Origlass Park

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    • Day 61

      Sydney, Australia

      February 18 in Australia ⋅ 🌩️ 23 °C

      We relocated from Circle Quay to White Bay Terminal last night at midnight last night. I thought that the ship would turn around to exit which would allow us to get a great view of the Sydney Opera House lit up. So when I heard the engines start, I jumped up, grabbed a camera, and ran outside on our balcony. Unfortunately, the ship actually backed up and out of Circular Quay. I have never seen the ship back up for that distance. Although I was disappointed, I was treated to a spectacular view of the Sydney Bridge. After taking several pictures, I climbed back in bed.

      At 6:30, I dragged my weary carcass out of bed feeling every minute of my nocturnal adventure.

      At 7:30, we headed to the Star Theater for our excursion to the Blue Mountains. This is a 9 hour excursion which includes a long bus ride. The Blue Mountains get their name from the fact that the oil from the eucalyptus trees and the humid air result in the mountains having a blue haze.

      We stopped at Echo Overlook where we were treated to a view of the Three Sisters and Mount Solitary.

      After the 15 minute stop at Echo Overlook, we proceeded to Scenic World. Scenic World has 4 different discovery options to view the main attractions of the Blue Mountains. The discovery options include the Scenic Railway, the Scenic Skyway, the Scenic Cableway and the Scenic Walkway.

      We first rode the Scenic Railway down and then, because there was no line, we rode it back up. The Scenic Railway has a 52 degree incline, it is the steepest passenger train in the world. Although a bit uncomfortable, it was an interesting ride.

      The next option was Scenic Cableway. We rode this down into the Jamison Valley. I will note that we met a Australian guide, Adam, in line. He had a wicked sense of humor and took us under his wing for the cableway ride down. He even said that we could join his tour. With much regret, we had to decline his offer as we had limited time and wanted to see as much as we could in our limited time.

      We walked along the Scenic Walkway past the Katoomba mine. The vegetation along the walkway is very similar to the Pacific Northwest with the exception of the eucalyptus trees and the fern trees. We thoroughly enjoyed the walk.

      We walked to the Scenic Railway and had to ride it back up since we had gotten out of sequence by riding the railway up and down in the beginning.

      At this point, we lost Dale. Not in that we couldn't find him but in that he decided to look for a viewpoint with air conditioning and discontinue the adventure with us in the steamy heat.

      Bob, Jenni and I walked to Scenic Skyway went across, walked to Katoomba Falls which are the highest falls in Australia. Made our way to a lovely grass area and were treated to a large flock of cockatoos before we return to the Scenic Skyway for the return ride above the Jamison Valley.

      We made it back to the bus with 2 minutes to spare.

      The bus then made a quick 15 minute drive to our lunch location, The Mountain Heritage Lodge which was the largest wooden building in all the southern hemisphere when it was built in the 1800s. We find that the venues which serve large numbers of people can really be hit and miss. I am happy to report that lunch was delicious.

      Next we headed the town of Leura. We had a ridiculous amount of time in this small town. It was quaint but filled mostly with heavily scented boutiques so Bob and I spent our time trying to herd everyone back to the bus because the bus driver said that if we left early, we may have a chance to drive over the Sydney Bridge. All but 1 person was back on the bus well in advance.

      We were then lectured on the bus by our guide saying that the ship contracted with her company and she had to adhere strictly to the schedule with no flexibility. Our bus driver thought that this was ridiculous and so conveniently made a wrong turn, forcing us to have to make a detour which just happened to "force" us to drive over the Sydney Bridge.

      Needless to say, our bus driver got a big tip.

      Even with the "detour", we made it back to the ship with plenty of time to spare.

      Bob and I cracked a bottle of champagne and sat on our balcony and watched the sail away from Sydney.
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