I am so fortunate to be able to have gone to Australia and New Zealand this year! It was a trip of a lifetime. Below are my journal entries from my time in Australia. NZ will be to follow.
July 24, 2017
Early start-0500 to run a couple of errands and then to catch the 0730 bus to Boston. I had to leave early due to a job interview that I had to take that was scheduled for my original bus departure. Got the job too! Despite doing the interview in the middle of Logan airport!
Uneventful flight from Logan to LAX. However, LAX to Sydney flight was delayed by almost 2 hours. I didn’t even really realize it until I had watched almost an entire movie and noticed that we hadn’t moved yet. As if the flight wasn’t long enough to begin with! And they had us really cramped in those seats! I was so wishing I could have had one of those space age pods up front! Essentially, the flight was mostly miserable-the 3 meals they fed us were good. Arrived in Sydney at 0830ish on 7.26.17. I can’t say that the airport was well marked. Well, either it wasn’t well marked or I was just so overtired that I just couldn’t make sense of things. Onto the Park Royal Darling Harbour hotel. It’s a nice place and they even had a “Welcome Makesha Mealey” on my tv screen-a first for me. I went off to find postcards and to the Hard Rock Café for my shotglass. Then tonight is a harbor cruise.
The harbour cruise last night was okay. The food was good and the lady singing could sing, but sang some very odd versions of songs. There was no commentary, so I really didn’t know what I was looking at and didn’t get much out of it. The only thing I did recognize was the Opera House.
Today started out fairly early with a city tour. We rode over to The Rocks and did a short walking tour. The Rocks is where the first street (George St) was in Australia. It was originally an aboriginal road. There is quite a bit of history in the area including the first hospital. It’s the oldest part of the city and it used to be where all the criminals would live. We then went over to Mrs. Macquaries point. Great views and saw her chair. It’s also right next to Garden Island-home of the naval base. Interesting fact-all Australian naval ships have a red kangaroo on them somewhere. We then went to Bondi Beach-it was quite pretty and fairly busy considering it’s mid-winter there. Then we drove around for more city views and into the suburbs. King’s Cross (Red Light district), Double Bay (the driver said it was known as “Double Pay”), Rose Bay and Vaucluse. We saw Hyde Park as well as the shopping and financial districts. We also saw Paddington. Then it was off to the Opera House for a tour. The tour was really interesting and we went into the concert hall, where we were treated to the end of a rehearsal and I took a picture I wasn’t supposed to. Oops! I seem to have a knack for that. We walked all around it and I was able to touch the sails-so cool! They are not white like it seems they are from far away. They are almost gray and are self cleaning. The history of how it was built is fascinating.
After that, I went to a restaurant and tried a kangaroo burger. It had a yummy blueberry compote on top. It really wasn’t too far of a stretch from beef-except leaner. I liked it. 4 miles of walking and 10 flights of stairs-whew! Off on the Blue Mountains tour tomorrow. Oh, and I also took a ferry from the Opera House area back to Darling Harbour- from Circular Quay. I love how the city is big on ferry transportation-most people seem to prefer it to taxis.
Early start again! 0700 pickup by Dane (very nice tour guide-truth be told, I think I developed a little crush) for the Blue Mountains tour. We started at Featherdale Wildlife Park. I saw all kinds of birds, fed wallabys from my hand, saw a small kangaroo and got to pet a koala named Noah. I was beside myself with excitement while waiting in line to have my picture taken with Noah. I saw emus, wombats, tazmanian devils and some owls. It was quite an adventure! We then went to the Blue Mountain National Park. We saw Lincoln Rock which has a lookout on the Jameson Valley. There is a natural blue haze in the air because of all the eucalyptus oil in the air. We then went to Katooma Falls lookout-saw Three Sisters and the steepest incline railway. There was also a beautiful waterfall called Bridal Veils, and it was so windy, that the water was being swept off to the side of its normal course. We then went to lunch at the Boiler Room-part of a hydro therapy hotel. (Majestic) We also went to a couple of other lookouts including Govetts Leap. We even had some champagne while we were there. We then went over to the Mt. Tomah Botanical Gardens-very pretty. Then it was back to Sydney by way of Bells Line of Road. On the way back, traffic out of the city was SO backed up! We also went across the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Then, it was back to my hotel-got dinner and then crashed.