• Mags Rafael-Salvador

Winter in Sydney too

Updated: Apr 29

Mid part of our travel journey in Sydney we discover more destinations and had a close encounter with nature and animals you can only find in Australia.

Day 6 – Blue Mountains, Katoomba, NSW

Seems as though the weather is getting better, meaning a temperature lower than yesterday in Sydney. Road trip to Blue Mountains within 30 to 40 minutes as it’s nearer Kingswood than in Sydney. We stopped by at Lincoln’s Rock a huge flat rock platform with a lovely view of the Blue Mountains and spectacular rock formation on top overlooking bluish green fields and cliffs. The wind is pretty strong and there are no railings, so please be very careful especially if with kids, ‘twas freezing when we went there but it didn’t stop us to have fun and take all the photos we can possibly get because of its panoramic view and creating travel stories which would be an Instagram envy.

Few more minutes’ drive to Blue Mountains, we stopped at Echo Point. There are a lot of options how you want to explore Blue Mountains. We opted to take the simpler route and just enjoy the scenery. Quite photogenic this place in all angles. There at Echo Point proudly stand the Three Sisters – Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedo as they call it. A rock formation in the shape of three summits, this touristy spot is wrapped in Aboriginal legend. The locals say the three sisters were forbidden to marry by their Father even if there were three brothers who fell in love with them. The young men came from Nepean tribe so they were forbidden to marry the three sisters. As the young men planned to capture the three sisters, a witch doctor in Katoomba tribe turned the three sisters into stones to protect them from harm. I am not even sure if this holds true, but its fun listening to legendary tales.

A lot of good view, though for the best view of Three Sisters, I suggest you head to the lower back, called Queen Elizabeth Lookout – it provides the best vantage point for photos. If you’re feeling active and in good health, you can do 15 to 30 minutes walk depending on your pace to the first sister, but please be prepared for loads of stairs to climb. We ate lunch at the cafeteria, it offers wide range of meals from pasta, chicken and pork meals and fish and chips as well. There are cable cars and other sights to finish but I think the kids would want to settle down and rest the rest of the afternoon so we head back to Kingswood. Remember, whichever Blue Mountains adventure you choose to do, remember the terrain is steep and you should be well suited with the most comfortable and sturdy shoes on.

Day 7 – Featherdale Wildlife and Parks, Ikea and Lindt chocolate outlet store

We finally got the chance to meet kangaroos and koalas. The weather is not cooperating but we feel that this is the day we need to get out and explore, because we only have 3 more days before leaving Sydney. We visited Ikea as first stop, goodness how huge the store is complete with model houses and bits and parts of all the rooms you can imagine. Although shopping would be bulky if we buy for our home in Manila, it didn’t stop us from buying lamp shades, plastic plates and cups and cute little kangaroo and koala stuff toys. Thumbs up for this Ikea Store, hopefully it opens soon in Manila! Just a few meters away from Ikea is the Lindt Chocolate Outlet store, so we thought of buying these chocolates instead of Cadbury to take back in Manila and share with our family and friends. Good buy, a lot more discounted than what’s offered in grocery or malls.

An hour drive took us to Featherdale Wildlife Park, a premiere wildlife experience awaits us and we’re all excited. Featherdale is home to the largest collection of Australia’s native animals in the world. Even the rains can’t stop us but the thunder and lightning did ha-ha! We had to stop sometimes to give way to the lightning. While in the park we were welcomed by a number of kangaroos, we all had dried grass on our cups that we can offer to feed them. At first, they were quite hesitant but upon seeing our hands full with their munchies they became friendly and hungry. Kangaroos were all over and sometimes you get two of them sharing 1 cup on your hands and it looks cute. Further walking in the parks brings us to some ducks, birds and of course the koalas. Sadly, due to bed-weather, they were all sleepy. Bonus is having a close encounter with them. I initially didn’t want to touch a Koala because my hands were freezing and the koala might wake but the park attendant told me their furs are so thick, they can barely feel the coldness of winter. So, I let my ands linger longer and as expected they were so cute and huge as compared to our tarsiers in Bohol. I wanted to carry and hug them but I didn’t try because they looked heavy.

The park is well maintained, how I wish we have these in the Philippines as well. The rest of the park features a lot of other animals such as crocodiles, snakes, dogs, and bats. There is also a kitchen café and a souvenir center where I got numerous ref magnets to add on my collection :-) .

Day 8 & 9 - Pasalubong shopping, more Sydney sights we missed the first two days and Madame Tussauds

As the days grew near our scheduled return to Manila, some last minute shopping and sightseeing is well on its way. We went to grocery stores and malls (Coles/ Westfield) for Aussie goodies that you barely find in Manila. One thing that’s a must have is Mocha Kenya coffee, I love this coffee so we hoarded some for our caffeine supply the next few months. More chocolates, this time Cadbury and Tim Tam take-away and cheese which is surprisingly good if coming from Australia.

Last day was spent in Darling Harbor and meeting iconic superstars at Madame Tussauds. Walk the red carpet, experience the glitz and glam with these celebrities, there’s no need to dress up though since there are costumes and props all over that you can use while picture taking. And as excited as the kids were, we all had our hands waxed for a fee. It took almost 30 minutes finishing three pairs, the kids had their right hand waxed and me & my husband did a “holding hands” pose and even got a Madam Tussauds emblem at the base of the finished hand wax. It was great, but we had a challenge bringing it as we needed to hand carry them.

10th day, bound for Manila from Sydney airport. All in all the ten days proved to be meaningful, experiential and rather oh so short. Although we were not able to visit other parts of Australia, this would definitely be a thing to look forward to as we put Melbourne and Brisbane as next stop going back to the land down under. Oh, and remember our hand wax? surprise surprise - being in a tropical country the hand wax collapsed after a week in Manila, goodbye to a few Aussie dollars huhuhu. Lesson learned, don’t get excited and never have your hand wax if you don’t have an 18 degrees room to display it in.

My take on travels, do it once in a while, discover more, live life and let travel take you to places you only read in books or see in movies. Make the journey yours, and keep it going :-).

#BlueMountains #ThreeSisters #Katoomba #FeatherdaleWildlife #MadameTussauds #Sydney #Manila #wanderer #journey #landdownunder

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