"I choose to be Amused!"-An Epic Trip to DL with a side of Oz(3/17-4 NEW POSTS pg17)

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by skier_pete, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. battymum

    battymum DIS Veteran

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    When we were in the USA we found it really difficult to walk on the right side of the pavement! We knew about driving on the right side - but forgot about the courtesy of keeping right when you are walking as well, it is so ingrained to keep left down here!
     
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  3. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    yes! We noticed that too after a few days! At first it was like: "Holy Moly these streets sure are busy!" Then we were realizing we were walking into everyone. We had to really think to walk on the left.

    I had less trouble with crossing the street and the traffic coming from the opposite direction. DW kept saying "Look left", but I just did a "Left-right-left-right-left-right-left-right" the whole time I was crossing.

    There really were a lot of opposites! Day is Night! Right is Left! Winter is Summer! Hot is Cold! North is South! :lmao:

    And don't even get me started on those hook turns in Melbourne! :eek: :scared1: Those are definitely not designed with foreigners in mind. All I could think of was Doc Hudson telling Lightnin McQueen "Turn Right to go Left"
     
  4. michellekcm

    michellekcm Mouseketeer

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    Those hook turns are scary when you're first learning to drive, even when you've lived here your whole life. Of course, they make so much sense from a traffic flow / tram perspective, but yes, take a lot of getting used to.

    I'm another person who has been reading your TR but not commented yet :). I loved hearing about the DisneyLand part as we're headed there next year, but am really curious to hear what you thought of Australia. Really enjoying reading it.
     
  5. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    They do sort of make sense - fortunately I never was driving when we went into the city. But that's getting ahead of myself. Another post will be coming shortly.
     
  6. Chicago Mo

    Chicago Mo DIS Veteran

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    NEVER would anyone think your bashing your daughter. Ever.
    with my one Son i ALWAYS thought he was either dyslexic, ADD, or something. Well the teacher was an ***, the doctor said he was fine. so i was getting no where until he finally did get a fab teacher and we worked together. I promised myself not to just throw him on drugs. The regular ped. without even asking him a question handed me a script. Hell no. I went to the university where they did extensive testing, without bogging him down (he actually thought it was fun)
    afterwards i found out he has a learning disability and Language barrier. If you ever spoke to him you would never know.
    But i knew as a parent..
    Im not in ANY way stating there is something wrong. but if you feel there might be a slightest chance, you might want to seek a better opinion.

    ENOUGH WITH THE HEAVY Lets get on with the HAPPY!! :upsidedow
     
  7. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    The day dawned bright and sunny. In fact, we really had excellent weather in Sydney, with sunny skies every day and typically temperatures getting up into the high 60s (around 20 in Celcius) by mid-day. It was enough that we seemed to need a sweatshirt in the morning, but usually removed by afternoon.

    So, today we had booked a combo ticket for a Sydney Harbor ferry. The ferry was an on/off ferry that had several stops around the harbor that you could take as many times as you wanted over a 24 hour period. The plan was to take the 8:45 AM ferry from Circular Quay over to Darling Harbor and then go to the Aquarium. We got up and had breakfast in our room, and made our way down to Circular Quay, a maybe 5 minute walk from our hotel. When we got there about 8:30 AM, we were told that even though the schedule shows the early ferry, it isn’t running right now, and the first ferry out isn’t until 9:30 AM. So, we decide instead of waiting around for an hour, we’ll walk to the Aquarium. It isn’t really all that far, maybe about 10 blocks or a 20-25 minute walk. DD is really excited for the aquarium, so in an unusual move she doesn’t complain much about the walk.

    The aquarium was very nice, I wouldn’t rank it as highly as say Monterey, but it was definitely a good one. I was a little surprised that there wasn’t more too it, but it was plenty big enough. (How many fish can you have really.) When we first got there it was relatively quiet, and we timed our walk-through to seeing a bunch of presentations. By about 10:30 AM though the place was absolutely packed with families and school groups. It got very crowded very quickly.

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    Perry, is that you? Nope, it’s a girl.

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    This was the first live-action Platypus we came across on this trip, and the only one that was pretty good about posing.

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    They had an exhibit of Fairy/Little Penguins, which we would see more of in Melbourne.

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    That’s one giant crab!

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    They had one of those sea tubes where you walk underneath the animals. The interesting thing was this was actually below the level of the harbor, so that you were in fact “under water”.

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    The big aquarium had a fish feeding scheduled, but we didn’t really get exactly where they were doing it.

