Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Walkabout

We went on a walkabout today through the Blue Mountains and got to learn about aboriginal culture, and bush tucker (food) and medicine. 
We met at the beginning of the trail with our guide and the one other person who was going on the tour with us.  In a huge coincidence, the one other person on the tour was an American...from Tallahassee.  He's attending FSU Law.  Crazy!
While on the trail we got to learn about the Aboriginal dreamtime, and their rituals.  We got to taste fresh teatree, Eucalyptus (which we rolled up and shoved up our nostrils to clear our sinuses) and several other plants.  We also got to paint each other with ochre (rock paint). 
The hike was a lot tougher than the website made it seem, but it was great fun.  Awesome photos/videos to follow.

Throughout Sydney

We spent the last 3 days going through Sydney checking out many of the local galleries, museums, etc.

These first pictures are from Manly Oceanworld.  It was a fun little aquarium, although nothing to write home about.  Joe was really excited because they let him touch the Port Jackson shark.




The following are from the Australian Maritime Museum.  You were able to go aboard a destroyer and a submarine.  












We also went to the Opera House and the Aquarium, and Featherdale wildlife park.  Some of you may have noticed a lack of pictures on this blog.  It seems the one thing Australia does NOT have is fast internet.  Downloading pictures takes FOREVER.  So once I get back, I'll put all 1 million pictures onto a photo site, and let you all know the link.  Only 2 days left.

Abseiling

We went abseiling (rappelling) up in the Blue Mountains today. We started with a short, 5 meter abseil to learn, then worked our way up.  The second abseil was down a 15 meter face, although they didn't bother to tell you that about 5 meters down there was no more rock.  You were just hanging there, slowly letting yourself down with nothing to kick off of.  The last one was a 30 meters (98 feet), where most of it was hanging.  It was so scary and amazing.




The second part of the day was for hiking through the canyons.  The water itself was roughly 10 degrees celsius.  It was sooo cold.  We had on wetsuits and rain jackets and winter caps, all underneath our harnesses and helmets.  At the end of the canyoning we got to abseil down the 30 meter Empress Falls.

Yeti Crossing?




video
I was a mess going down the waterfall. I bashed into the rock about 50 times. Fabulous.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Southbound Day 5-Australia wins

We went on a beautiful hike this morning through Hat Head.  While resting at one of the stopping points along the trail, we saw a pod of dolphins riding the waves, and even saw some whales spouting.  If you are ever in Australia, 6 hours north of Sydney, I highly recommend stopping here.

We continued on our trip (it was raining now) and almost had reached our next campsite when a warning light came on in our trailer.  Being only an hour from home, and cold, and tired, I gave up.  We arrived back in Sydney last night into the caring arms of Dmitra and Adam.

Southbound Day 4

Today was a short day, so we stopped off in Surfer’s Paradise.  It was a fun little town, and had a giant 5 story haunted house that Joe had to go to.  It had some awesome animatronics, and my favorite part was when you had to climb into the mouth of the ex-prime minister then traverse his intestines, only to come out his backside on the other end, with a rollicking farting noise.  Hilarious (most things seem hilarious when you’ve been on the road for 4 days).  We felt the water with our toes (so cold), and headed on our way to our campsite.

We camped in Hat Head National Park, and it was glorious.  The first thing we saw upon driving in were several wallabies (including a joey) in our campsite.  Joe was so very excited.  We set up, used the last of the water in our bottles to cook some food, and enjoyed the wildlife.  We were woken bright and early (6am) the next morning by a butcher bird, which sounds very much like a recorder/flute.  Joe’s exact words were “I’m going to find that hippy playing that recorder and kill him”.  He even went out to search for him.  The wallabies that had congregated around our trailer laughed at him, I’m sure.  We never did see it.

Southbound Day 3

We headed to Brisbane today.  It was mostly a long day of driving, so not much to write about.  However, we did find out that there is no way to hook up the water hoses on our camper, or even open the water tank.  So much for spaghetti (the only food we had that didn’t freeze). *sigh.

Australia 1: Nancy 0

To get to our camping spot tonight we had to travel through an area that was 4-wheel drive only.  I figured this wouldn’t be a problem, as we had a 4-wheel drive vehicle.  I was wrong.  After bouncing through the forest for about 20 minutes, we reached a sandy area and promptly got stuck.  We spent the next half hour digging ourselves out.  We spent the night at a hotel.  But on a good note, we did see two Kangaroos hopping along the side of the road during the drive.  We just had to be in the middle of nowhere to do it.