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The Blue Mountains, Koalas & more

by on June 27, 2016

Today was an all-day bus trip out of Sydney.  The main attraction was the “Blue Mountains” — blue because they are covered in eucalyptus trees and when the leaves get warm they release oil…which causes a blue ‘haze’.  Today was cloudy so the blue haze was clearly visable (apparently in bright sun it’s not as easy to see).

The mountains were lovely – BUT COLD.  Yes, it’s winter down under and the Blue Mountains had snow and ice around sunrise, but by the time we arrived it was just really cold.  However wearing two pairs of pants, 3 shirts and my long rain coat – it was bearable.

Speaking of BEARS…one of our stops today was a cheesy little zoo that was AMAZING.  Yep, this is a photo of Anna and Alex petting a koala.  Yes…a REAL koala (Virginia sent a photo to her Sister in law who inquired if it was a stuffed koala or a real one!)

Koalas have very soft fur and really sharp claws.  And these at the Featherdale Wildlife Park have been hand-raised so they are very amenable to petting as long as they get unlimited snacks (which is the perk of being on the petting stand).  In fact, Victor, the unhappy koala, was banging on his pen because it wasn’t yet his turn and he wanted to be petted!  Also, you can’t actually ‘hold’ a koala because of their sharp claws and the fact that they peed on many visitors and koala pee (apparently) smells horrid and does not make for a good bus trip for everyone on the bus…..

We also got to see a bunch of other ‘unusual’ animals, incluing a Pademelon (photo below)– it’s like a tiny kangaroo and they LOVE the ice cream cone but don’t really like the green straw the zoo keepers fill the cones with.  However if you’ve got a cone – they love YOU!  

We also got to see a wombat (bigger than you would think), many different kinds of kangaroos and wallabees, a very antisocial croc, and dingos (which look like a tan version of a german shepherd but much more dangerous). Sadly the Tasmanian Devil was sleeping, but we saw so many animals unique to Australia that we’ve heard about for so many years.

Here in Australia they have 6 of the most poisionous snakes in the world and LOADS of poisionous spiders too.  Since we were unable to locate the spider exhibit at Featherdale, David was sad to have missed his only chance (we hope) to see the infamous Sydney Funnel-Web Spider – the most deadly of them all.  One drop of venom can kill 100 men.  Our bus driver John had some lovely stories about his boyhood living in the outback and the spiders.

And then we toured the Blue Moumtains area which is quite pretty, even in a biting wind:

Tomorrow we head off to Brisbane, about a 1.5 hour flight from Sydney.  The good news is there is lots here in Sydney for us to do on our next trip – three days wasn’t enough to fully explore (although maybe our next trip will be in warmer weather!)


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