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    I got DD to pose with this giant grouper in the main tank.

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    We wrapped up there when it was getting to be close to lunchtime – so we headed down to the end of Darling Harbour. They had a large playground for kids, and I mean HUGE. Check out this rope climb.

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    There were also a water pump / stream feature that DD really enjoyed. There is a large row of building near the park with restaurants with patios. I told my DW I would watch DD and she could go look at the restaurants to pick one as she was in the mood for fish and chips. She came back a few minutes later saying she couldn’t find anyplace, they were all too expensive. Well, I went for a look and found several that weren’t too bad, though you had to not think by American Standards. The place we ended up at was called “Taste” and had an eclectic indoor/outdoor eating area made up of odd tables and chairs.

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    They had a nice special where you ordered lunch and got a drink included. The meals were slightly more than $20. The food was pretty good. DW did indeed have the fish and chips

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    I had a chicken sandwhich.

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    Our bill ended up about $57. (Actually, I guess DW was right, a similar meal in Buffalo might run you $35-$40.)

    Next up - Is it worth running for the ferry?
     
  8. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    I wanted to add another map picture. Here is a more "wide-scale" view of Sydney Harbor. This shows the location of Darling Harbor as well as the route we took on the ferry. The round trip route to Watson's Bay and back would probably take about an hour without stops. Suffice it to say it's a pretty darn big harbor.

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    We started to head back to the pier to catch the ferry (maybe a 8-minute walk) but DD wanted a few more minutes in the playground. I agreed and when we got walking for the ferry, we realized we were too late when it was pulling away. It was 45 minutes until the next one, so we went back to the park to let DD play some more in the water. (She had crocs on so we didn’t mind her getting her feet wet.)

    Some shots of Darling Harbor on one of our walks to the ferry:

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    This time we made sure we were back for the ferry in plenty of time. The Captain Cook ferries we used were partly sight-seeing boat, but more transportation, though they did talk about what we were seeing as we drove.
    First we traveled under the Sydney Harbor Bridge:
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    Then by the Opera House
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    This is the view of the SOH that is not as common – the view from the harbor itself. Note that you can see the two different main halls that make up the bulk of the SOH complex. The one on the left is the Symphony Hall, while the one on the right is the Opera Theatre. More to come on the SOH.

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    Next, the ferry stopped at Fort Dennis, an island in the harbor. This stop really didn’t have much to see though, and they charged money to go on the island. The same goes for Shark Island, which has a nice park for a picnic.

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    We mostly stayed on the boat all the way to Watson’s Bay, which is near the entrance to the harbor. It was interesting that the ferry pilot said the boat could not go out of the harbor because of strong currents where the harbor meets the ocean. The thought made me think of the cloudy water that Marlin and Dory encounter in Finding Nemo when entering the harbor.

    (Actually – going slightly OT, but DD and I went to see Finding Nemo 3D a few weeks ago, and it was a kick watching the movie having been to Sydney and seeing the views of the harbor, and trying to figure out exactly where 42 Wallaby Way is located - though it occurred to me that the dentist’s office might not be at 42 Wallaby Way, since you probably don’t write your work address on the back of your scuba goggles.)

    So, the ferry stopped at Watson’s Bay, where we got off for a little walk around. Watson’s Bay is known for Doyle’s Seafood, but we didn’t get anything to eat there. We walked up the hill and across the road to check out the view of the ocean from the Gap Bluff.

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    We saw a few birds in the trees nearby, including several rainbow lorikeets.

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    And this one which is a….I don’t know.

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    One thing that you definitely don’t think about in the US when describing Sydney is “hilly”, but that’s what it is. Looking back across the park back towards Sydney Harbor, we had a great elevated view of the city:

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    We went back and caught the next ferry, swinging back across the harbor.

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    We didn’t get off at the next stop, since it was the Taronga (sp?) Zoo, and it was closing. We did get off at the stop opposite Circular Quay, which is at the other foot of the bridge and near Luna Park.

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    Luna Park is an old-style amusement park modeled after Coney Island that was pretty unimpressive. It actually was kind of cool in its off-fashionedness until you saw that they charged like $10 PER RIDE, or $40 for an all day pass, even though there probably weren’t more than 6-8 total rides.

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    We walked around for a bit, and at the end there was an area called “Coney Island” that was a building with what remains of an old-fashioned fun-house. They charged $10 per person to go in, and so I agreed to go in with DD even though we only had about 40 minutes to check it out. DW stayed outside.

