Day 14: Rain, Rain, Go Away

In each of our three Australia locations we spent one day “out.” For Melbourne that was the Great Ocean Road tour; for Port Douglas it was boating on the Great Barrier Reef; here in Sydney it was the Blue Mountains tour. We might have known this excursion wouldn’t be “Great” since that word wasn’t in the name this time.

We started with the anticipation of comparison. The Blue Mountains of Australia acquired their name by the same physical phenomenon as the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The trees in that area of their respective continents release an organic compound that combines with sunlight and dust in the air to create a blue hue when seen from a distance.

Surely we would feel right at home in the Blue Mountains. Alas, it must have been raining at home, because the Blue Mountains gave us a rainy day. It would have been the same weather if we stayed in Sydney this day. Mid-afternoon we found a break in the clouds that enabled us to see Wentworth Falls (which wasn’t on the tour itinerary at the beginning of the day, a story explained briefly in a photo caption).

The tour was salvaged by the final planned stop, at Featherdale Wildlife Park on the drive out of the mountains. As we re-entered the Sydney suburbs, the sun came out and so did the animals.

We had an hour to see wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, birds of many feathers, and a lazy, thick-skinned crocodile. That was sufficient in this small park, where ‘roos and wallabies (hard to tell the difference) inhabit pens that let us walk amongst them (we should have hopped to fit in). The star of the show was a little princess named Willow, a baby koala about two years old. We were able to pet her, talk to her, and get her to pose for snapshots. For a koala, she was quite the ham.

This day of mostly rain had a pot of gold at the end of it. We went out on the town for an anniversary soufflé treat at Max Brenner’s chocolate shop, a favorite stop for everyone we asked. Raleigh, Cary, and the U.S.A. need places like this – – late evening locations where one can get a gourmet treat. Ice cream and yogurt are the staples of the homeland dessert selection, but they should not be the only choices. Let us eat cake(!) any time of day that we’re ready – – and when isn’t Doug ready for cake?

Photoshop probably can’t edit out the rain and mist, so the photos we took can only deliver the Blues, and perhaps nary a hint of the Mountains. I’ll pick a few that reasonably depict the highlights of the day.

 

A river valley lookout of the Blue Mountains in the state of New South Wales, which are about two-thirds the height of the Blue Ridge Mountains of the state of North Carolina when comparing the highest peak of each.
A river valley lookout of the Blue Mountains in the state of New South Wales, which are about two-thirds the height of the Blue Ridge Mountains of the state of North Carolina when comparing the highest peak of each.
Disbelief had set in that we could see the sun, the Blue Mountains, or even a speck of blue sky, then there it was! Betsy rejoiced. By the time she turned around it was gone, but the camera doesn't lie.
Disbelief had set in that we could see the sun, the Blue Mountains, or even a speck of blue sky, then there it was! Betsy rejoiced. By the time she turned around it was gone, but the camera doesn’t lie.
We dedicate this photo to Erin. We met her the night before, and she said we should see Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains. It wasn't on the itinerary, but when all other views were shrouded in mystery, we had our guide take us here for the only decent scenery captured on "film" this day.
We dedicate this photo to Erin. We met her the night before, and she said we should see Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains. It wasn’t on the itinerary, but when all other views were shrouded in mystery, we had our guide take us here for the only decent scenery captured on “film” this day.
Hey "Mista," is that a rock ledge in the clouds at a location called Kings Tablelands in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney? Was it safe? Sure! ... It would have been poor taste for her to push him over the edge on their anniversary.
Hey “Mista,” is that a rock ledge in the clouds at a location called Kings Tablelands in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney? Was it safe? Sure! … It would have been poor taste for her to push him over the edge on their anniversary. 🙂
A rainy day detour put the kid in the candy shop of the mountain town Leura. This old-time store could have been the inspiration for the modern chain called Rocketfizz, with oodles of candy and lots of bubbly "pop" to drink.
A rainy day detour put the kid in the candy shop of the mountain town Leura. This old-time store could have been the inspiration for the modern chain called Rocketfizz, with oodles of candy and lots of bubbly “pop” to drink.
So close you could dine with them, the animals of Featherdale Wildlife Park are almost nose-to-nose with the tourists. This wallaby is enjoying a carrot but those eyes are asking Betsy if she has any other treats.
So close you could dine with them, the animals of Featherdale Wildlife Park are almost nose-to-nose with the tourists. This wallaby is enjoying a carrot but those eyes are asking Betsy if she has any other treats.
Kangaroo excitement bounded into our late afternoon, especially with the ones named "joey." Can you spot the two 'roos in this photo?
Kangaroo excitement bounded into our late afternoon, especially with the ones named “joey.” Can you spot the two ‘roos in this photo?
Shot to the nose! These guys donned black gloves and each tried to "roo-in" the other's future in photos in a steel cage match worthy of the WWF (World Wildlife Federation?).
Shot to the nose! These guys donned black gloves and each tried to “roo-in” the other’s future in photos in a steel cage match worthy of the WWF (World Wildlife Federation?).
Say hello to Betsy's furry friend Willow as she stares straight into the camera for the photo op at Featherdale Wildlife Park outside Sydney.
Say hello to Betsy’s furry friend Willow as she stares straight into the camera for the photo op at Featherdale Wildlife Park outside Sydney.
Willow rears back, preparing to take her bow in the boughs after photos with our entire tour group of 4+1, because even the guide wouldn't say no to posing with this beauty.
Willow rears back, preparing to take her bow in the boughs after photos with our entire tour group of 4+1, because even the guide wouldn’t say no to posing with this beauty.
Is this our first "selfie" of the trip on nearly the last night domiciled in Australia? Chocolate soufflé with ice cream is a nice anniversary nightcap to Day 14 and Year 22 at the first retail location for (maybe-not-so-Mad) Max Brenner.
Is this our first “selfie” of the trip on nearly the last night domiciled in Australia? Chocolate soufflé with ice cream is a nice anniversary nightcap to Day 14 and Year 22 at the first retail location for (maybe-not-so-Mad) Max Brenner.
Advertisements