Yesterday kinda felt like the last day in Sydney, even though I will be back before my flight to Tasmania, and I will probably fly back to Sydney within the month as well. But still, it felt like the last day. And on last days I always want to do these things that I have been planning to do all along, but just did not get to. And there are actually quite a lot of these things lurking in Sydney: the 10km walk from Manly, harbour cruise, powerhouse museum, aquarium, beaches, climbing the harbour bridge etc. So trying to minimise the damage, I went to the National Museum in the morning: it had some nice displays with minerals (sounds really boring, but they were actually quite fascinating; from diamonds to gold), some of the deadliest spiders (I would still run away from every spider though) and a great wildlife photo exhibition.
In the afternoon there was a party at Bondi, so we went there with a full bus from our hostel. I guess my appreciation of city beaches was mostly shown by the fact that I had not even been to Bondi beach after spending a week in Sydney. Bondi is, after all, the most famous beach in Sydney. And it is really nice for a city beach, as it is a bit sheltered in a bay with rocks on both sides. But I think I was spoilt too much in Thailand… The party was really nice though, especially because of the view on the beach from the terrace.
This morning I was picked up by Santa Claus and his minibus, bringing me and the other folks on the tour to the Blue Mountains. But first we made a stop at the Sydney Olympic Park, which looked quite abandoned, but Santa Claus (our guide) played this Olympic opening tune, so we still got some Olympic feeling driving into the park. And I have another thing to do in Sydney: swim in the Olympic swimming pool. The next stop was at a national park to see kangeroos. These were living in the wild, but accustomed to humans, so they would not bounce away on first sight. It was pretty cool to see, especially since we could approach them pretty close, so I was able to make some nice photos. Next we stopped to view waterfalls and the last stop before lunch was at the Three Sisters, basically three rocks that have not been eroded yet. The last two stops also offered great views of the Blue Mountains.
Before lunch I checked in at my hostel, one of the better hostels with about all the facilities for $25 in a 4-share room. The tour continued to the scenic railway, a former mine railway with an average inclination of 44 degrees. I walked down through the forest and took the railway back up the cliff. It was actually quite spectacular. At the end of the tour I was dropped in Katoomba and everyone else went back to Sydney. The plan is to do some bushwalking here, but more about that later.