A Great Day Out and About – Sydney

Standing outside the Marriott, we waited for our bus to pick us up for our day tour. It was due at 7:30, but by 7:50, it had not arrived, so we called the 24 hour number. They did not forget us, they were on their way. Indeed they were, but we were told we would transfer to another bus. At the Greyline depot, we had to get the bus at slot 5. Our driver was Angelo and we were a combined group from our tour company and Greyline. We did something correct for once, the tour we booked was identical to the Greyline Silver Premium, but we paid $25.00 less for each of our tickets. We paid 127.00 Aus each. Angelo, the tour guide and driver, started speaking as soon as we hit the road, barely stopping the entire day. When we were not interested in his information, we just read or fell asleep. Our first stop was the Wildlife Center, which for me was the highlight of the trip. Angelo had arranged for all of our tickets ahead of time, so we never had to stand in long lines to collect them. Inside the park, kangaroos and wallabies abound in a gated area where we were free to go. Ice cream sugar cones are provided which you fill with food provided and then find yourself a hungry kangaroo or wallaby to feed. Once they are smitten with you, you can pet them to your heart’s content. When they are tired of us, there is a kangaroo refuge area, where they can go to get away from people. Some of the critters hopped off and hopped over the fence to relax from the human attention. With so many animals, there are plenty more to lavish with attention. We filled our hoppy furry animal needs and then hopped on over ourselves to the koala area, before the mobs arrived. There are over two dozen koalas that take turns posing for pictures with their admirers. I caught a few of cuties sleeping off their eucalyptus leaves in limbs in trees. Some we were able to watch snacking away. Three koalas are gracious enough to take time out of their sleeping schedules to pose for pictures, so we stood in line to scratch and say cheese with a bundle of hug ability. They really are as precious at they appear in pictures; I only wish I could say the same for me. After the koalas, we checked out the wombats, are really ridiculous name for a short, fat, furry, rather adorable creature. The birds and other creatures around were enough to stay amused and entertained for a full day or at least a good half day, but we only had an hour and a half to fill our voids. Next on the agenda was the high country experience, where we traveled through the highland town of Katoomba as we drove on the scenic Cliff Drive coming from Narrow Neck Point. We took a short ride on the world’s steepest railroad. Once at the bottom of the ride, we took a walk through the rain forest of the area, all within an old abandoned coal mine. It was sold to a man and his sister who have turned it into private tourist attraction, but the views are fabulous. You are able to see the three sisters, three rock formations that stand side by side. At the end of our walk through the forest, we boarded a cable car for the ride back to the top, where lunch was provided. We went to a café where choices were panini sandwiches or wraps. Surprisingly delicious and filling, we then headed back to the bus for another drive through the Blue Mountains that incorporates over 248,000 hectares of deep valleys that are compared to the Grand Canyon, narrow canyons, rainforests, rugged sandstone, and craggy cliffs formed by extinct volcanoes. We followed the Great Western Highway going through Blackheath and Mt. Victoria. All of the driving time, Angelo gave commentary. I mentioned to Ron it was like being with a friend who was so excited, he could not hold back on any information. As we passed through one town, he told us about the style of houses, mentioning one was used for the private practices of two female general practitioners giving their names, like it meant something to us. It was reminiscent of visiting my grandmother in Michigan as a young adult when she would point out the homes of relatives or friends of the family that were of no interest or even known by me. The last interesting area where we all paid attention was the Sydney Olympic grounds where Angelo pointed out all of the venues that were held in each area, covering a good deal of territory as they are not all in one area. The end of the trip included a ferry ride back to Sydney proper, where the bus dropped us off. Our tickets were included. We were supposed to conclude the tour by 5:15, but Angelo did not get us back until 6:00, but waiting for the ferry and the ride home stretched it out to us getting back to the hotel by 7:45. Even with my laps in consciousness brought on the rocking bus, this was a great tour, but it is wisest and cheapest to book it through Great Sights Sydney Day Tours at 1-300-850-850 or through the Tourism office.