Out of the City and Into the Mountains

Trip Start Jun 24, 2010
Trip End Jul 11, 2010

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Monday, June 28, 2010

Maddy woke us all up bright & early this morning at around 6am... about 3 hours early for her, but still a solid 11 hours of sleep, so not bad! We hung around for a few hours hunting up a good breakfast (quite a challenge in this country) and then after treking to Central Station (similar to Grand Central in NYC) we took the train across town to car rental place.  At the rental place, we looked at scary pics of spiders on a bulletin board.  The locals were dismissive of our worries.  Then they showed us our ampervan, complete with a gaurd in front of the windsheild to keep flying kangaroos from coming through the glass.  The van was great, and seemed to have everthing we'd need -- the only thing wrong with it was the fact that the steering wheel was on the wrong side of the car!   Mike grilled the rental people for a while to figure out all the nuances of australian driving rules, and then we were on our way!  The first couple hours of driving were the most terrifying, but then things got better.  On the way out of Syndey we went to Featherdale, an animal park Grandpa & Grandma Tooley had told us about. Once there we got to play with kangaroos and koala bears and see other creatures like huge wombats, tazmanian devils, giant bats, emus, and a crocodile.  It was an amazing highlight to see all these creatures so much closer than in the zoo.  The emu's wanted to get really personal with us and put their giant beaks within inches of our faces.  The boys were most interested in a couple of kangaroos that were having a boxing match.  They can actually balance on their tail while kicking each other!  Later that day we drove to up into the famous Blue Mtns to a town called Katoomba where we expected to see hippy yurts and a rustic mtn cabins. Instead we found an upscale town with fancy shops and hotels. Since we got to town so late, we "camped" in a parking lot and decided to explore more in the daylight.  Fortunately we had found that there was sleeping space for all five of us, so no tent was necessary.  This was a great thing, because that night ended up being the coldest in the blue mount2ains in 20 years!  According to varying reports by locals and the news media, it was somewhere between -2 and -7 degrees celcius. 
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