybe nothing? Perhaps himself!
But the two images I found most haunting was of a mother clinging onto her child on a bed, a window behind exposed her to her nightmare. Three nuns outside watching in. Two stand back, merely watching. Keeping guard. The third makes her way in…
What do they want? Leave the mother alone! Evil nuns. Or are they? Maybe the mother is the evil one..
The second image shows the nuns seemingly rejoicing in the capture of the child. Or maybe it was a rescue? We just don’t know. The mother is no where to be seen. The nuns now have custody of the baby.
I immediately identified with the mother- not because I am one, but because I know I want to be a mother one day, and I also know that I’ll be fiercely protective- like a parent should.
Nuns- not so much. I’m not in the slightest bit religious, and they look a bit creepy in their black and white get-up anyway.
But!! …by all means, if that child was at risk and in danger of his own mother- the scary nuns are the heroes.
What frustrates me is that I have no idea who to side with.
I’ll go with the mother. Creepy nuns.
All this, with just two images.

Another painting I found interesting was a road to the unknown. Not because it was particularly good, but because it resonated with me with feelings of nostalgia. I can remember being a kid- in the car with the family, driving at night through the countryside, looking out of the front windscreen at the total darkness engulfing the car.. which scared the heck out of me- the fear of the unknown. Not knowing what’s around the corner -literally. A deranged human lurking around? A wild beast that feeds off small children? (the elaborate imagination of a child!) As a kid, I also had a similar fear – the unknown darkness of the future- the prospect of later life. Yes, I remember being scared about growing up, not knowing who or what I’ll become!! (conclusion to that- someone who leaves everything to the last minute!!) So all these thoughts were swirling around my head when I looked at this one painting.
I’m waffling now…
I found other interesting works on the second floor, and took a few more snaps.
We all enjoyed our visit and to round the evening off nicely, we visited the roof top terrace of the museum where we enjoyed a glass of red wine, some sugary desserts and live music with beautiful panoramic views of this stunning city.
An evening well spent.

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On our way out – The outside view back in

 

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Not sure whatto make of this. It’s meaningless drama

 

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Actually really liked this, reminded me of one of my favourite types of art, body art. Not sure I’d want a temple tattooed on my face, by the back looked stunning.

 

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Moving: As mentioned above, the hunting image of a child changing custody for reasons unknown..

 

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What does this mean? Little slippers with small shells growing in them. Footwear no longer suitable for the wearer. Maybe the sea has stolen these shoes, giving them home to the tiny shells instead- but where are the little feet that once wore the slippers? Maybe this statement piece represents all the little lives stolen by the ocean.

 

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Beautiful. I’d love to own a piece like this for my future home!

 

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How the Aborigine people must have felt witnessing this for the first time. True fear. Definition of a land pirate in a painting.

 

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says it all, nothing more to say

 

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Here it is. The haunting image of faces trapped and freedom lost.

 

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A glimpse of the outside world from within the gallery walls.

 

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Hope I’m on the right side of the line- techniclly I’m on the left, unless I turn my back.. or judge from the perception of my reflection!

 

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view down from iside the Gallery onto Circular Quay

 

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Sculpture on the roof terrace.. childs body, not sure what face- or even a face at all

 

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View from Circular Quay station

 

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Clockwork

 

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Great big mantle clock

 

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More art from Gordon Bennett

 

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Clearly unimpressed by the hanging bits of reflective plywood

 

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Nice floating basket

 

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WEIRD.

 

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Going up!

 

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Photo of the bridge and the moon. Think of my someone when I look up at that sky, hope he’s looking too

 

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A muslim exhibit of a video recording of people sitting in a room. Men separated by women and kids running around. I didn’t get it, so moved on swiftly.

 

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As mentioned above, the road to nowhere, or somewhere unknown.

 

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This was animation of a what looked to be bone marrow making blood cells… It looked bloody disgusting. No pun intended.

 

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A panoramic from the roof terrace

 

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View from the rooftop terrace at the Gallery

 

Gotta job!! (days 27th-30th January)