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    Inside there was a sliding floor section, a spinning rotor section (where you sat on this platform and spun around and threw you off), a mirror maze, a barrel roll, and a few big wooden matt slides. In was actually sort of neat, and DD got a serious kick out of it, especially the barrel roll, so I guess worth the money. We had to head back to catch the last ferry though, as we couldn’t afford to miss it. By this time it was starting to get dark, which put it around 5:30 PM.

    One thing I really noticed is that for a long time on this trip we would all get really tired really early. I don’t think it was only the time change, though that might have been the reason early on. I think what it really was was the sudden switch from summer daylight hours to winter daylight hours. When we left home, it was getting dark at almost 10 PM. Now all of a sudden here it was getting dark at 5:30 PM. Our bodies were telling us, “Oh my gosh, it’s late! The sun went down, you better head in for bed!” So by 7 PM for about 2 weeks, we were generally ready to go to sleep, though usually forced ourselves to stay up later.

    Tonight was no different. When we got back to the Rocks, and we were pretty beat. So instead of going out to dinner, I went down to a noodle stand nearby called “Wok On Noodle Shop” and for $30 got dinner for the 3 of us. Nothing special, Chinese stir-fry noodles with various sauces (no pix, sorry) but it was plenty of food and set us up for an early bed-time as it was a pretty busy day!

    This will probably be the last new update this week. I am traveling for work the rest of the week, and have now caught up on my writing, so it probably won't be until at least middle of next week before another new update comes along!

     
  9. cola

    cola Mouseketeer

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    [​IMG]
    The doorway between number 25 and 27 doorways is the passage way to Foundation Park that is so hard to find! ( Foundation Park info here )

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    That's probably a Noisy Miner
     
  10. battymum

    battymum DIS Veteran

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    I have lived in Sydney all my life and never tire of those views - sadly, this is not what I see from my backyard :sad1:

    I am interested to note when you compare the meals as to what you would pay in Buffalo, does that include the tax and tip?

    You also happened to be travelling at a time when the $AUD is at an all time high against the $US,- historically one $AUD would typically be worth about 75c which would have evened things out a bit.

    I dont know whether this is a reflection on the strength of the Australian economy or the weakness of the US - but us Aussie travellers are loving it!
     
  11. battymum

    battymum DIS Veteran

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    Oh - and Luna Park is all we have as far as theme parks go! :confused3

    Which is why we all want to make that trek across the pond ;)

    They are building a Wet n Wild out in the burbs though - we are excited about that!
     
  12. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    $60 for lunch for 3 sounds about right. (And you said that you didn't really have sticker shock! :rotfl:)


    And it looks like we are still asking "Where's Perry?".


    Have a safe business trip. Look forward to your next update.
     
  13. Aussie Wendy

    Aussie Wendy DIS Veteran

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    I agree with Cola-it looks like a Noisy Miner-very garrulous, busy birds, they are prolific in Aus backyards and often can be seen ganging up in large noisy groups to scare away goannas and snakes (after their eggs) or cuckoos or other cannibalistic predatory birds. They are a lot of fun to just watch as they play too.

    Cola has also shared another secret I did not know existed-goody-have to check out Foundation Park next visit! We would have baulked at paying over $20 for fish and chips each as well though being an eat in place=usually dearer than take away. You can get cheaper fish and chips from a place over near the Maritime Museum. I think we paid $12 per person in Jan (take away and sat on the steps looking at the marina) but quality was not as good as our "local".
     
  14. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    You know, after you told us about that park, we really tried to get to it. We figured out where it was, and tried to go around the building on either side to get to it, and we just couldn't figure it out. Never asked anyone, because we were wondering if they would just look at us like we were crazy! I would've never guessed the only way to get to it is THROUGH the building.

    I'll believe the Noisy Miner. I was too lazy to look it up.

    Yeah, I'm including tax and tip. It's not uncommon that you can eat a meal with salad for less than $15 here in buffalo, even tax and tip don't and that much. I go out to lunch with the guys and have a sandwhich and fries and 2 beers and usually less than $20 with tax and tip.

    I wouldn't call Luna Park a "theme" park...unless the theme is "really old amusement park". (Amusement parks calling themselves "theme parks" is a pet peeve of mine...you can't be a theme park without a theme! Sea World's a theme park. Six Flags is not!) It's too bad with such a prime location that someone doesn't go in there and make something nice out of it.

