Sydney - Featherdale Wildlife Park and the Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains, New South Wales
I have been putting off writing this blog post for far too long, mainly because I know it's impossible for me to put into words how great this day was. But I have procrastinated long enough and I'm going to try and do it justice.
While the Blue Mountains trip had seemed like a good idea at the time of booking, after only 5 hours of sleep and a 2 hour bus journey to look forward too, you could see why we were a bit apprehensive.
Nevertheless it was an absolutely brilliant day and would recommend it to anyone in Sydney. It was well worth the money!
An hour into the journey we stopped off at Featherdale Wildlife Park which is my favourite place I have been so far. It was a very new experience for me to see animals I had never seen before in my life, and after seeing a wombat within 1 minute of entering the park, I knew it was going to be exciting.
I got very distracted by the cuteness of the wombat and I can still only describe it as something you just want to squidge - even with the 'we bite' sign. From the notes we made on the day it also seems I said I wanted to pop it in my pocket, but Mikaela has helpfully made a comment that they aren't remotely pocket sized.
Our attention was then drawn to a tiny kangaroo/wallaby (we're still not sure) that was hopping around our feet. Since there was only one, no one was sure it was supposed to be out, but as we walked further through the exhibits of exotic animals we saw more and more of them hopping about freely.
Next came the Koala section, where I slightly hyperventilated because they're basically just teddy bears in trees!! We were pleasantly surprised by how many of them were awake - we were well aware of the stereotype that they sleep all day - and so we took full advantage by taking a ridiculous number of photos.
After the excitement of the Koalas I didn't think it could get much better but the next exhibit was full of about 20 little kangaroos/wallabies hopping around. By this time I was bored of just looking at them and once I saw someone else approach one to stroke I decided I would brave it too. Then I fell in love.
I spent what seemed like hours feeding, stroking, and taking selfies with the cuties, falling particularly in love with one I named Kevin. He was very chilled about me stroking him and even posed for some brilliant photos. I would still be there now if it wasn't for Mikaela finally dragging me away, reminding me I hadn't seen half of the animals yet and no I couldn't take Kevin with me.
Although nothing could compare to the kangaroos/wallabies, we did see a huge range of other Australian animals, some of which I would very much like to never see again.
We saw some more fairy penguins up close, though we didn't feel as attached to them as the ones in St Kilda - probably because we didn't wait 2 hours to finally see them.
Next we saw Tasmanian devils which looked like tiny evil pigs who never stopped running around in circles (very like when my dogs have a mad five minutes).
Other animals included emus (bit boring), echidnas (look them up, they're so weird), a crocodile that was a new level of terrifying and some dingoes (if you didn't read dingoes in the strongest Australian accent you didn't do it right).
While some animals were clearly very dangerous, the dingoes seemed particularly calm around people. Although the zookeepers said they weren't very domesticated, that didn't stop her from picking them up like babies when they tried to get out. Very mixed signals if you ask me.
Now, one animal I want to tell you a story about is the Southern cassowary. When Mikaela and I saw it, the first thing I said was I wanted to be as far away from it as possible. Apparently I was right. Our tour guide told us a story about a lady who saw one in the wild and stood near it while her husband took a photo. It didn't take too kindly to her being so close so it clawed her to the point that her intestines were on the outside of her body. Another time a man's dog was barking loudly outside their house and when he went out to see what it was he saw a Southern Cassowary. The man knew how dangerous they were so he went to get his dog away but when he picked his dog up, the Cassowary came over and ripped him apart with his claws. So for future reference, if you ever see a Southern Cassowary, run.
Next we made our way on the bus to the Blue Mountains. The scenery was so spectacular that we didn't even mind the 2 hour walk - especially when we saw the waterfalls and look-out points.
Along the way our guide taught us a lot about the history, geography and aboriginal traditions associated with the Blue Mountains, making the whole experience even more complete. We particularly enjoyed when he made sandstone paste and gave our group tribal stripes on our faces for the hike.
As we were walking back up, we came across a tiny hole in the ground which our guide informed us was a funnel spider hole (one of the deadliest spiders in the world), and once he realised the spider was indeed home, we swiftly kept walking.
Although the walk back up was very hot and tiring, we didn't want to stop for too long as the Danish boys in our group also saw a red-bellied black snake hiding in the bushes, to which our leader said 'if it's brown or black, stay well back'. It's safe to say we obeyed this rule.
Once we got to the top we drove to have lunch at the three sisters' lookout in katoomba. We were again told another story, this time it was the aboriginal creation story for the three sisters' rock formation (it was quite a long story, with drawings, so you'll have to ask me in person if you want to know!).
Last on our agenda was a walk down very steep steps in the oldest rainforest in the world to a miner's railroad. From here we got to take a very steep train back up which was a nice adrenalin rush at the end of the day.
Sadly our day was over and we got the bus back to Sydney, deciding to get Dominos for dinner and go to bed, because we were too drained to do anything else!