On our third day, we took a bus to Bondi Beach.
A beach that is packed in the summer is pretty much limited to the odd tourist and surfers in the fall.
We spent some time walking around the area, which has a mix of surf shops and cute locally-run shops (e.g., used bookstore, cafe, pet store, etc.) and beautiful homes that will set you back at least a couple million, each.
I read that Hurricane's Grill & Bar is the place to go on Bondi Beach. Although their restaurant isn't open as much in the off season, they did have a take out stand, next door. So we ordered our ribs and ate them on the beach.
Their ribs are goooood! Lots of bbq sauce, tender and filling.
Only problem was the crazy-aggressive birds that harass you for food.
After stuffing ourselves full of ribs, we walked along a path that takes you to various beaches.
The next day, we took a train to the Blue Mountains, named for the colour that is produced by the eucalyptus tree oil. I spent, what seemed like forever, debating between an organized bus tour or just taking a train. We decided to do the latter since organized tours seems to have mixed reviews and we didn't have any major goals for the Blue Mountains, aside from seeing the Three Sisters and doing some hiking.
We trained to Katoomba and walked (a couple of kilometers) to the Three Sisters. Seemed reasonable, until we realized how freaking cold it is there. I think I underestimated the warnings about the temperature difference in Katoomba. Bring warm clothes (sweater, jacket, mitts, toque/hat, etc.). R ended up buying a hoodie to wear under his rain jacket.
But, when life hands you
lemons cold weather, drink hot chocolate.
At first, I thought it was a cold-induced mirage.
me: Does that sign say chocolate?!?
R: Probably not
10 steps closer
me: No, seriously, I think it says chocolate. OMG - it says chocolate! I bet you there's hot chocolate.
Not just any hot chocolate, Blue Mountain Chocolate Company serves real hot chocolate. Truth be told, I would have bought a cup even if it entailed pressing a plastic red button to get hot chocolatey sludge in a cup. But, this stop was exactly what we need to recharge our batteries and convince us that it was wise to walk across town rather than take the tourist bus that takes you from the train to the Three Sisters. The slices of pie were also delicious.
After our stop, things were looking up. Turns out that the chocolate shop is very close to the Three Sisters.
Here they are, the famous Three Sister rock formation.
I figured that the Blue Mountains had an unfair disadvantage, in our eyes, seeing as we had recently come from New Zealand, which has some of the most amazing mountain views in the world. But, there are nice views to be had and various hiking trails.
After a few pictures, we walked toward Scenic World, taking pictures along the way.
I was a bit skeptical about Scenic World. Something about the name made me think that it was going to be cheesy. But, it was actually a pretty good tourist site. They have several different "experiences" for visitors to partake in. One of which is the Scenic Railway, the steepest train in the world.
I love the signs in Australia and New Zealand -- much less formal that the stuffy (usually government issued) signs you see in Canada. Yet, it did make me wonder what I was getting myself into.
Here's a video of our ride of the Scenic Railway. For your viewing pleasure, I've cut out the cursing.
At the bottom of the railway, there is a network of paths that take you through the vegetation and mining history in the area.
Back at the top of the railway, there are a variety of wild parrots, who return to this site to be hand-fed by tourists with endless handfuls of bird food.
Stay tuned for Sydney Part 3!