This week, I have been a working girl! I secured my position at Peakbound, a call centre company that works on behalf of the Australasian bank ANZ.
I was quite surprised I got the job to be honest- I didn’t think I was any better than the large group of people I had the interview with. I actually got the impression that the two female recruiters didn’t even like me!!
Looking back, I think I may have expressed myself better and used a few more flashy words maybe!? (That’s just me being me) …It’s a fact that I was the only one in that group interview process that had absolutely no telesales experience, yet Tuesday morning, when I arrived for my first day at work, I learned that I was the only one from our group of around 17 that had secured a position through to the training process. So who knows what the recruiters were looking for.
Looking back, I remember making decisions, taking control of situations, putting my point across and generally being more clear and articulate with my speech… -not blowing my own trumpet or anything- but I guess I must have stuck out from the crowd.
Basically, how the recruitment process works is that every day, groups of around 15 or more, are brought in for the group interview process, and put through their paces. It was explained to us on the day, that depending on our performance, they could take half of us to the next stage, or most of us, maybe even none of us or in my case, just the one of us! 🙊
This happens twice a day, so groups of potential employees pour in frequently. The company is expanding, which means the process is happening every week. Mass interviews, cherry picking by recruiters, with just a few getting through.
My group on training day consisted of 15 blokes, 1 other girl and me! This was quite peculiar considering that on my interview day, the group was dominated by women. Strange. Needless to say, I didn’t recognise anyone on Tuesday. It wasn’t such a bad thing- in some ways I prefer the company of blokes to annoying loud mouthed girls. Luckily, there was just the 1 girl on training day- I gauged in all of 30 seconds that- yes, she did indeed have a gob on her.
We had all congregated on the sofas, awaiting instructions, when the finely presented recruiter lady came over and ushered us downstairs. We spent 30 minutes filling in forms and confirming identification with her. The back door opened and in walked a huge Samoan looking bloke followed by a short Middle-Eastern looking bloke. These guys were to be our trainers for the next 4 days. EJ is of Maori descent, and Bishoy is of Egyptian descent. Nice enough guys, great trainers- with a fresh sense of humour!
The training commenced with lots of paperwork to read, lots of technical terms to learn and role-play galore!
By day two we were split into two groups. There are two different campaigns. Group 1, the larger group, were to sell a general life cover, group 2, the smaller group, were to sell an over 50’s plan to- you guessed it- the over 50’s. I was placed in group 2, along with 4 other blokes. I was happy about this, as the 50+ policy sounded like an easier campaign to pitch and sell.
Another 2 days of training and by Friday we had the chance to double-jack. This is where you sit with an agent with a headset on and listen in on the calls. We did this for all of an hour! I had Luma, a Kiwi living in Oz. She was brilliant and I learnt loads from her in the short time I sat with her. One call we made- the 69 year old man said that he fully intends to live to 150 and doesn’t need cover. Luma asked how he was going to go about doing this, he replied that meditation is the way forward and that getting in touch with the mind, body and soul is the key to a long healthy life. He then went a bit deep into conversation about becoming immortal! A real character but an absolute whack job. Good god! I hope I get a few of those to lighten the atmosphere!!! It was hilarious!!!!! I think we ought to have had longer double jacking, if for nothing else, then just for the entertainment! One of the guys on my team stated that he had double-jacked for 3 days in training back in the UK- we got all of 60 minutes- then it was time to go live! By now, I had written my own script (5 pages long) and prepped myself with what little time I had.
After running through it a few times and re-writing my draft 4 times to finalise, I was ready to go- well, I didn’t have much choice because after lunch on Friday afternoon the trainers threw us on the phones and we starting dialling. My first call was a granny who wasn’t interested at all- there was no convincing her! I tested out my newly learned skills of turning around a decline. She was having none of it, so I politely ended the call. On to the next. I think I pressed the wrong button at one point because a call went through on the system, there was me- “hello-? Hi, is anyone there?” -couldn’t hear a damn thing, so I ended the call. On to the next- the same thing happens again. Ok- something is wrong. I called my team leader who pushed a button on the handset and tested my headset was working, only to discover my calls had been going through to the hand receiver. Shit. That’s recorded as well! D’OH!!!!!! Hahaaaaaa..
More calls came in and the same story- blahhhhh blahhhhh.. I tried my best to turn the call around with my well spoken English accent ‘phone voice’ I put on (I do my best to lose all Essex tones on the phone) but if we get 2 ‘no’s’ it’s game over. One old bloke barely spoke English. That was a challenge. I had to speak r e a l l y s l o w l y.. and eventually I wrapped that one up.
Before long, the day was done. The working week was up and the weekend had commenced and this only meant one thing… Blue Mountains tomorrow!!!
That’s a whole new blog, so stay tuned… 1 more week of working as a phone shark and then it’s time to leave Sydney behind!

Exciting stuff!!!!!!

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Me looking miserable on my commute into the city for work Monday morning!

 

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Spotted! MG! This one is for my Dad x

 

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She’s a beaut!

 

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Drinkies after wirk Friday night with Aduke down at the Harbour

 

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Me, Ethan and Mason (they think they’re right studs! pah!)

 

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Picturesque drinking view!

 

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Me and my gal on the harbour edge

 

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A grainy selfie

 

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The Opera Bar! Perfect and apt watering hole..

 

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Home time!! Me and the work lads… Ethan, Mason and Rob

 

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The cutest little puppy chilling outside my work place on a building site, whist his owner is hard at work. I say hello to the pup everyday!

 

Jump Rock/Shark Bay – Palm Beach/Home&Away!

