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:
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:
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.