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.