It’s been a few days since my last blog, so in this one, I’ll just summarise what we’ve all been up to.

Thursday (22/1/15) was a hot one.
On occasions where we had been travelling into the city by train, within a minute into the journey from our stop in Campsie, we had past an Olympic sized lido. It looked so inviting with its crystal blue water, sparkling in the sun, surrounded by the green of the park it sat in. Kas and I thought it was a perfect day to check it out.
Unfortunately our sense of direction was completely out, despite the best effort to effectively follow the train line via the adjacent street (which unknowingly to us, forked off and led us astray) after 25 mins of walking in the heat of the day, I decided to ask a local for directions. Spotting an Aussie is easy- wearing light clothes, covering the body, a sheen of sunscreen on the skin, sunglasses and the obligatory crocodile Dundee hat! This is opposed to the stereotypical Brit in Australia: wearing nothing but swimming trunks and flip-flops with beetroot-red-raw skin.
I asked the Aussie whether he knew where the lido was, and was given a sheepish ‘yeah’ as he fumbled around in his pocket not giving me any more of an answer. Moments later I was presented with a lighter. I then repeated my request politely. How awkward. Aussies pronounce lido ‘lee-dough’ …dumdums. I discovered this when we moved into our current guesthouse and I had asked the manager Helen, whether there was a lido around. She looked at me like I was speaking Mandarin.
Anyway, I digress… So this Aussie chap, his half Japanese daughter Kiko and their Dog Maru, walked us back towards the Lido.
Eventually we found it. 6 bucks to get in and it was open all day. We spent a few hours swimming about and lounging around- and it felt so good to be near water on such a sweltering day. Later around 6.30pm, we left and met Aduke at Canterbury station for an Aldi food shop. Later that night, burritos were on the menu for dins.

So much for a summary….

Friday was job interview day. Kas and I got up early, made our way to Central Station and navigated our way to the interview centre. HQ for Peakbound – a call centre company based in the heart of Sydney. Everyone in this building seemed to be rather lively. Just the type that irritate me. There were ping pong tables that were dominated by loud males, sofas covered in dolled up females. Great. So I put on the fake enthusiastic, keen to be your friend bullshit chitchat to try to fit in. They seemed nice enough, but I need a job and these people are competition.
We left the building after being rounded up by a couple of young female team leaders.
The building opposite had office space rented by this company, and this is where we would be for the next 2 gruelling hours. There were around 18 of us, mainly female- 2 blokes. We completed a series of pair and group activities including pairing off with someone, making notes on everything you could find out about them, then presenting to the rest of the group. We were also put into a bigger group and had to debate on who should go on a spaceship- our group had a mouthy self absorbed bloke- his reasoning for putting himself forward was because he could delegate tasks. My answer to that was: “no one would listen to you mate” -don’t think that sat well with him. My reasons for putting myself forward was because I can draw and write, so I would be able to start writing a history of the new world as well as sketching people’s portraits as a form of historical documentation (assuming we had no cameras or computers). Our group was the only group who couldn’t decide on a representative to go on the ship – whereas other groups had decided. So, upon presenting our group results, I made the executive decision to put Kasa forward as the last person on the ship. This was so we didn’t look indecisive. So I piped up that we had all made the decision to put Kasa forward as she cooks a mean jerk chicken and food is one of the most important resources. His immediate response was :”Have we?!?” (made a decision) I replied back “We have” haha in your face boi!
Other activities included presenting why you should get the job and a role play between 2 people in which I was paired off with the grade A-asshole. He decided to screwed me over by reading out my role play so I had nothing to present. Cock. …But it didn’t matter in the end, because hours after the interview, when I went home deflated after complaining to the interviewer about him, she rang me up and let me retake the role play on the phone (which I aced) Then my recruitment agent rang me 20 minutes later to inform me that they had offered me the job. Result.
Later on that evening Kas and I visited Redfern where we stumbled upon an Aborigine campsite which was protesting about a piece of land which was subject to development. We spoke to some friendly descendants of the Aboriginal people who explained that not enough housing was being provided for the oldest civilisation in the world, people who lived in this land before the British colonised the country in 1788. We were well informed, signed a petition and were fed a tasty chicken pesto wrap before leaving.
Kas and I had a wander down the road on the way to meet Aduke in the city. I made my first phone call to my sexy love back home in London. I hadn’t heard his voice in a month as he was away when I left the UK. Felt unbelievably amazing to finally talk to him. Highlight of my day, week, year. After the buzz of talking to my hot stuff, we made our way to a reggae night, Lion’s Den, Oxford street. Had a few drinks, a dance and chilled. Caught an ‘uber’ cab back, early hours.

The next day we all got up and made our way to Haley’s. She drove us all, along with Ruth- her partner, to Shark Bay, -a half hour trip from Newtown.

