A Travellerspoint blog

Trips from Sydney

Featherdale Wildlife park, Botanic Gardens and North Head

all seasons in one day 28 °C

Sorry I vanished for a while, but after uploading too many photos I used up our internet allowance and had to wait for a new month before I risked doing anything else. So its been a while which means I have actually done a few trips since the last update.

The first was a trip to Featherdale Wildlife Park in Blacktown. Had to take the train out there and I know nothing about the area but after being there for about 5 minutes had decided it wasn't a great area. A drunk guy was kicking and punching the front of a Muffin stand and the guy sat next to us (Me and Hayley my housemate) at the bus stop explained how he was on his way home after getting out of prison. But the Wildlife park was a lovely day out. There were lots of Koalas (not bears - must remember that Gemma) sleeping and you even got to touch one - they felt like a sheep with matted wool, but were very cute

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There were Kangaroos everywhere which you could feed, the little ones were very cute indeed. The bigger ones seemed more interested in eating my camera which resulted in some funny photos

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There were lots of other native animals around, but as hard as I looked I couldn't see the Tasmanian Devils. Wombats on the other hand were nothing like I thought they'd be. Rather like a large potato.

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There were some flying foxes there too, but to see them in the wild you just need to go to the Botanic Gardens. They are everywhere and really loud. There are about 20000 of them in a really small area next to the harbour front and they annoy each other by hitting their neighbour when they stretch their wings in their sleep.

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The trees have started to flower and the purple one is particularly stunning, I just don't know what its called

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I have also walked over the bridge (not the bridge climb thats a tad expensive) so just over to the north side. I only mention this because the views back to the city were pretty cool, but also because the photo show how windy it is.

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The weather here is lovely during the week, really hot and I get to sit in a lab with a broken air con, then the weekend comes and the clouds come over the wind picks up and the rain falls, just like the UK.

So with this weekends rather dismal weather I decided to drag Tim (friend from undergrad days) and Hayley to North Head. I thought I'd learn about the convict past of Australia. So off we went to Manly on the ferry and then walked along the coast. It was all a bit stormy and we walked through precious scrub (only 3% of it still exsists) land to reach the Military Museum. On the way we found gun pits numbers 3 and 4. They were well holes in the ground with cubby holes where I guess weapons were kept, but there was a lack of info

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Finally we found the gatehouse and behind that a parade ground and a gun park (well what else do you do with all those guns??). There were signs everywhere telling us to watch out for Bandicoots but we saw none so I suspect they have stolen all the guns and are planning an invasion somewhere :)

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So I still haven't found a hockey team, so just have to stick with running for now. All the honours students have now finished and so the lab is even quieter. So I have introduced the lab to lablablabbylablab. Still no radios allowed so we used a laptop and I hoped to convert them to the world of cheese. Would you believe that it went down quite well. Chesney Hawkes didn't make it this far but they seemed to quite like "I am the one and only", who ever doubted the universal appeal of the worlds greated CD should reconsider.

So what else has happened? Worked lots, oh yeah there was a fire alarm last friday which resulted in us being evacuated at 5.45 and not being able to get back in until nearly 7pm. There actually was a fire and the hazmat team had to be called. Most people upped and left, but me being me I had left my keys in the lab and therefore had to wait. Moral of the story is that I will be keeping my keys with me at all times from now on. Oh and once this Sydney blog finishes in March I'll be able to keep it going in Singapore.

Posted by gt248 15.11.2008 20:35 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Wentworth Falls

Blue Mountains outing

sunny 22 °C

I wasn't exactly sure who this Wentworth character was, but there is a park named after him and the student union is called the Wentworth building so I figured that a hike to see the falls named after him would be a good outing for tourist saturday. So off I headed to the blue mountains on the train. I learnt the falls (and the town ) are named after William Charles Wentworth, one of the men that headed the exploration to cross the blue mountains in 1813, important fellow - they're bound to be good falls

It takes a couple of hours to get there on the train, I was quite happy asleep on the train till an old guy sat opposite me and thought it would be fun to guess my name. I told him it began with a G and 20 minutes later I am pretty sure we had gone through all possible names (except for Gemma), he then told me everything you ever wanted to know about trains (he was off to the train museum). Brilliant. He also asked if I was still at school and told me I'd get lost and that he'd see me on the news having to be rescued. I had figured the walk would be well signposted and fairly tricky to get lost, but now I wasn't so sure.

