Driving and flying around Australia for seven weeks, three of us covered lots of territory, and lived in very close surroundings (three beds in one room). Yet, we still love each other!

map

Seven weeks was not near enough time!

Adjusting to driving on the left side of the road results in not only a warning ticket, but both Marilynn and I were alcohol breathalyzed by police on separate occasions. The cops must have thought that we had been drinking.

ticket

Opps! Found this waiting for us at home in the USA.

We wrap up the adventure with several hikes in the Blue Mountains, a popular area only 1 and 1/2 hours away from Sydney. “Get there before 9:00 am to beat the tour buses from the city,” our motel manager says. “The tourists don’t speak English, and don’t know how to que.” (form a single line)

Blue Mtns 2

The Blue Mountains

Katoomba, the main small town in the region, provides an excellent home base for day hikes. Numerous cafes and the unique residents, including a Tennessee-based messianic Christian sect, make the town a cool place to hang out in the chilly evenings when not hiking.

Katoomba 2

Katoomba

Many trails traverse this temperate rain forest that blankets canyons and mountains. Some of the main attractions include “Three Sisters” rock formation towers and “Echo Point” lookout.

three sisters 2

Three Sisters

The “Grand Stairway” proves to be a heart-pumping hike with over 1,000 narrow steps out of the canyon, past waterfalls and odd rock formations.

steps 2

Just part of the Grand Stairway

waterfall and steps

Many waterfalls. Many steps.

The forest canopy shields us from the sun, while wild Cockatoos fly in flocks and squawk as if they are mad at somebody.

Birds

Cockatoos

We avoid the crowds of tourists and children at “Scenic World” which we affectionately nickname, “Wally World.”

Cable car

Scenic World cable car

To its credit, a person can access views of the canyon if unable or unwilling to hike, via the glass-floored cable car that goes across the canyon, and a different cable car that descends into the valley at a 52-degree angle.

Coogee cliffs

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

We found that the large cities in Australia share at least one thing in common – fantastic walkways.

breakfast

Breakfast!

After a breakfast of salmon/shrimp/pea frittata on our last day in Australia, we walk from Coogee to Bondi Beach (where we kept our clothes on) and back on the Clifftop Coastal Walk.

overcast

Coogee Cliffs

This 5.5 km walkway could not be more scenic and was especially pleasant on this overcast day. What a perfect way to prepare for a 13-hour flight back home!     Ron Mitchell

 

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