Apparently, it’s tradition to jump off a 25ft rock into the sea. Everyone does it. Aduke had already done the jump last year, and now it was mine and Kasa’s turn.

We all made our way up this rock, which was full of young people all jumping off. Kasa and Haley jumped first, then Aduke and I went next. I had my Go pro in my hand filming everything – well, an attempt at filming, because it was all in vain when I watched it back! I think I was concentrating too hard on holding the camera plus holding Aduke’s hand, that I wasn’t concentrating on the jump, which went drastically wrong and we both landed awkwardly. I landed on my ass, back and neck and Aduke landed on her front. The pain as I landed in that water. I was like a stunned animal, my body floated up still with shock. It was like a mini trauma and I am still feeling the bruises, aches and pains on my back and neck. I wasn’t happy with this jump – so I did it again on my own, with full concentration. Perfect landing and great thrill! A quick-sharpish exit out of the water was on the cards, as these waters were home to sharks. The aptly named ‘Shark Bay’ was just around the corner…
Nets enclosed the waters on Shark Beach. Cocooning swimmers in the assurance that they wouldn’t have a chunk taken out of them while going for a paddle.
We, on the other hand decided to camp up on the unprotected beach, taking a swim alongside the nets in the ‘infested’ waters…(infested- yeah right). Sharks ain’t that stupid, and we don’t taste that great – or so I’ve heard. Aduke and I were bobbing around in the water, completely unaware that everyone else had got out of the water. We were too busy filming each other with our Go Pros. I turned around to see a boat floating nearby with a few men swimming in the sea dragging what looked like a weird net. I ignored them and so did Aduke. It wasn’t until the boat got closer that we could see the weird looking net was actually the massive sail of an upturned boat. The men were trying to haul it to shore. It took about 20 people (us girls included) to pull this thing out of the water – oh yes, and by now the penny had dropped for me and Aduke, so we had decided to help. After about 40 minutes, a lot of man *woman* power with ropes and buckets, they managed to get the thing up and emptied, and back on its way, with a massive roar from crowds gathered on the beach.
Later on Haley and Ruth left, and us girls chilled on the beach for a while before taking a walk in the national park reserve a while later.
We took an hours walk down the Heritage site walk, which was a winding path of wood, earth and rocks, up and down the rugged coastline, in amongst the bush and shrubbery with the sound of wildlife surrounding us. Hidden secret beaches greeted us along the way -even a tiny lake on a beach created by a stream with a random lonely duck swimming around. This one was called Milk Beach. Absolutely beautiful.
We captured some breathtaking images and slowly made our way to the main road where we caught a bus home.

Sunday. Another beautiful day. We got up early, packed our bags and headed back to Haley’s. Today we were heading off for Palm Beach where the beach scenes are shot for Home & Away. It was a good 1.5 hour drive. The place was a dream. Super homes littered the hills at every turn. People were boating along in the lakes by their homes. Another world. The beach was amazing. The sea was fierce and unforgiving. Probably why you never see the characters on Home & Away swimming in the sea, because you can’t swim – you spend the whole time trying not to get annihilated by the relentless waves that steam towards the shore every 20 seconds. Coogee had nothing on this place. It was wild. We took loads of photos on ‘Summer Bay’ -the fictitious name for Palm Beach on the Aussie soap. After a few hours of wave dodging and body surfing (one of my favourite past times) We bundled back into the car and headed for a huge open air bar restaurant. This was one of the most impressive looking venues I’ve seen. Stunning views, plenty of seating with the indoors meeting the outdoors seamlessly. Grassy hills and music playing. A great vibe in the air. If I was a local, I’d be a regular. Although there were too many dolly birds- trotting around in ridiculous heels, caked in makeup, clutching onto their bottles of drink, holding fake ID.
It needed to be more relaxed in attire and a ban on Barbie and Ken me thinks…

After wetting whistles, the last stop of the day was Castle Rock Beach, near Manly.
We stepped carefully down the winding steps through the small woodland area. The beach slowly revealed itself through the trees.

This. was. paradise.
A secret beach with no one there. Soft, cream sand beneath my feet. Massive, smooth boulders sleeping on the shore. Calm, gentle waters with beautiful panoramic views.
The sun was dipping below the backdrop of woodland over the other side of the water. The last rays of light danced bright orange, navy blue and flecks of green on the water surface. We all stripped off and ran into the sea. It was warmer than expected. We swam around for a while, soaking in the blissful surroundings. A perfect way to end the day with great company.

Today was Australia day. It was an absolute washout. We went to Victoria park as there was an Aboriginal festival going on. We got there quite late – unmotivated by the shite weather. We managed to catch a few acts – a group of female dancers of all ages. One was wearing a nappy so must have been about 2 and half, another looked like a granny -albeit a very shapely one! The rain poured so we went home. I didn’t mind – we had a busy weekend and I have my first day tomorrow so should go to sleep soon.

