And this is when everything got crazy, as is expected when your group size suddenly goes from 2 to 7 people. Fortunately, which great dysfunction comes great hilarity (usually unintentionally at the expense of Ed).
The Pons in Sydney!
Chris and I had made a sweet sign (complete with glitter glue) to meet the rest of the Pons at the airport. Unfortunately we stupidly did not check the flight status beforehand and ended up at the airport two hours early because their plane had to make an emergency landing in Hawaii on the way over. However, everyone made it into the country with all their baggage, which I count as a great success.
Now that the parentals were here, it meant a few weeks of staying at fancy hotels and taking private tours. And also eating food that wasn’t a pizza meal deal or something we made ourselves, which was pretty exciting. The first afternoon was spent eating dim sum and watching Captain America: Civil War. It was my (and to Chris’s dismay, his) third time, but as it was the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, we had the entire theatre to ourselves! By the next morning everyone was rested up and ready for some sightseeing!
Featherdale Wildlife Park
As we were now living the high life (and also vehicle-less since we couldn’t fit everyone into our car), Ed had hired Scott of Your Sydney Guide to take us out to the Blue Mountains. I’m just going to go ahead and say that Scott is a really good guide and also SO CUTE that even Chris pointed it out. But anyways.
On our way out to the Blue Mountains we stopped at Featherdale Wildlife Park. Featherdale has fond memories for Chris and I because it was the first place we got to pet kangaroos and koalas.
Everyone enjoyed seeing all the Australian animals, even if we had to rush around in order to stay on schedule.
Next, we headed out to the Blue Mountains. Scott had lived in the area before, so he took us to a secret lookout area. We got to look at the mountains and take some nice photos without all the crowds that Chris and I remembered from visiting the Three Sisters lookout last time we were here.
This was also a fun stop because Rita spent most of it being nervous and refusing to go near the edge because she is terrified of heights.
Next, we stopped in Katoomba for meat pies (OM NOM NOM), and then it was on to Scenic World! Scenic World is a thing Chris and I were too cheap to go to last time, so it was pretty exciting for us. To get there you take a big gondola thing across the valley, which made Rita all spazzy again.
Then, when you get to the other side, there is a super steep tram thing you ride down to the forest walking trails. It’s billed as the world’s steepest passenger railroad (52° incline), so there was a lot of air flailing from Rita. Fortunately the seats can be adjusted so it’s not like you’re going face first down the mountain.
At the bottom we walked around looking at the nice big trees and mining relics. We also took this sweet picture of Chris being a creeper.
Then, we got to ride another glass cableway thing back up. To finish up our Blue Mountains day, we went to Govett’s Leap. This was especially exciting for Chris and I because we had tried to visit it last time to see the waterfall, but it was so foggy and rainy that day all you could see was a wall of whiteness. This time was much better!
Sydney Harbour and Taronga Zoo
The next morning, it was down to Circular Quay! We had breakfast in the harbour, and then took the ferry over to Taronga Zoo. Unlike Featherdale, Taronga is more of a “classic” zoo, i.e. with giraffes, elephants, gorillas, etc.
The zoo is particularly nice because it’s built on a hill, so you get some nice views across the harbour (if you don’t mind the giraffes in your way).
After taking the ferry back to Circular Quay, we had a late lunch in front of the Sydney Opera House before taking a walk through the Royal Botanic Garden. There were a lot of people feeding the cockatoos to get them to jump on their heads, but we decided not to since no one wanted to get their eyes poked out.
We hung out around The Rocks until the sun went down so we could take some pictures of the opera house at night. Or, Ky and I did at least. Maddie and Rita mostly looked at souvenir shops and Jeff and Ed went to The Fortune of War, billed as Sydney’s oldest pub (est. 1828). We ended the night by having dinner in Darling Harbour.
We were up early the next morning to head to Bondi Beach. The group split into two cabs to get there and almost ended up at different places due to Ed not understanding that Bondi Beach and Coogee Beach are different places.
Fortunately we made it and spent the morning walking around, watching very fit people exercise and walk their dogs. Chris decided if we lived here he would have to become fit, whereas his current excuse is that in Canada you can hide under sweaters. Ky and Maddie looked for Hugh Jackman, sadly with no success.
After Bondi Beach we went back down to the harbour and took the ferry across to Manly Beach to get fish and chips for lunch. It was an exceptionally warm day in Sydney considering the season, so the beach was pretty packed.
We had some ice cream, strolled around, and eventually made it to the Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary, where there were some cute penguins and a sweet set of cuttlefish.
It was a Saturday, so we went back to Darling Harbour for sushi dinner and fireworks since it was Maddie’s birthday. The best part of this night was when Chris accidentally went into the ladies washroom and then got trapped in a stall because girls kept going in and out. I eventually had to go rescue him.
Next, it was onto Cairns! It was a little sad to leave our nice apartments here, especially since it had taken up to this point for Ed to remember how to get home each night. I think it’s partially because he insists on using various paper maps instead of Google Maps like a normal person. But anyways.