Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rainy Days

Tuesday was our last day in Cairns. We originally planned to take a driving tour of the tablelands that promised views of numerous waterfalls. But we awoke to rain on Tuesday and decided to pass on the driving tour and just hang out around the hotel instead. We had lunch and drinks at the pool bar, and did some window shopping in the hotel shops area. We also walked over to the Reef Casino where I managed to extend my current losing streak a little further. :( But I only played a little bit, mostly so I could say I've played blackjack in Australia. We did have a little good luck winning 2000 coins on a penny Wheel of Fortune machine.

Our flight out of Cairns got us into Sydney close to 10 pm, and it was after 11 by the time we got the car and drove to the Hotel. We enjoyed our stay at the Cairns Shangri-La so much that we cancelled our Sydney Marriott reservation and booked a room at the Sydney Shangri-La instead. We have a very nice room with a view of the Opera House. There is a festival called Vivid Sydney going on and the Opera House sails are lit up at night with changing colorful designs.

View from hotel room

Today we drove to the Blue Mountains area. The weather started out looking good, but it got foggy as we drove higher into the mountains. We stopped at Wentworth Falls and walked down 200+ stairs to an overlook to see the falls. They were visible as we arrived at the overlook, but within minutes they were completely covered over by fog. We waited for a while and eventually the fog cleared enough to get a good view again.

Wentworth Falls

From the falls we drove on to Katoomba where everyone goes to see the famous rock formation known as the "Three Sisters". Normally the Three Sisters are seen towering above a deep valley, but when we arrived the valley was filled with fog and the Three Sisters were seen floating in a cloud.

The Three Sisters

We left the three sisters area with plans to visit some more waterfalls in the area, but it began to rain so once again our waterfall tour was rained out. We took a scenic route back towards Sydney and along the way we made an 8km detour towards Mt. Wilson. Along that route we saw some amazing dense vegetation and giant trees that reminded me of the forest moon of Endor.

Giant Tree

When we got back to Sydney we had beer and dinner at the 160+ year old Customs House Bar. Tomorrow we may take a harbor cruise tour. Unless it rains.

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