Just a few more days of January! Wow it’s gone fast – Still a few things left to do on the checklist before we leave Sydney. But for now… My ‘summary’ of the weekends events is done.

 

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Possum spotted in Hyde park

 

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Shark beach, Vauclause, Nielson park

 

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Australia Day: en route to Victoria park to be drenched

 

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View along the Hermitage Foreshore

 

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Hermitage winding paths

 

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Victoria park Aboriginal dance performance

 

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Along the Hermitage walk

 

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Iconic distinctive sounds of the didgeridoo

 

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Abo males preparing to for the tribal dance

 

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The females performing a traditional dance

 

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Stunning wood carved totem pole in VictorIa park

 

 

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Redfern Abo camp

 

 

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Life for Aborignal protestors

 

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When I met a green parrot from Papua New Guinea

 

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Reggae night out

 

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Redfern abo message

 

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Beautiful Aborignal mural

 

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Kasa conked out by the lido

 

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Over the Sydney Harbour Bridge by car. En route to Palm beach

 

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Palm beach paradise

 

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H&A – Spot where filming takes place

 

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Forget sharks, here we have killer waves

 

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My face after I was beaten up by the sea

 

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Bay watch meets Home & Away

 

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Gals having a drink

 

 

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Home & Away beach

 

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Home nestled in the trees

 

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This is where we were!

 

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Beach walk

 

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On the way down – CR beach

 

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Hermitage view

 

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Adventures to discover beaches, CRBeach

 

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Need I say anything? Jump rock carnage.

 

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Evening stroll: Aduke and Kasa

 

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Perfection

 

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Drinkies in Newport

 

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Hidden paths to secret beaches

 

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Go pro’ing it on CR beach

 

 

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Home & Away set!!

 

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Sitting on sleeping boulders on Castle rock beach

 

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On the way down to Castle rock

 

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Castle rock beach

 

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Underwater in Gordon’s bay

 

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Getting ready for the splash on Jump Rock

 

Campsie, Kundalini and mighty huge bats!!

We made the decision to move on from Coogee a few days ago. The Coogee Beach House was nice enough, yes, a 3 minute walk to the beach, but it was just too pricey compared to what we could get for our money elsewhere.

Aduke, the travel guru she is, found us a little guest house at a reasonable price in the inner west suburbs of Sydney on AirBnB (fantastic site) Campsie, is a predominately oriental area with good links into the city, the shops are cheaper and there is a lido at the end of the street- the best bit.. FREE INTERNET!! This is a big deal for us, as we steam through out data allowance on our phones, which can become quite costly. The hostel charged for internet access, so this new place is a real game changer…
We packed up last Friday (16/1/15) while Aduke was at work, grabbed a cab and loaded it up with our bags and headed for Campsie, a 45 min drive across town. Upon arrival, there was no one around, so Kas and I took it upon ourselves to let ourselves in and start rearranging the room. We have a large room with storage and a fridge/freezer.
There is a better mix of people here as well. A few young travellers, as well as older people from overseas who are working nearby. There are also a couple of families here- I was awoken to kiddies screaming this morning – jesus it was like waking up at my mums and all her minded kids. Sweet kids though, 1 family I think are from China and there is a family from India too- the kids speak broken English but it’s easy to communicate with kids most of the time.
We have befriended 2 older travellers. Axel is from Ireland and Antoine is from South Africa. There is a younger chap here from San Hose, America. Also a funny trio of very young travellers – 2 Germans, male and female and a male Brit from Liverpool. They scuttle about and keep themselves to themselves- barely even talking to each other! funny. The female couple who run the place are nice too. We had a BBQ out in the yard with everyone a few nights ago which was fun.
Yesterday I had a job interview which I passed through to the next stage but I’m not interested- It’s to become one of those annoying people who stand in the street and pounce on shoppers. F**k that. I hate that being done to me, so I’m sure as hell not going to inflict that on other people. It shit money anyway. Commission plus incentives!? Jog on mate. The interviewer was an obnoxious loud-mouth northern Brit that I faked good banter with during the interview. He liked me, so asked me to come back, then told the other girl that she wasn’t suitable for the role, right in front of me. Unprofessional twat. I won’t be going back- that’s for sure.
After that waste of time, I met up with Kas in Erskineville for my very first Kundalini yoga class, which was magic! The place was dimly lit with fairly lights strung across the ceiling, an aromatic fragrance in the air of what smelt like Frankincense and Chamomile. The class was a mix of gentle exercises, breathing techniques and meditation. At one point the yoga teacher came around with a copper bowl, slowly rolling a large piece of wood inside creating an unbelievably relaxing hum of vibrations which resonated at the back of my head. I felt like I could have been in cool mountains of Tibet!
Later that evening, chilling in the back yard of our place, We saw what looked like massive birds flapping about above us. Only these were no birds.. They were bats. The biggest gaaaaaaawd damn bats I have ever seen!!!! So amazing. It was dark, but you could clearly see the shape of their wings and their little legs tucked underneath them. Kasa mentioned that she and Tony ‘the yank’ had seen one flapping about the day before- he had thought it was a bird, even though Kas had corrected him, he wasn’t convinced. He was soon proven wrong though, when it flew into a tree and hung itself upside down, to which Kasa then stated – “Bird’s don’t do that”
haha… England 1 – America 0

