09.24.2007 - 09.25.2007 0 °F
Sniff sniff.... today is my last day in Australia. This leg is officially over. Its been quite a journey, but alas, a fun and exciting one. Its crazy to think that I have been here for just about 5 weeks... I feel as if I've done and seen soooooooooooooooo much. Well, I have I guess! Being the short amount of time in each place, just about 3 weeks in Australia and just about 2 weeks in New Zealand, we packed it in as much as we could. And I'm leaving with a thirst for more. Both Aus and NZ are absolutely amazing countries and next time I will try to see more than the 2% I just saw. Sydney is an amazing city and I would love to live here one day (except its SUPER expensive to live). We'll see!
To back track a little, after being in Sydney for a couple of days, we were already itching to go back to mountains and fresh air (hmm... especially that we are leaving for Beijing in 2 days, so we need to maximize our fresh air time!). So here we are in Katoomba, or the Blue Mountains, just a 2 hour train ride from the city central.
We are staying here the night to give us some time to do the hikes that we wanted and to not rush back home again. So we opted to do the 3 Sisters Walk, which is a 4-hour "moderate" hike and the most beautiful. Here is me, "I feel alive!!"
We had a good hike! It was beautiful and peaceful. But alas, lets just say after a little over 3 hours we were already headed back home on a paved road. I've caught a slight cold... okay, fine, I'm a little out of shape, so it was a little more strenuous than "moderate." The 3 Sisters view is famous for its Aboriginal spiritual significance, and yet, no where was it written what this was. Hmm.... a google search later I guess. But it really is amazing and awesome to see. Another part of our hike was to descend 900 VERY steep steps, and that eccentric loading left us quite shaky! So then we got lazy and took the Scenic Railway ("The Steepest Railway in the World") up the mountain versus climbing up 1200 steps. So yes, it was nice to be amongst nature again and smell (well, kinda. I'm a little congested) fresh air. The nicest part was it was a BEAUTIFUL sunny day, ahhh... gotta love the sunny skies! And of course the mountains are amazingly vast and gorgeous.
Since I'm leaving, here are a few final thoughts:
Highlights o Australia:
-seeing the opera house en vivo
-the Sydney Aquarium
-scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef
-the Daintree rainforest and learning about unique flora and fauna
-seeing a dingo
-seeing whales and dolphines hanging out in the wild
-going to the pristine and beautiful Whitsunday islands
-Having a "no Worries" and "take it easy" attitude
-THE AMAZING people! Soooo nice and friendly!
- Here is a link to my picts (no need to sign up or anything. Just click on "view photos):"
Highlights o NZ:
-The amazing clouds. I know it sounds silly but they lay very low, and its no coincidence that New Zealand is also known as the "Land of the Long White Cloud." Its almost like the whip cream on an ice cream sundae with more cherries and sprinkles on top. But the cherries and sprinkles are snow-capped mountains and the sky.
-The pristine lakes and rivers. Yes, I said rivers. From those of you from Chicago, no, there are no dead bodies in the lakes or gross stuff like bandades and diapers, and yes you can see more than .002 inches in front of you!
-Learning about maori traditions
-Going BUNGYYYYY jumping! What a thrill and e-drenaline rush!
-Going skiing... in Sept... in NZ!!!!
-The diverse and ever-changing scenery. We were just in the South island and we saw everything from large mountains, lakes, the sea, glaciers, fiords, plainfields, to the ocean! Everything!
-Here is a link to my picts of NZ (same as before, just click on "view photos"):
And finally, both countries:
1st, here's a not-so-exact map of where we were traveling:
2nd, getting into rugby! Especially the World Cup championship going on in Paris, France right now. New Zealand is the best team (called the All Blacks. They do this cool Haka dance before each game), however the Australian Wallabies are a close 2nd, followed by England and South Africa. We'll see what happens in Oct (if we can find a sports bar in China, that is! Wish us luck).
Speaking of, its that time - off to China!
p.s. And as always, here is the links to my travel partners for other perspectives:
Lauren (who has been with me around Australia and New Zealand. She has good pictures!): http://lauren.travellerspoint.com
Char (who is meeting us in China): http://thelasthurrah.travellerspoint.com