Anyway the town of Wentworth Falls appeared and off I got. Following my map I found the start of the Charles Darwin walk, so called because Charles Darwin was so inspired by the falls that he hitched a horse and rode out there a couple of times.

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I suspect its a little less overgrown than when he went as the path is well signposted and when rough boards are put down to walk on. The hike follows the Jamison creek and was pretty quiet and peaceful. Even spotted a skink sunning itself in the path

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I walked through bush, following the small stream (how does this feed a huge waterfall???) for about an hour eagerly expecting the waterfall

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when I walked round the corner and saw

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This can't be it - can it. I'd walked as far as my map said and to be fair thought it was pretty small. So I decided to keep going - I could always retrace my steps should I ge lost. Going down a couple of steps the trees cleared and gave a stunning vew across the valley (I began to think the falls must go to the bottom so there must be more to these falls than the small cascade I'd just seen).

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Indeed there was more waiting for me. There is a pretty little fall which makes the top section with a pool of water collecting at the bottom (nice to cool off your feet) and then you could hear them.

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I climed down several steps (many many many of them, it took a while and as usual I passed a lot of people going in the other direction). The middle section of the falls was stunning and the light was hitting it at the right angle to make it look like more water was flowing over than there actually was

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I decided to walk the national pass track and spend a few hours in the valley, then climb out the other side and come back by the overthe cliff track. So off I went, you could see the lower secion of the fall, but to get there was a steep set of stairs that are enclosed to stop you falling off backwards, I decided I really shouldn't do that on my own, so am saving it for another day. I stopped at the top of the stairs to lunch, looking over the falls and with a couple of sulfur crested cockatoos for company

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The walk was really pleasant, mostly in the shade so protecting me from the sun, sometimes there was a rail to stop you going over the edge, other times a path somehow cut out of the rock

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The stairs to the top went up through (in places) Vera Falls. It seemed to take a long time to get to the top and I was beginning to wonder whether that was why everyone was doing it in the other direction. But once I hurled myself back to the top I discovered the track I was going to take was closed. Brilliant!! But the shortcut track was open so off I went. I even spotted a parrott so it was worht changing my plan slight

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This path then became the undercliff track which I had planed on doing which involved going under the cliff (well ducking a lot). But the track went down hill the whole way, I was beginning to think, no more steps please when I came out at the top of te falls. Really pleasant walk and pretty good waterfalls (won't beat Kaieteur but then waterfalls now have a lot to live up to).

I know that I was told off for mentioning the weather but I am British and don't know what else to talk about. I do however think this will make you laugh. I am not sure if you saw on the BBC news this week about the freak weather that has hit Australia. Well it snowed in the Blue Mountains and lots of people were without power in Brisbane due to a thunderstorm. Anyway my house has no heating and because it had been hot I had only bought a thin blanket for my bed. So I was shivering under that sleeping in my think coat, jogging bottoms and hockey socks!! I also had an interview (no idea how it went) over skype while wrapped in a blanket. I figured he'd never know until he asked me to turn on the webcam. I looked somewhat stupid! Oh well we'll see how it went.

Stay well

Love Gem

Posted by gt248 24.10.2008 23:39 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Manly Walk

Water Dragons

sunny 26 °C

Firstly appologies for not discussing the dolphins enough last week, but first as promised here are some pictures of the university. Guess which building is Chemistry???

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Another Saturday and another gentle amble around Sydney, full of wildlife although not as exciting as the Dolphins to be fair. This time I got the ferry to Manly and decided to walk back to a place called spit point. The ferry ride was pretty cool, stunning views of the opera house and bridge, complete with bridge climbers, (think I'll have to do this at some point).

