Greg has to wake me again (at 7:30), for the 2nd day in a row. We grab a coffee and then it’s off to the Barossa Valley, one of the world’s great wine regions. We are going on a bus – the typical Gray Line...
If you’re an alcohol aficionado and love to enjoy high-quality drinks in a beautiful ambiance, then this article will definitely get you thirsty for some beer or good spirits. Australia has a mixed-feeling relationship with...
The BEST of Australia:
Eric, Graham, Leanne, Michael, Brian, Lynne, the woman at the Maui Campervan return who didn’t charge us extra, Graham’s Mum Elizabeth, Miss Pastie DeKline, Guy, Mark, Robert, and the generous citizens of Sydney. (Oh, did we mention Eric and Graham???)
Art Gallery: The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Beaches: Bondi; Coolum, Back Beach, Southwest Rocks.
Beer: Draught Schooners of VB or Carlton
Bookstore: The Bookshop Darlinghurst
Bars: Manacle, The Columbian Hotel
Department Stores: David Jones, Sydney; Gowings, Sydney
Disco: Midnight Shift (Video Bar)
Dive Instructors: Leanne; Chris
Market: Central Market, Adelaide
National Park: Kangaroo Island
Pool: Cook + Phillip Wave Pool, Sydney
Restaurants: Adelaide: Lime + Lemon; Melbourne: Red Orange, Gluttony: It’s a Sin; Sydney: Yipiyiyo; Trinity Beach/Cairns: Trattoria L’Unico
Suburbs: Waterloo, Surry Hills, Mossman
Wine: All of them!
Wine Tour: Yarra Valley with Victoria Winery Tours in Melbourne
Books we read in Australia: Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire; The Turn of the Screw and Other Stories, by Henry James; The New Yorker and the World It Made, by Ben Yagoda.
I find it difficult to believe that we are no longer in Sydney and Australia. It feels like we are just out for the day and will be back at Francis Street this evening or meeting Eric or Graham for dinner or drinks. Or finishing off our Sydney must see list before we go. But we have left and are jetting off to Singapore for phase three of our trip.
Bye Bye Oz: Hello Singapore!
Singapore Airlines gets the “best airline so far” award hands down. I mention to John that it doesn’t feel like we are in an airplane at all. Incredible service, beautiful staff and wonderful diversions to keep you busy. The eight hour fly just “flew” by. We arrive to low, threatening thunder clouds in Singapore and 36 degree temperatures. Yes, we are in the tropics again. Singapore is well manicured, lush and very cosmopolitan. We are preparing ourselves for the weather forecast of rain and thunderstorms for the four days that we are here. Our cab (clean!) drops us at the Peninsula- Excelsior Hotel and our room is a retro 70’s tribute to a by-gone era of splendour and luxury. We are only here for four days after all and it is air conditioned. We head out to do some exploring and shopping. We buy two Polarized lens filters for our camera we had been eyeing in Sydney. With the exchange rate, they are less than 1/4 of what they were in AU. We find a Szechwan restaurant inhabited by the locals and have a wonderful, spicy meal and a pitcher of Tiger draft for less than $40 CDN. We are going to love SE Asia!!
One final note on Sydney: We cannot thank Eric and Graham enough for unselfishly looking after us so well in Sydney. They never expected anything in return and their generosity and friendship will always be one of the incredible things that we will remember about our time in Sydney.
The Blue Mountains, Australia
Up early – we are heading to see the Blue Mountains, a 90 minute drive west of Sydney. Eric has lent us his car for the day, and he arrives at our place to drop it off just after 9, and of course there is a hamper for our morning coffee break sitting on the back seat. Again, his generosity leaves us speechless.
We head off, not needing maps to negotiate our way out of town – we feel like true Sydneysiders at this minor triumph. Traffic is easy this morning. We wonder whether the air will be blue today or not – the weather forecast for the Blue Mountains is a high of only 13, and the air is turned blue when the sun heats the eucalyptus trees and their oil evaporates.
The Lonely Planet guidebook tells us of a scenic back road, and we turn off onto it, catching glimpses of beauty. We stop at a lookout, and craning over the trees, see a beautiful vista of the valley and the mountains. We spend some lovely minutes here, alone with the view. We realize that we will indeed see the famed blue air today.
We continue our drive, and shortly after arrive at Echo Point, the main lookout, with spectacular views of the 3 Sisters and the canyon.
We continue the beauty-laced drive, eventually ending up in Katoomba, the main city of the Blue Mountains. We stop for lunch, and are just nicely seated in the restaurant when it starts to pour. It continues to pour through lunch, and we run back to the car through the rain. We vote to head back to Sydney.
We make our way to Eric’s place for a pre-dinner cocktail, then we all head out to a wonderful hole-in-the-wall Eric knows, serving Japanese food, and crammed to the rafters with Japanese students studying at the nearby university. Then home to an early bed – we have to be up early on Saturday.
The Blue Mountains, Australia Up early – we are heading to see the Blue Mountains, a 90 minute drive west of Sydney. Eric has lent us his car for the day, and he arrives at our place to drop it off just after 9, and of course there is a hamper for...