We are into our 3rd week now and I’m starting to miss people back home, especially my special someone- you know who you are -wish you were here babe…I miss you immensely, my gorgeous man. ❤️
…Staying in contact with everyone is made easier with the free internet and we also have a big allowance of calls on our phone tariffs which is handy. I’ve yet to Skype anyone yet. The time difference doesn’t help, there is only a short window of communication opportunity early in the morning and late at night, so timing is everything. My phone was going off at 4am this morning… You are 11 hours behind England!!! 5pm to you is 4am to meeeeeeee!!!

Anyway, we have a list of free events to attend in coming days. The job hunt continues…

Thoroughly enjoying this beautiful part of the world.

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Me and Kas exploring Campsie

 

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Our room after me and Kas had finished with it..

 

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cosy!

 

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Aduke blending into some street art

 

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Beautiful painting on the side of a shop

 

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Street art on the side of houses

 

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More street art

 

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Inspiration at lunch

 

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Unusal telegraph with shoes glued on!?

 

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Lunch @ pie shop

 

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This one made me feel slighty drunk

 

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Crazy luna park

 

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View from the ferry

 

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Loonie park

 

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Homebound on the train..wake up Aduke!!

 

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Stunning Sydney Harbour Bridge at night

 

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Aduke just managed to half lift her head for a camera pose!

 

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Lovely legs!!

 

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Look closely, a pair of eyes stare back… Hanging from a tree, a great big bat!

 

South Pacific Ocean Annihilation – Total wipe out!! (14/1/15)

I woke up pretty early. Aduke was leaving for work, so I stayed awake, went down for breakfast and chilled for a bit. I woke Queen Sheba from her slumber for brekki too.
The sun was out and proud today, tempting me and meKasa out. We had a bedroom blitz first. Sorted out washing to hang out on the balcony, general clear up, so the room was immaculate.
We chilled for a bit, packed a bag, beach towels, sun cream and left the room around midday.
We headed for the gorgeous Gordon’s Bay (one of my favourite spots so far) and chilled on the rocks, soaking in the rays, as well as a spot of snorkelling without the snorkels. I guess that’s called goggling. Huge shoals of tiny fish glistened under the water. There must have been thousands. Kas spotted these massive fish swimming solo.. I would take a deep breath and dive down in an attempt to swim after them. Damn, those things are fast! Near the rock pools, there were these tiny stripy fish, that seem to be quite curious, or just plain cocky, as they would nibble on legs and swim after us.
Later, the sun tucked behind the tall trees and plunged our little boulders into the shade. A small crab sat in between the boulders at seemed to be looking at us. Kas pulled her phone out, played some Bob Marley and the crab seemed to be jigging to the reggae beat, (it was probably hanging on to the rock, as water was pouring in over it) Kas informed me that the crab was probably dancing because Rastafarians don’t eat crab. Lol. She don’t half come out with some corkers every now and then.
After a quick gather of our stuff, we step-stoned our way over the boulders, towards the stairs, where I saw a cute little rat. Kas didn’t think it was cute at all.
A short walk back to Coogee Beach, the sun beating down, the place was packed and the waves were as fierce and as powerful as ever.
As we made our way down the path, I asked Kas if she wanted to go in. I think my words were along the lines of: “fancy getting annihilated?” ..I got a yes in reply, so down to the killer waves we went….

Dropped our stuff on the beach and eased into the water to waistline level for all of 15 seconds before a wave formed from nowhere and submerged Kasa.. Haha she completely disappeared! I suppose she is a head shorter than me so is more susceptible to wave annihilation.

Just at waist height alone, you’re gonna get knocked over. These waves take no prisoners. I’ve never experienced such force and power from water. But it’s so much fun. Adults and children littered the shore line facing out to sea, in anticipation for what the ocean could throw at them next. Kas and I battled with waves at a shallow depth for around 20 minutes. A wave would form in front of us, I’d jump up and the wave would lift me over. Frequently I’d turn around to see that Kas had disappeared altogether, then would reappear a moment later 20 feet away from me, with her hair covering her face and a tit hanging out HAHAAA!!! Bless her.. She had enough soon after, claiming that the sea was a ‘Bitch’. 😂
Kas stood on the beach, ankle deep, surrounded by kids, refusing to come back in. Lol. So I went in further…

I was in deep now, in man territory. Literally surrounded by men! No kids ventured this far. To be fair it was only a few meters further out, but the seabed dropped quite drastically so it seemed deep. Then the real fun started.

