My last few days in Australia were spent enjoying the city that had not attracted me first time round, Sydney. Staying in a different area closer to the centre helped and allowed me to see more of what normal Sydney life was like. I had been recommened to visit the Blue Mountains and did not think I would have time as it normally would be a day outing but I realised that if I caught a train, even though it would take 2 hours to get there, I would be able to spend at least a few hours in the mountains. It was definitely worth it.
The train stopped in Katoomba and it was from here that I got to view the Mountains. I bought a bus pass to take me around the main sites, including the Three Sisters. From here you can overlook the valley which stretched for miles and dense with rainforest. Looming at the back were majestic mountains cloaked in swirling cloud. I walked from the Three Sisters on a winding path, in parts covered in water, to a cable car which stretched across the Jamison valley and with a glass bottom allowing you to see how dense the forest is. As I did not have much time here, I just sat on the bus taking in the major sights along the way. I would have liked to have walked more here and it is certainly a place to come back to.
Following my return from the Mountains, I was able to spend the evening catching up with an old friend, Liz, who is spending the next two years in Australia. Again much chatting was involved, as well as both of us being able to relieve our frustrations with Australia. She made me realise how lucky I was to have worked in Airlie Beach and taken the opportunities there. It appears that if you come into Australia on a year working visa it is hard to find 'career' employment and, in fact, casual jobs are the main options. Employers will not hire you as you can only work for them for 6 months and therefore are not a long term prospective.
My final day in Australia was preparing for finally leaving it after 4 months. I met a uni friend, Abbie, for lunch who has managed to make Australia and in particular Syndey, work for her. It was nice to catch up and I was able to see what North Sydney was like. I had planned on going to Manly but ran out of time so looked around Circular Quay and the Botanical Gardens some more. The weather was perfect, making the city seem very appealing, especially in the gardens. It made me feel very positive about Sydney which was a great note to end on.
The last evening was spent at the Opera. I made the effort and dressed up in one of my lovely dresses made in Vietnam. I even put some make up on! As it was a lovely evening I walked to the Opera House taking in the last few sights. Unfortunately, as I was crossing to the House I felt something hit my chest. I thought some kids had thrown something at me and looked down, only to realise a stupid seagull had decided to go to the toilet mid air and the projection was just so that it could hit me. Slightly embarrassed and not at all amused I had to rush to the toilets to wash it off. Luckily there was no stain and I could carry on the evening.
The rest went well. A lovely glass of wine took me in to the performance of Peter Grimes. This was quite a dark opera, based on the story of a fisherman who after losing his first apprentice to illness is under the suspicion of the villagers who believed he murdered him. Whether Grimes is truly to blame or not is part of the opera, but the villagers subsequent actions lead him to madness. Grimes gets a second apprentice and again the apprentice dies in also a seemling innocent accident. The opera certainly questions the impact society can have on an individual. It was a good opera but did not quite have the flair, as it was not in Italian. The Opera House performed to standard and it was a real treat to end my Australian experience.
Several months later than planned, I was finally leaving Oz and heading to New Zealand. I have met some amazing people in Oz and I will be sorry not to see them again soon. However, Australia as a country did not really grab me. It was a lot about the beaches, much flashpacking and a little bit too American for me. Hopefully New Zealand will be different.