    That seemed like a pretty standard price. I wouldn't say it was "sticker shock" because it was what I expected. It didn't mean it was expensive for us. In the US I would typically expect maybe $30-40 for the 3 of us for lunch (remember, kids meals are typically maybe $5 or $6 in the US.) and perhaps $50-60 (with tax and tip). Our lunches were usually around $50 and dinners $75-85 in Australia, and that wasn't really in "nice" restaurants.

    Still looking for Perry, though!
    There was a little take-away place at the playground that we could've gotten away cheaper, but I wasn't in the mood for eating on a park bench. Maybe had it been later in the trip...but we were sick of restaurants yet.
     
  15. battymum

    battymum DIS Veteran

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    Oops my bad, poor choice of word. Actually the only reason Luna park stays is because of its history, it used to be a works site when they were building the bridge and was gifted to the community on its completion. The local residents have been complaining about it long and loudly for years, even though the park was there long before they moved in. It used to have an old wooden coaster that they forced to close because of the screaming.
     
  16. cola

    cola Mouseketeer

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    Actually the old wooden Big Dipper coaster was dismantled after the Ghost Train fire that killed seven people, before there anyone really complained about noise. They started gutting the park after that, hoping to redevelop it, but there was a huge cry about historic significance and it was eventually saved, but a lot of it was lost. They put in a steel replacement coaster 15 years later, but by that stage there was a lot of new upmarket development around that complained about it and it was eventually pulled out and went to Dreamworld on the Gold Coast. It was funny all the marketing of the blocks of aparments used the view over the historic Luna Park as a plus!
    This gives you an idea of how far it deteriorated after the fire [​IMG]
     
  17. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    No worries...just more me being a pest than anything! Seems like some truths are universal. (Very common here in the united states for people to complain about something that was there when they bought their house, and expect some organization to do something about it.)

    It's really a beautiful location and could make for a lovely little park, but what's there just feels sort of run-down. I suppose its better than that picture shows, though. Yikes - that clown would give anyone nightmares!
     
  18. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

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    Today we didn’t have any early plans. When making our trip plans on the DISboards, one of the helpful DISers, board name “Cola” asked us if we would like her to show us around. Well, we discussed it, but decided “Sure!” I was never expecting her to take us around as much as she did, and she showed us a wonderful time. (I won’t use her real name. And I didn’t realize until afterwards we didn’t get a picture with her, but I wouldn’t share that without her permission anyways.)

    So, while we waited for her to arrive on Saturday morning, we watched a little of the Olympic ceremony and had some breakfast. “Cola” arrived and asked us what we wanted so see, but we didn’t have anything specific. So she listed up some suggestions and off we went.

    We started by driving a wider path around the downtown area than we had previously walked, we then headed over to Botanical Gardens for another view of the harbor. Here we sat at Mrs McQuarry’s Chair…a rock outcropping where the first governor of Australia had a seat carved for his wife so she could sit overlooking the harbor. (Probably contemplating being stuck half-way around the world from home!) Asian tourists were all over the place, but we got a few shots of us at the chair.

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    Looking off to the east, this is Wooloomooroo Bay and the naval shipyard.

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    Back to the West, yet another view of the SOH and SHB.

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    We then swung by “Hospital Row” where the original Sydney hospital still stands. I thought this was pretty neat, as you can certainly see the English colonial influence here in the design.

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    We did some additional touring of neighborhoods along the harbor, and then eventually made our way out along the coast. “Cola” stopped at this one park that had an awesome view of the city.

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    Imagine taking your kid out for a play with this view!

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    We then headed along the coast to famous Bondi Beach. (At least, famous enough that we had heard of it.) It was surprising how the beach is really just in the middle of the city.

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    I suppose this is similar to Los Angeles beaches, and even Miami Beach, but I don’t think of beautiful beaches being smack dab in a city! It was real huge as beaches go (again thinking of LA) but it certainly was pretty. Being as it was only in the low 60s, it was not exactly beach weather unless you count surfers.

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    DD had no problem at all digging in.

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    Next up we headed through more of the outskirts of the city and stopped for lunch at this little café/meat pie shop. For those reading from America, meat pies are an Australian food staple that I would liken to “fast-food” not unlike how we have “hamburger” stands. A meat pie really reminded me of what in America we would call a Pot-pie, though pot-pie usually is chicken and potatoes and gravy, the meat-pies were more beef based and were not unlike having some beef stew baked into a pot-pie. I didn’t take any pictures of our lunch, as the restaurant was crowded and we were stressed to get a table. It was a great taste of local cuisine though, and something I always enjoy when visiting unfamiliar areas. (We also split a sausage roll, which I didn’t find as good, as it had a ground up kind of fatty sausage in it.) DD had a slice of pizza, as she wouldn’t try the meat pies.

