Trip Start Nov 23, 2005
31Trip End Jul 12, 2006
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Where I stayed
After a quieter night spent in a smaller dorm, we set off on our final bus trip to Sydney at 11am. That's 13hrs of our lives we will never get back. We arrived without a hitch at Sydney Central at 12.35am Saturday morning to walk 2 minutes down the road to our YHA hostel that we booked the previous night. It was a little bit of luxury at $35 each a night.
Sat 18th Mar
After breakfast we went looking for a cheaper hostel. Found one just around the corner with a double room available at $50 a night for the room and included tea & toast in the mornings. We decided to be real tourists and bought 24hr tickets on the City Sightseeing bus covering two routes, one in Bondi and one in the city. We spent a pleasent afternoon travelling around Bondi and the City seeing what there was to see
Sun 19th Mar
Got up early and returned to Bondi back on the sightseeing bus. Spent a pleasant couple of hours there and then returned to the city to catch the tail end of the St Patrick's Day parade and festival. This of course wasn't touristy enough, so we decided to visit the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, two of Sydney's must-do's! Both were beautiful. We returned to our hostel for our own movie night where we managed to squeeze in 3 movies before hitting the sack.
Mon 20th Mar
Another early start and we're off to see the wizard. Ok so maybe not the wizard, but the man who can sort our Russian visa out. After finally locating the Russian Consulate we applied for our visas, paid through the nose for a speedy application and returned back to Central Station, only to bump into our old friend, Flavia! We thought we had visa problems, but apparently she's due to leave Oz in a week and a half, but her visa has already expired! Good luck girl!
Tues 21st Mar
An early checkout had us running (which is not easy with a huge pack) to the station to catch our train to the Blue Mountains, I'm pleased to say; we made it, just! The closer we got, the wetter and colder it became, glad we packed our fleeces and warm jackets! Our room wasn't ready to check into, so the staff put our bags in storage so that we could have a look around. As the weather wasn't great, we decided on doing a circuit on the bus to find where everything was. After finaly checking in, we had a late lunch and made plans of where we were going to go tomorrow and Thursday.
Weds 22nd Mar
After a lovely breakfast of pancakes, we got on the train to Zig Zag station to catch the Zig Zag steam train up the mountains. Today we were riding on Thomas the tank engine, (acutally it's name was Stormin Norman, but it's blue and they do have a Thomas face for it on special Thomas days) and we even got to ride up in the engine with the driver and fireman! In the afternoon, we went to Wentworth falls to have a wander for a few hours
The track to it took around 60 mins, I was in front and all Cat could hear was WOW! Wentworth has plenty of wow factor, the falls itself wasn't exactly rushing over, but the view over the mountains was incredible! They really do look blue! We spent a few more hours walking the under cliff walk before having to head back to Katoomba, we really didn't want to leave, but the light was fading so we had to really.
Thurs 23rd Mar
Had a bit of a lie-in, before checking out of the hostel & storing our packs in lockers for the day. As the day was very misty, we headed to Leura to visit the candy shop, then had a walk to the pool of Siloam. The mist still hadn't cleared & Cat had hurt her leg (jumping off the wardrobe again) so we abandoned our cliff walk as we couldn't see anything, & went back to Leura for afternoon Devonshire teas. We made 1 more last attempt to see the 3 sisters, but it still wasn't clear enough, so we went back to catch the train back to Sydney. On our arrival back to our supposedly reserved room, we found that the room we'd requested had been given to someone else. So we had to settle for a noisy roadside room until we could move back into our room on Sat. Not a good day all in all!
Fri 24th Mar
Woke up pretty tired from a noisy night, & had words with reception, they gave us a night for free for our troubles. First thing, we got on a train to collect our Russian visas, thankfully they were ready for us when we got there. 1 down 2 to go! We spent the rest of the morning running around trying to find the other 2 embassies, but were a little too late to catch them. This evening was $2 BBQ night at the hostel, for our money we got a sausage, 2 hamburgers, fried potatoes & more salad you could ever need! Real bargain!
Sat 25th Mar
Bit of a lie-in this morning followed by some serious planning, booking a flight to Taz, a tour of Canberra, & car hire. In the afternoon we met up with Urbs & checked out a cafe with old & new motorbikes in it. It was pretty cool, they have a rep. of the fastest Indian from the film, plenty of other Indians & some weird ones I'd never heard of!
Sun 26th Mar
An early start of 7:50 to catch our tour coach to Canberra. On the long 3-4 hour drive there, we stopped in Berrima for breakfast/brunch
Mon 27th Mar
After an early breakfast, we bought a day tripper pass which covered the Bus, Train & Ferries to do all the touristy things we hadn't done yet. A quick bus ride to the Chinese Embassy to apply for our visas started the day off, followed by Hertz to book a hire car for tomorrow. After a lovely walk through the Botanical gardens to Mrs Macquaries chair, we headed to Balmain over the Anzac bridge on the bus, & down to the wharf to catch a ferry to circular quay. From there we caught the same ferry back, but this time, got off at Darling Harbour. Our next stop, was the Chinese Gardens which were beautiful. So far so good you're thinking! In the gardens, was a costume hire place, & being nosey, I was persuaded to try on (for free) an emperors tunic. It all started off as a bit of fun, but when the guy said to Cat to take a photo, he then charged us $10! We tried to reason with him over this but ended up paying him. Cat being Cat wasn't having any of it & complained to the gardens management, where we found that he does this a lot & they would deal with it & get us our money back! That over with, we got back on a ferry to Luna Park to check out the rides, which were rather expensive so gave them a miss. A train ride over the Harbour Bridge, took us back to Circular Quay & onto the ferry to Manly & back for the sunset. To finish the evening off, we made a train ride to Chatswood to meet my friend Leanne, before heading back to the hostel to get some sleep. It's hard work being a tourist you know!
Tues 28th Mar
Yet another early morning to collect our Chinese visas,(2 down) then over to the Mongolian embassy to drop off & collect (in under 3 hours, impressive!) our final visas for the Trans-Mongolian train, on the last leg of our trip. From there we walked down to Hertz to pick up our lovely bright red Toyota Yaris. Got the keys, jumped into the car, only for it not to start! After going back to the office & bringing the assistant out to the 6th level basement car park, she got in & started it straight away! Didn't you push the clutch in she said? I've never heard of having to do that before, she could have just told me! That over with, we made our way out of the city & onto the Blue Mountains. We arrived there at 5 & managed to see the 3 sisters in all their glory, we also had time to see, Katoomba falls, Katoomba cascades & Leurra Cascades before it got too dark. We then drove to Lithgow, where we had the best grilled fish in crumbs we've ever eaten!
Weds 29th Mar
As predicted, the morning started misty, but soon lifted so that we had time to see Bridal Veil Falls & the view from Evans lookout. We didn't have time to walk to the Grand Canyon, so compensated for it by going down the steepest railway from Scenic world, & back up the cable car to get an amazing view of the 3 sisters & a rock that was bigger than Ayres rock, the majority of which was under ground! Having left the most stunning place on earth I've ever seen, we made our way back to Sydney airport for our flight to Taz. We arrived at the airport rather early for the flight, because the car had to be back by 3:40, but that gave us time to argue with Hertz, over them trying to charge us for 2 days because we were 10 mins late! After explaining what happened when we picked it up, they soon amended it & apologized for the inconvenience. The few hours at the airport soon flew by (pardon the pun!) & after a pleasant flight, we were soon in Hobart.