Mystifying and deceptive- it was, as the sea would appear somewhat calm- you could see the horizon, and everyone else bobbing around, along the shoreline. Then the horizon would seem to ripple and then slowly rise..
The birth of a wave. At this point the horizon would disappear altogether, as a menacing wall of water formed meters away, coming straight at helpless swimmers daring enough to be in the water at all.
You could hear the excitement of others around as they shrilled “Here comes a big one” and the obligatory “Wooooahhh” all coming from thrilled voices, as they prepared themselves for wave annihilation – this was a real thrill!
The wave would pick up speed, size and the curl would start to form. This is the point in which people decide whether or not to jump it or attempt to ride it. One particular wave had everyone shouting and screaming. I found us all looking at each other, as if to say: “It’s too late now, we gotta deal with it!”
The wave made a roar as it steamed towards us… It was obvious that we were all in on this fat wave for sure (or shore) – twas’ a biggie.
The idea is to turn away and start swimming in order to catch it, just before it breaks, so that the full force catches and carries one- like a human surfboard. I found the superman pose the most effective. Turn and tilt the body, and if you time it just right, you’ll end up on the sand! …I braced myself, ready to take the monster on. I started swimming back to shore and felt myself rise up and propelled forward, my legs lifted up and my arm out in front, cutting through the still water. The wave took hold of my body like I was a stick, the powerful thrust of the water then pushing itself over my head as I was being rocketed forward. The wave then began to break and pushed me under, my body being thrown around, mangled under the water, feeling myself twisting and doing somersaults as limbs were flying out the water as I tumbled along.
The relentlessness of this wave kept on going. My face was squinted under the water, eyes squeezed shut, mouth tightly closed and blowing air out of my nose so water wouldn’t go in. The power of it pulled at me everywhere, my hair, my costume, at one point my bikini bottoms ended up round my knees! Then, the wave would begin to calm, and a rush of flat water followed giving everyone the chance to regain control and push up to breathe. Heads would pop up looked bewildered but beaming – yes! we survived! What a thrill. Friends would seek each other to relay their experience “That totally wiped me out!” one said. We’d all rearrange ourselves, normally women with their bikini tops. I have a habit of putting my hand to my neck to make sure the ocean hasn’t stolen my most prize possession- my heart necklace given to me, from my love, back home. I usually try to tie it back to a bikini string. The sea soon undoes that.
After the thrill of all that from just one wave, some might say a strange thing happens.. people, myself included, turn around, and go back for more!!

The morning after the day I battled with the sea, I was awoken to the eery sound of a siren filling the air with a stark warning. This was the sound of a shark alarm…

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Literally surround by men

 

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Bra adjusting

 

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Sid

 

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Going into the unknown

 

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Before: braving for the wave During: head under on this one After: just my head popping up

 

Butterflies, Boats and Botanical gardens (13/1/15)

The day started early… (never a fan of those) as Kas and I had a meeting with a recruiter in the city. We crawled out bed and got ready for the day ahead. Before we even left the hostel, Kasa was negotiating a price for our rates! GOOD GIRL! It was in vain though, as they only knocked 30 bucks off, which isn’t as good as a place Aduke has found down the road.. more about that later in another blog..

