• Tina Ebenal

Sydney & Blue Mountains

September 9-15, 2017

Living in Australia for the time we are, we felt it was necessary for us to visit Sydney at least once. We split our trip into three parts; Port Macquarie, Sydney, and the Blue Mountains. Leaving on the 9th, we drove about half way to Port Macquarie for one night before traveling the rest of the way to Sydney.

The night we stayed at Port Macquarie, we walked the beautiful beach, watched surfers, and took in the great views. It is not every day that you can walk along a beach and see mountains in the background. The beaches in Australia haven't disappointed us yet.

In Sydney, we stayed for three days and mostly within the Rocks area of the city. We are not city people and we really wanted to be near the Opera House and the wharf.

Our first day in Sydney, we did some sight seeing of the Opera House and of the Botanical Gardens.

Day 2 of our trip was to the Taronga Zoo, however, since we have a toddler who is up by 5am, we were too early to try to go. So we let her run around in a little park area until it was time for us to catch our ferry.

We have only visited two zoos while in Australia (Darling Downs and Taronga) and we have been astonished to how close you can get to the animals, especially the big cats. In US, there are many barriers to get to the animals and even then, it doesn't keep people out. With the kangaroos, kolas, and the emus; there were not any barriers. Just signs that say "don't cross the painted line" or "stay off rocks."

I was really happy to get a picture of the giraffes with the Opera House in the background. There were many others taking the same picture. It must be the thing to do when you are at the zoo. It does make for an excellent composition.

I have also yet to see a wild kangaroo. The only ones I have seen have been at the zoos.

We always enjoy zoos and aquariums as a family. Our daughter absolutely loves animals.

That evening after dinner, we decided to head over to the Opera House where they were doing a light show projection. The images captured some of the stories and traditions of the Aboriginal peoples. I also took the opportunity to practice my night-time photography. The Opera House looked more like a space station from a Sci-Fi.

The morning we were going to leave for the Blue Mountains, I snuck out before my daughter and husband got up to catch the sunrise on the docks. I was not disappointed in getting great images of the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge.

From Sydney we had a two hour drive to Katoomba in Blue Mountains. Brian and I are not city people. We enjoyed Sydney and what we did, but the mountains and outdoors is what we love the most. On our way, we stopped to do a small hike. Amelia enjoys the outdoors as well and loves to ride on Daddy's back. We also stopped by Echo Point to see the Three Sisters.

The next morning we returned to Echo Point. However the weather was dramatically different. We went from 21 C (70 F) to 1 C (34 F) and it was snowing. The hike we had planned to do was a steep decline down the mountain into the valley. We decided to not do it because it would be dangerous with it snowing and me being 23 weeks pregnant. Not only would the decline be dangerous, but the incline would be just as bad. We were disappointed to not hike, but we decided that we would come back in the future. One highlight was that there was no one there and we could enjoy the quiet (even though we were freezing) and a rainbow. Amelia had fun regardless. Brian made the mistake of giving her a stick...you can imagine what she decided to do with it while on Daddy's back.

Although the ending of our trip was not what we expected, we did enjoy the parts of the Blue Mountains we did get experience. We also had a wonderful family holiday together. We do have some weekend holidays planned in the next couple of months before Baby Girl 2 arrives.

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