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Journals from Deakin University, Australia

2009-09-16 Sydney

Sydney is an amazing city. I havent really been to another big city other than Melbourne until this last weekend. I took a four-day tour to Sydney and it was an amazing experience. The tour was fantastic and I got to see all the major sights and even some of the hidden gems of the city. To be fair, the 12-hour bus ride wasnt so much fun, but it was absolutely worth it and it helped cut down the cost of the trip. We started with a walking tour of downtown. We went through Hyde Park and the Botanical Gardens. Beautiful weather and beautiful sights. The Botanical Gardens are actually home to one of Sydneys largest bat colonies, and you could see them hanging in the trees by the dozens. And then you turn a corner by the water and the Sydney Opera House is right in front of you. It may look amazing in a picture, but that is nothing to how awe-inspiring it is when you see it in real life. The famous sails are bigger than you would expect and the House sits right on the harbor. Right behind the Opera House is another famous Australian structure, the Sydney Harbor Bridge. While I didnt get a chance to climb it, I did do a lookout thats part of it and you could see over the entire harbor. It was a fantastic view. 360 degrees, you get a great view of the Opera House from high up, the city and all the tall buildings, and then the Circular Quay, Darling Harbor and some of the islands in the bay. The walk up the stairs was a bit tough as there was no elevator, but as with everything tough about the trip, worth it. We spent a day in the Blue Mountains National Park, hiking and looking at one of Australias biggest national parks. Waterfalls, cliff faces, wildlife, everything is available in the Blue Mountains. One of Australias politicians was actually rescued from the depths of the Blue Mountains recently. Glad we had a guide who knew where he was going. Then our final day was spent walking the coastline to one of Australias most famous beaches, Bondi Beach. It was about a 3-4 kilometer walk, but the gorgeous views of the coastline and ocean completely distracted me from the walk. I even lagged behind a bit because I was taking so many pictures. The beach was packed because it was time for the Festival of the Winds, an important Sydney festival celebrating the beginning of spring. Kite flyers from all over Australia come to show off their skills and there are some amazing kites flying over the beach all day. It was a great way to spend my last day in Sydney, walking in the sand and playing in the surf before a long and sleep-filled bus ride home for class Monday morning.

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