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As I had had to pop into work before becoming a weekend tourist I was running a little late and had no idea how I was getting back from spit point as the guide book simply says the bus stops there, so I wanted to get going incase the walk took longer than expected and I couldn't find a bus. So I didn't really explore Manly too much, but apparently there is an area you can walk round where the convicts used to be sent if they were sick after arriving from Britain - not quite a prison but sounds good to me so thats another trip sorted.

Anyway so off I went, and it quickly became apparently I was one of two people doing the walk in that directions, everyone else was coming the other way. But the first couple of kms were very pleasant, all board walk along the coast.

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After a while the classification changed from easy to medium, which meant walking along some rocks, and moments later it became hard which involved walking up a lot of steps through sub tropical rain forest. The walk was lovely with some great views back to the city.
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Best of all was towards the end when I was walking past a cave and heard something move, I had been on the look out for huntsman spiders after being told about all the things that were going to kill me, but it turned out to be a rather large water dragon. Awesome so I sat watching it for a while eating peanuts which it seemed to like and when I dropped one it walked over to me to eat it. Umm not to sure about having a meter long dragon sat right next to me so I upped and left it to enjoy the peanut.

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The bus stop it turned out was easy to find and had I known what QVB stood for would have been able to get back without too much hassle, but all in all a good walk I suggest you do if in the future you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods.

Russell you will be pleased to know that a second trip to coogee (to go running this time) resulted in zero dolphins spotted.

Till next time

Posted by gt248 18.10.2008 01:33 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Sydney

sunny 23 °C

I suspect this blog will be no where near as interesting as the last but at least I can upload photos and let you all know that I am ok. This has been a while in the writing, but had to wait to have some photos before posting what I have been up to.

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The flight down here was a tad bumpy and the people I was sitting next to thought I was really young and wondered why I was allowed to go so far on my own. I didn't have the heart to tell them the truth, but made me laugh (to myself). We all had to get off in Bangkok and when we got back onto the plane the crew had the air conditioning on overdrive and it was freezing. Still I arrived in Sydney in once piece.

I spent the first week in a smart hotel near the University, complete with mini kitchen in the room, so I could cook in the evenings.

I ventured to work on the Monday without any real idea where the Chemistry department was. But Richard had told me it was easy to spot. True to form the most ugly building on Campus is chemistry. The lab is a little less well equiped than cambridge. (Sorry to all those non chemists out there) All the groups are in two big labs, although technically one as its only split down the middle with fume cupboards. Columns are done on the bench (!) and shockingly we have to cut out own TLC plates and distil solvents. Its fine, although I had previously though Warrens was the dirtiest hood on the planet, well thats changed now. He's probably 3rd now. The only problem I can see at the moment is that the airconditioning doesn't seem to work too well, and its been too hot lately. It peaked at 35 degC. but today its a far nicer 22degC, even got to wear a light jumper on the way home.

I found a house in the end. I was very scared that I wouldn't when I first got here as the news kept telling me about the lack of accommodation in Sydney. I also saw some really really bad rooms/room shares. I can't believe that 3 people or more share a small room. One room I went to see said it ws "your own room". Great I thought, when I got there it was your own room if you pulled a sheet across to separate yourself from the lounge. Thankfully I have my own room, in a house with a lounge with noone living in it (just the dog). Its also really close to work which is good (most people seem to get the train to Uni taking about an hour - and I thought my cycle ride used to be bad.

Leah the dog (she likes sitting on my feet, licking everything, stealing my food and hiding my shoes)
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I am finally getting out and exploring. I walked from Coogee to Bondi last weekend. My house just keeps getting better as the bus to the beach is about 100m up the road. 45 minutes later and I was looking at blue sea. The 4km walk was really pleasant and I walked with a guy who I'd met on the bus.

Going up the coast you pass several small coves, a swimming pool cut out of the rocks, a really really big grave yard (no prison though) before finally arriving in Bondi. I did also spot a pod of Dolphins swimming past which was really cool. So plan on getting out every weekend and exploring.

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Ok think thats all I have been up to. All is good and I am finally beginning to settle in. If anyone finds themselves passing through let me know

gem
xxx

Posted by gt248 26.09.2008 22:47 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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