    We moved to the south of Sydney, and unfortunately my notes don’t go over the specifics of the route, so I’m hoping what I miss, maybe Cola can chime in!

    We skirted around Botany Bay, which as any good Star Trek fan would know was the original landing place of the prisoners of the First Fleet. (The two words are forever linked into my brain hearing Chekov say: “Botany Bay. Botany Bay.") We then headed down through what a perusal of Google Maps would indicate to be the “Royal National Park”. This was our first view of the gum trees and scrub brush of the “bush”, which looks remarkably the same throughout Australia. As we moved through the park we eventually got out to the coast and some gorgeous views.

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    There was a hotel/restaurant that we stopped at for a quick snack that was super-scenic, but I neglected to take pictures nor note the name. We continued on down across this bridge that went along the cliff, and then down to Woolongong, which I think you can see in the above pictures. We needed to stop for a bottle of saline, which ended up being the single largest sticker shock item of our entire trip. The saline for our contacts was like $21 for a 500ml bottle! That same bottle at home would’ve been maybe $6, so about a 350% mark-up! I guess I know what I’ll be bringing to sell to pay for the trip if we ever go back again!

    At this same time, DW found a bakery where she could get a slice of Lammington, an Australian dessert that consists of a spongy-cake, covered in a chocolate frosting and sprinkled with Coconut. (I will have a picture of one later.) I have to say, though I am not a big fan of coconut, this was super-yummy.

    The decision was made, at Cola’s suggestion, to track down Belmore Falls, which was REALLY out in the middle of nowhere! It took probably an hour or so more driving to get there, but the drive and the views were really spectacular. The road at the end turned into a dirt road, and I was a little nervous that Cola was taking us out to chop us up and bury us. (Just kidding, Cola! We had actually spent so much of the drive talking by this point that it felt like we were already good friends. But remember, according to American TV, every fifth person is a serial killer, so that’s sort of where my mind wanders.)

    It was getting towards dusk by the time we got there and so the light was getting sort of flat, it was a short few hundred meters walk to the falls as well as over to a scenic overlook, so I only got a couple pictures of the falls.

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    We headed back to Sydney after that, which took a LONG time, I’m going to say a little over two hours, and we stopped to eat at a place called the “Southern Cross”. This was our first experience with the Australian restaurants “order at the bar” which was very common in taverns and pubs, where you go up to the bar to place your food order, you are given a number, and your order comes to your table when its ready. We in America call this “Ponderosa”-style. (OK, not really, but Ponderosa is the best example of this I can think in the US.) The service here was sort of slow, I think partly because there was a big table nearby. We sat and talked and watch what I have since determined as being Rugby on the telly. (I thought at the time it might Australian rules football, but have since learned otherwise.) We had a nice meal, though I can’t specifically remember what everyone had. ( I think Cola had the steak, and I had like greek soulkavi with fries or something.) Pricing was fairly inexpensive, as my notes say $81.20 when converted to US currency for the four of us.

    After dinner, Cola drove us back to the hotel through a trendy district I can’t remember the name of (King’s Cross maybe?) and by now it wasn’t super late, maybe 8 PM, but we were bushed. It had been a long day of driving, and I imagine Cola was even more tired than I as I didn’t do the driving, but we had a really great day and got to see a parts of Sydney and the surroundings that we never would have been able to. Cola, I hope you liked the “Carsland” pin, I really feel like you deserved so much more for all you did for us!
     
  19. battymum

    battymum DIS Veteran

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    Wow, that was a huge day!

    Its amazing how much ground you can cover when you are a tourist with limited time.!

    Dont worry about the axe murderers, they are all on the subway in NYC! :rotfl:
     
  20. miss.potatohead

    miss.potatohead Mouseketeer

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    Wow great photos! I definitely have to get 'up north' and go check out New South Wales ;) Kings Cross is pretty shady at night, from what I've heard you wouldn't want to be walking down there alone at night!
     
  21. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    That's a great day, and wonderful pictures to back up the memories.

    Thanks Cola - way to go for showing Aussie hospitality!! (Even if you did drive them out along a dirt road and all that!).
     

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