This was my final day in Sydney, and it began with a sad goodbye. At around 7am, I headed up to the Burtons’ hotel room to say farewell. Here they all are:


They were soon going to be checking out and driving back to their home in Newcastle.

Meanwhile, I had to rush to this bus terminal . . .


. . . to catch my ride for an all-day tour to the Blue Mountains.

The journey started by crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge . . .


. . . and continued for 45 minutes on various highways. I happened to be sitting in the front passenger seat, and on the way, I noticed this:


In case you can’t tell, that’s the tour guide/driver READING HIS NOTES WHILE DRIVING.

Our first stop was in a town called Leura. It was rainy and dreary and quaint, and I didn’t do much. I wandered into a few stores, collected some business cards, got some food, and eventually made my way back to the bus.

The next stop was better . . . in theory. We went to a place called Scenic World, but the weather kinda wrecked it. Here’s what it looked like as I headed toward a cable car . . .


. . . and this was the view from the cable car itself:



I could tell that it was supposed to be spectacular, so it was annoying not to be able to experience it at its best.

Next up, I waited on this line . . .


. . . for a ride on one of the world’s steepest railways. Once again, it had great potential, but the weather wasn’t cooperating. This was the lame view:


After that, I took a stroll on a walkway in the forest.

What was the weather doing?



But there were still some glimpses of the natural beauty:


Then I rode another cable car back up the mountain . . .


. . . and had a pretty good lunch in the food court:


That’s fish and chips, but more importantly, take a look at the ketchup:


Tomato sauce?!
Ha ha ha.

After Scenic World, I got back on the bus and headed with my tour group to the most scenic lookout spot of all. The next photo, taken in a nearby gift shop, shows what the Blue Mountains are *supposed* to look like:


As you can imagine, I wasn’t too happy when I made it to that exact spot, only to see the valley smothered with fog.

Here’s how I was feeling at that point:


By the time I left, the view had improved a bit . . .


. . . but the whole tour was feeling like a big waste of time.

Here’s where we went next:


Great . . . another effin’ zoo. Just what I needed.

It was raining so hard that even the kangaroos were taking shelter wherever they could find it:


I did enjoy watching some teeny penguins scurry around:


I also enjoyed getting to hold an owl . . .


. . . and bonding with a koala . . .


. . . so the zoo actually turned out to be pretty good.

Back on the bus, I got a quick glimpse of Sydney Olympic Park . . .


. . . on the way to this wharf:


Twenty minutes later, I was on a boat . . .


. . . heading to downtown Sydney.

The boat passed some gorgeous waterfront homes:


I wonder how much those places are worth — several million dollars apiece?

This was the view from the back of the boat:


Eventually we approached the Sydney Harbour Bridge and opera house:


Check out this humongous cruise ship that was docked nearby:


When I got off the boat, my plan was simple: walk and walk and then walk some more. My shoes were soggy, but at least it wasn’t raining, and since this was going to be my last night in Sydney, I wanted to see as much of it as possible. And yes, I know I didn’t really “experience” it any more than tourists who experience New York City by wandering around Times Square for an hour, but whatever. I did what I could.

I had heard that George Street was THE street, so here’s where I started:


I decided to walk toward Sydney University, which was several miles away, because it was near my hotel. I figured I’d walk for a while and then jump in a cab to make it the rest of way.

I saw some pretty architecture, like the Queen Victoria Building:


I also saw (and loved seeing) some mundane stuff, like this subway station:


I liked NOT knowing anyone or anything — being halfway across the world and on my own to do whatever the hell I wanted.

Here’s something I didn’t want:


That pizza might’ve been worse than the crap I’d gotten on 3/23/14 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. What’s with Australia and pizza? There needs to be an intervention.

A little while later, I passed some sort of weapon store:


I guess those were antiques — but good luck getting one on an airplane.

Here’s the coolest thing I saw all day:


That apartment building has the world’s tallest vertical garden, and as for that crazy-looking illuminated square sticking out to the side . . . that’s some sort of art/light installation, which just so happens to create shade during the day.

(But Australia still has bad pizza!)

I kept walking . . .


. . . and eventually found myself here:



I had no idea how far I’d walked, but it must’ve been quite far because I’d been on the move for hours. I finally made it back to my hotel, feeling somewhat disappointed and yet satisfied with how my day had turned out. I had awful luck with the weather, but still managed to have a pretty interesting time.


  1. Leigh Barratt

    Sorry about your Blue Mountains trip. We went out there on the Friday before the first baseball game and it was a BEAUTIFUL day. We basically went to the same places you did, except it was SUNNY. Ha ha. We really enjoyed the Featherdale Animal Park too. You are very correct about the pizza situation. Come to think of it, the food in Sydney sucked in general pretty much every place we went. They could have done a much much MUCH better job at the Sydney Cricket Grounds with the food. Oh well. Maybe in four years it will be better? Nice post……

  2. Ray Burton

    Zack , I thought I’d done a better teaching job in Australian Wildlife 101. That’s not an owl , it’s a Tawny Frogmouth and its technically a member of the Nightjar family of birds. Sorry to see you got such awful weather in the Blue Mountains. The 3 Sisters lookout is beautiful when the sun is out.

  3. Nick

    Hey Zack! Just wondering if you will be at the Yankee-Red Sox game tomorrow night? i always saw you in left field last year, are you mixing it up this year?

  4. Zack Hample

    Yeah, ha ha. Maybe you’ll show me your photos someday. But wait, what’s this talk about “four years”?

    I don’t know if you’re joking, but the zookeeper lady told me it was an owl. As far as I’m concerned, the three sisters can go screw themselves.

    Nope. I’m not sure when I’ll be back there. Maybe Sunday. Maybe Tuesday. Maybe never. I really hate it. Not sure which side of the field I’ll be on.

    . . . or worst.

  5. Ray Burton

    Who are you going to believe ? Some random unqualified girl at a wildlife park or an experienced ornithologist and long- term bird photographer. Google ” Tawny Frogmouth–Podargus strigoides “. I get dozens brought into work every year and we have a family of 3 that regularly perch in the tree outside Nick’s room upstairs. Sorry to be anal retentive on the subject but I hate ” wildlife experts ” that mis-identify species when they are supposed to be educating people. Especially the common ones. It’s like me calling Chase Utley., Ryan Howard . Apologies , I”ll calm down now.

  6. Ray Burton

    And that’s a very very long walk from the harbour to the Quest . No muggers or crackheads either. Ironically , the University end of George street is called ” Broadway “. Not that it bears much resemblance to the original.

  7. Levi R

    Damn, I’m sorry about the weather at Katoomba. It’s pretty nice as long as the weather complies. At the very least, you reminded me of my experience there. Can’t wait to see an entry of a game in the States

  8. Zack Hample

    Good point. I should never ever EVER doubt you when it comes to animals. I mean, I wasn’t suggesting that you were wrong so much as defending the reason why I said it was an owl that I was holding. I just googled it, and wow . . . okay. You win. I don’t think Chase Utley would ever be confused for Ryan Howard. John Mayberry versus Domonic Brown, however . . .

    What? Are you seeing something in the “weapons” photo that I missed?

    LEVI R-
    Thanks for understanding my frustration. Within the next day or two, I’ll probably blog about the Phillies game I attended on April 8th.

  9. jere80

    No, that awesome little (what I assume is a) Tasmanian Devil on the sign, with horns and a tail, and a pitchfork which he’s using as an umbrella.

  10. ditroia78

    Australia has great pizza, but you were in the wrong place. You should have gone to a cafe or restaurant. Australians have won worlds best pizza several times.

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