Day 16 – Sydney and Blue Mountains

We booked a tour this morning to see the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. The formations were supposed to be incredible. However, the weather wasn’t very cooperative. We joined a group of eight in a van to see what we could see. Adam, our guide, really worked hard to find areas that would be visible. He was semi-successful but the walk in the rainforest was quite beautiful. We couldn’t see the “Three Sisters,” which is a must-see in the Blue Mountains. So, I took a picture of it to let you know what it was supposed to look like.

There were numerous stops along the way, some with glimpses of beauty when the clouds melted away, if only fleetingly. Adam apologized profusely with hopes that some of the splendid views would reveal themselves. Unfortunately, his cloud melting powers were on vacation! We even got a quick peak of a lyrebird before it hid in the bushes. That was only the second time that Adam had ever seen one in the wild.

He does have a YouTube channel where he talks about the wonders of this area, called Adsventures. I plan to check it out when we are home. We did take the gondola down to almost the bottom, providing a beautiful view of the area. We took the train (more like an incline) back up and the seats reclined a lot so you weren’t falling forward when it lurched up the mountain. That was fun, actually.

Afterward, we stopped at a local zoo, the Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park, where many of the animals were allowed to roam freely. The kangaroos, wallabys, and many birds, like the Ibis, seemed to enjoy the attention, allowing us to pet them (not the birds). They had an incredible, pre-historic-looking bird (cassowary), huge pelicans (or were they storks?), goats, koalas, owls, unusual ducks, emus, penguins, wombats, echidnas, dog-like dingos, ostriches, cockatoos, and quokkas. Although echidnas look like porcupines, they are quite different. They aren’t in the rodent family like porcupines, but are egg-laying mammals. They were very cute but can be dangerous to touch. The quokka has an adorable face that always seems to be smiling.

We returned to Sydney to get freshened up before our farewell dinner at a nearby hotel. We had one very long table, which wasn’t our favorite way to dine, but it gave us an opportunity to visit with some of our fellow travelers. This is the final day of the original tour. Seven of us are going on to Fiji, one couple is going to Hawaii to celebrate their anniversary on their way home, and one couple is returning to Sydney for five days to really get up-close and personal time to visit places we didn’t get to on the tour. The rest are heading home to snow and cold.

We leave tomorrow morning for our flight to Nadi, about 3.5 hours away. It will be nice to enjoy warm weather and some down time. We said our goodbyes and may keep in touch via our WhatsApp group, sharing pictures and updates once everyone is home. Despite the larger size of the group, we enjoyed each other’s company and got along well.

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