Sunday, March 21, 2010

1,000 meters above sea level - The Blue Mountains

Today was an incredible day to say the least. I went on a day trip through our school up to the Blue Mountains. I woke up early and excited and met down in the CYC at 7:30am. Although the bus arrived a little late the bus driver made up for it with his enthusiasm and excitement which he quickly spread to the rest of us. We drove for about an hour before stopping at the Featherdale Wildlife Park. At the entrance we were given a small paper 'passport' which we could take around and get different animal stamps as we saw the different exhibits. The park has an extensive collection of over 200 native birds and 30 species of mammals displayed in a compact layout where you can get hands on and pet and feed many of the animals. I got to see dingos, wombats, Tasmanian devils, penguins, kangaroos, koalas and more. During our time there we also got to catch a short show put on about crocodiles. I had the chance to feed the kangaroos, pet the koalas, hold a snake, and play with the emus. I was very amused by the emus and I figured out if I held out long blades of grass for them to eat they would take bites off of the piece of grass right out of my hand. It was quite entertaining and then they started to follow me around a little and my friend Ashley took a video of it for me. The Featherdale Park was really nice and a fun start to the day.

Next we drove about an hour and stopped for lunch. We were on our own for lunch and some of the group and I went to a little take away restaurant. Olivia and I shared some honey chicken and rice and it was quite delicious. We just ordered food and sat in the grass and ate and then loaded back onto the bus. About 14 minutes later we were at our next stop, the Blue Mountains. Our first stop was the Echo Point which is the home to the famous rock formations the Three Sisters. We had about thirty minutes or so to take pictures walk around and enjoy the scenery. The view of the Blue Mountains is, again like many amazing places I have been to so far in Australia, quite indescribable. The Blue Mountains are named the blue mountains because of the eucalyptus trees that make the forests and mountains appear to have a blue tint to them from the eucalyptus leaves. The view at the first stop and for the rest of the day was so gorgeous. The mountains and valleys are so lush and dense with different shades of green and blue as far as you can see. It was quite a magical experience, not to sound too cliche, but it was really awesome. :)

After stopping at Echo Point and the Three Sisters we got back onto the bus and drove farther up the mountains to the Scenic World station where the Blue Mountains souvenir shop and the Katoomba Scenic Railway is located. We walked down the trail for a while and had different opportunities to take more pictures. It was a great walk and of course more gorgeous scenery. We made it to the bottom of the trail where the Katoomba mine is and our bus driver/tour guide told us some stories, legends, and history of the Blue Mountains. After our nice hike down the mountain we took the Katoomba Scenic Railway back up to the top which is the "steepest incline railway in the world." I rode up next to Ashley who was quite frightened of the entire experience but I found it to be quite thrilling and awesome. We were sitting in this railway car with bars and fencing to keep us from falling out as we are traveling backwards up the side of a mountain, pretty cool if you ask me.

After the railway we browsed around the souvenir shop, some of the group found worthy purchases while others of us simply looked around. We loaded back on the bus and headed to our next and final stop for the day, Wentworth Falls. We stopped, unloaded the bus and hiked down the short 10 minute trail or so to the Princess Rock lookout and a view of the falls. Yet again a beautiful and incredible site. The amber colored rocks, with lush green and blue surrounding it and the waterfalls trickling down the rocks. A great place for more pictures including group shots, Delta Gamma pics, an Albion group shot, some artistic attempts, and me trying to take a fun picture by climbing into a rock hole and sticking my head out of the top of it. The falls was our final stop so we loaded up the bus one last time. Our bus driver and tour guide who had been very nice and helpful all day, summarized our day and passed out some small koalas as a little gift for our group. The bus ride back went by pretty quick because I took a little nap and then the bus driver dropped us off in Manly so we could get some dinner. Some of the girls and I walked over to Subway, ate and talked about our wonderful day. We hiked back up the hill and now I have spent the rest of my evening uploading and editing pictures and working on other things on my computer. Back at it for classes tomorrow and I have had an absolutely wonderful weekend. Classes are not too busy this week but I have some stuff due next week so plenty to work on and then Friday Olivia and I have a little date planned for going in to 'the city.' :)

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