Aduke left first as she had to be in work for 9am and our appointment wasn’t til 10.
We took advantage of the free breakfast, which we sometimes miss, as it’s only served until 10am (for some reason, we find it difficult to make it down to the kitchen by then)
We caught the bus into the city and managed to navigate our way to the recruitment office. The girl who interviewed us was lovely but I was so bored. The thought of getting back into an office environment depresses me beyond belief…but needs must..
Kas then had her individual interview while I sat in the computer room, I was given access codes to log into their system to job search. I found nothing that I felt was suitable – they only had something like 20 temping jobs listed, some of which dated back to last year…such a long time ago in the job market. Again, I got bored so decided to use their internet access to job search on other sites.. The look on the woman’s face when she came back in and caught me on another site.. There was feck all on that too anyway.
After talking utter bollocks in a room about careers, Kasa and moi had to sit a series of mundane computer skills tests. These included data entry testing, (possibly THE most boring task in the world) touch typing, the other bore that is excel (result: 11 out of 30) and Word which I excelled more in (20 out of 30) I skipped a few as I was taking selfies….Oh, and I googled one question I didn’t know. The answer is CONTROL X! Hehe! Love Google…
After that mission we headed over to Martin’s place, to finish up Kasa’s Medicare. That complete, time to eat! Found a nice little place doing fish and chips for 10 bucks, so filled our bellies until we felt sick.
A long walk is always the answer when feeling filled to the brim. We headed to Hyde park as the sun beat down. There was a weirdo and his dog taking a shower in the fountain and a man blowing super-sized bubbles for little kids. We chilled for a bit then decided to do the Sydney Harbour Bridge walk, which was on my checklist.
On the way over to the bridge, we stopped off at the old convicts prison for a quick mooch around. There were mock tables in the courtyard, giving tourists a feel of what the inmates environment would have been like. Took a few snaps, moved on as we weren’t prepared to pay to go in. Free is the way forward after all…
Followed signs to the bridge, and again got sidetracked by the alluring eye candy of the botanical garden gates with it’s lush green backdrop tempting us in. A much better option to cut through here rather than stick to the dirty, traffic polluted streets…
What a treat… this place is heaven on earth. Winding paths tucking into rolling hills, thick exotic trees, bright green grass mowed immaculately, florescent flowers blooming, the sea in the background, bird song and the loud sound of crickets, but I forgot the Aussie name for them… We wondered down paths, climbed steps, overlooked the greenery on viewing platforms. The panoramic view of the gardens, the city skyline and the backdrop of sky and water was stunning. I spotted the biggest butterfly I’ve ever seen. Great big black flapping thing, the size of bird.
After taking lots of pics and strolling around, we spotted a train carrying passengers around the park. Wanting some of that lazy sightseeing tour, we paid 10 bucks and jumped on at the gates nearest the Opera House. The 25 minute tour took us around the winding paths in the gardens, highlighting key facts, points of interest and a bit of a general history lesson. Definitely worth it, and both me and Kas felt like a couple of kids again!

By the time the train had done a round of the gardens and back up the the Opera gate, it was getting on for 6pm so we hot footed it over to the bridge (finally) -it took a while as we somehow took the long route.

The Bridge was incredible. All that iron in a lattice pattern and the views from the Bridge were stunning.. See below for pics.

The next thing on my checklist was to visit the Luna Park. A very old fashioned kiddies fairground, permanently sitting resident to the side of the Bridge.
The face outside could be quite frightening to some kids. It was designed years ago by the founder who was an artist and is used in many Luna parks. Poor kids..
Hunger called in again and so we sat in posh looking bar overlooking the Harbour. “The Deck” – Kas ordered nibbles and a feast turned up. Those Aussies are not afraid of portion sizes! and it was quite reasonable too.
Later, we went for a walk from Milsons point to Lavendar Bay, onto Mcmahons point. Very affluent area but beautiful. By this time, my phone had run out of battery so I couldn’t take any photos.. grr.. The sunset was dazzling as well. A smooth peachy pink skyline, turning all the buildings a shiny orange.

We caught a ferry from Mcmahons point which did a short stop to Darling Harbour and back again which gave us the chance to see the other side of Sydney at night. And as Kas put it: “Let’s get our money’s worth-” …We could have caught a more direct ferry to Circular Quay which was arriving 5 mins later, but I too liked the idea off boating around the Harbour to see different aspects that we hadn’t seen before.

Wish I had my phone working!!

After 25 mins enjoying our ferry ride, Kas and I made it back to Circular Quay then caught a bus home to Coogee.

Here’s a few pics highlighting the day..

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Half way through the excel test. Kill me now!!!!

 

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Fick and kips… Yummy lunch in a bar restaurant off of Martin’s place

 

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Chilling in Hyde Park with the cathedral in the background

 

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Kas having a moment in the prison grounds. I think at this point she was saying: “Is that the only window the prisoners had to the outside world? Those bastards” (people who build the prison) ..you can just make out the tiny window hole in the wall on the right-

 

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Me and Kas trying to steal the inmates books only to realise that they were made of metal and glued to the wall

 

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A selfies of me and Kas at viewing point within the botanical gardens

 

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Kas and the big kitty

 

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posing on a little wooden bridge, over a small lake

 

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Me at the other side of the bridge and why does my arm look so long?

 

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Loved this hairy dangly tree which is about 300 years old.

 

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Down by the sea

 

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Pathway out towards the Opera house… where we founf the train ;D

 

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The Choo Choo express.. or some silly name like that.. It was fun though 😀

 

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Collage of the train trip. See how much fun we are having!?

 

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Highlights of the tour…Big mammouth tree, hairy tree, Mediterranean leaning tree, exotic trees, the oldest glasshouse in Australia, big tree full of water, the sky-sraper backdrop, pretty flowers and the first triangular indoor sub-tropical garden (a bit like the Eden Project)

 

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Kas on the bridge

 

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Meeeeee on the big bridge

 

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Trying to break freeeee

 

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Stunning view from the bridge with a cheeky filter

 

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The endless bridge!!!

 

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Scary face: Luna park!! :-O

 

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Munching in ‘The Deck’

 

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Loony park more like!!