Saturday, March 25, 2006

Artful shots of...

The Sydney Opera House. Posted by Picasa

Famous Sydney sights

Don & Diann with the Opera House behind; The Harbour Bridge; the City; the market at The Rocks. Posted by Picasa

At the Three Sisters

The Three Sisters; John, Diann & Don (with the Jameson Valley behind); Don, Diann & John (with a different view of the Jameson Valley - standing on one of the Sisters); me & John with the same backdrop as the previous shot.
We hiked down the trail to one of the Three Sisters. The stairs were quite steep!
Posted by Picasa

Good times!

Me, John, Don & Diann in the Blue Mountains (with the Jameson Valley behind us); John & Don in the Domain; two glasses of wine and two beers; me, Diann & Don at the Zig Zag Railroad in our portion of the train. Posted by Picasa

Zig Zag Railroad

The train used at the Zig Zag Railroad in the Blue Mountains. Posted by Picasa

Zig Zag Railroad 2

Scenes from out the window of the train. Posted by Picasa

Zig Zag Railroad 3

Don & Diann; all of us; me & John; Don looking at the train. Posted by Picasa

Nowhere Special

Of course, when we hang out, we like to go to all the best places. This was one of the places we passed on the Zig Zag Railroad. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Wrapping up

Soon, my time in Sydney will come to an end. Is there anything you're really yearning to hear about or see pictures of before I go? Make your requests early, and you might just see what you're looking for.


In January, John and I drove to Canberra for the day and visited the Parliament House. It was very interesting and I highly recommend a tour there to anyone visiting. The first picture of the group above is the flagpole on top of the building. Unfortunately it was not windy at all so the flag is unimpressively limp. The bottom left picture is the Australian crest, on the outside of the building over the entrance. The top right is the outside of the building, and the bottom right is from the building facing out towards the city. Posted by Picasa

Canberra: the House & Senate in Parliament

From Parliament in Canberra: The House and Senate (one is green and the other is red. I can't recall which is which). Posted by Picasa

Inside Parliament Building in Canberra

Several views from inside the Parliament building in Canberra. The marble staircase was especially impressive, as was the view of the pyramids from the inside (see below for more information from the roof). The bottom left picture is of a water feature that the politicians walk past all the time. The water is there to mask the sounds of them talking, because any Australian or member of the press can observe them from the upper level, and would be able to overhear them easily otherwise. Posted by Picasa

Gardens around the Parliament Building in Canberra

There are many gardens around the Parliament Building. These are just a couple of them. Posted by Picasa

Canberra: the roof of the Parliament building

From the roof of the Parliament building in Canberra. The pyramids are from the roof of the House and Senate. At night, when they are in session, they glow green or red so that people driving by can see from a distance that their government is at work - and stop by and watch the proceedings, if they like. The lawn grows over the top of the building, which is "underground" (built into a natural hill) which has the symbolic meaning that anyone in Australia can look down on the government - and the government must answer to them. In recent years, they've fenced it off so people can only get to the roof from the inside, but it used to be that anyone could walk or run up the hill to stand on top. Posted by Picasa

Yet another picture in the car

John driving again, outside the National Museum of Australia in Canberra Posted by Picasa

Last of Canberra

From the outside of the National Museum of Australia in Canberra Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Close-ups on the wildlife

John is an excellent photographer when it comes to getting up close to animals. Above are two shots of a very large lizard we saw near the caves and several pictures of a small kangaroo or a wallaby (we weren't sure which) on the way back from the caves. Also, a great Australian road sign warning of kangaroos and wombats ahead.

Jenolan Caves

The main attraction for us in the Blue Mountains was Jenolan Caves. We had a tour there called the Plughole Tour that involved us rapelling ("abseiling" in Aus English) into the cave and then squirming into tight crevices and crawling through small passageways, as well as walking through impressive caverns and seeing graffiti from some of the first explorers of the cave from the 1800s. It was a high fashion day, let me tell you. I especially enjoy John's fluorescent helmet, but the coveralls were a real treat for all of us.

Sometimes while in a particular passage, we weren't quite sure where to put our feet in order to connect with solid ground, and we had to help each other along the way. Other times, we didn't know exactly which way to continue to get out and we had to follow directions and each others' voices. It was a lot of fun, and very dusty!

Into the Blue Mountains

Sunday, we drove the the Blue Mountains.

We started at The Three Sisters in Katoomba, where it was so cloudy and foggy that we could only see 1.5 Sisters. From the lookout point at the top, we couldn't actually see any Sisters in the valley - just fog. So we hiked ("bush walked" in Aus English) down a trail towards the Sisters, and from a second vantage point were able to make out a little bit of the geological formation. (The Sisters are three rock formations that stand together next to a cliff above a valley. There is an aboriginal myth about how they came to exist - that myth and better pictures of them, as well as how they formed, are here.)

Then, the fog started to clear, but just for a quick moment! Enough time to take two pictures:

Then we hiked a little further into the valley:

Then, we got back in the car and drove over to Leura Falls. It is about a 20 minute hike to the cascades, and the whole trail has many smaller falls along the way. It's a gorgeous hike. Below is one of the smaller falls along the way:

Another of the smaller falls:

The Leura Cascades:

From that same lookout, we were able to see a flock of noisy cockatoos flying by:

This is a view to the right above the falls:

Me & Papa at the lookout above the falls: