The only thing we had scheduled the next day (November 20th) was our Twilight Bridge Climb which wasn't until 5:45 PM. Since it was going to be a hot day, we decided to do a hop-on-hop-off boat tour in the morning and then go to the Aquarium.
[Can I please live here?!]
[People doing the Bridge Climb]
[Ships at the Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour]
After cruising around the Harbour we "hopped" off our boat at Darling Harbour and went to the Aquarium.
Um... the aquarium was fine. There were some cool sharks and fish but they advertised penguins and there were not any there. I was not happy about that. So I took a picture with a stuffed one.
As the day went on it got hotter and hotter and I started to get really worried about the Bridge Climb. I had read online that once you start your climb there are no bathrooms and I knew that our climb was three hours long. Three hours is a long time for me. I have a very excitable bladder and I didn't want to risk having to go to the bathroom on the climb. As a result, I didn't drink as much water as I should have before we went to the climb site.
At 5:30 PM we went over to the Bridge Climb site.
Once there we were given a safety briefing, a bridge suit, various safety harnesses, and a breath alcohol test (you had to blow a .000 in order to climb).
We were told that since it was a hot day we should not wear anything under our suits except for our underwear. We changed and put all of our belongings (including our camera) in our lockers. We were then taken to a large room where we were given head phones, a head lamp, a harness, and a set of flannel clothes (it was 106 degrees!) to carry with us just in case it got cold.
After our group was all ready to go we walked into a tunnel where we passed by a group of climbers who had just finished the climb. They looked terrible! Super hot and sweaty!
It was in this tunnel that we had our harness locked in and where they would remain locked in until we were back down off the bridge. Safety first!!
The start of the climb was really cool. We were under the bridge, listening to our guide on our head phones, and heading towards the ladders! Even though it was hot I was doing fine. Then we climbed the ladders. It was a quick, hot, and a steep climb which left me hot and uncomfortable. It was at this time that I realized my safety belt was too tight and it was hurting me.
It was here that we took this little cheesy video (can you tell that I am hurting?!). After the video I had a quick drink of water from one of the only water fountains on the whole bridge. And, of course, the water was hot!
After that we started the climb along the top of the bridge. The steps were not that steep but I was so hot and dehydrated that I almost passed out! I started to see stars and the blackness was coming. Ugh. A sat down on the stairs and told Josh to tell our leader that I wasn't feeling good. She came over to me and told me that she was calling for the medic. He arrived and gave me a bunch of water. I told him that I was nervous about not being able to use the bathroom on the climb and that I thought I was dehydrated. After drinking the water I felt a lot better and I was able to make it to the top!
[Our group photo at the top!]
We watched the sunset from the top and then started the climb down. The climb down was so much easier (duh!) and the medic kept checking on me to make sure I was okay.
[Doesn't this photo look Photoshoped?! It's not!]
Once we made it down we changed back into our clothes and then were able to buy our photos if we wanted them. I looked terrible in most of them but Josh talked me into buying this one (above).
They also gave us certificates and these super cheesy hats!
I know it is REALLY expensive but if you ever get the chance make sure you do the Harbour Bridge Climb at Twilight! I promise that it is worth it!
By the time we were done it was after nine and we were hungry. We walked back to our hotel and found this street fair. We bought some food, walked around, and then headed back to the hotel.
The next morning (November 21st) we got up and walked over to the Four Seasons where we were meeting for our next tour.
While we were waiting for the bus I asked Josh to run across the street and take a picture of the exposed sandstone bedrock. This is why this area is called The Rock. It is built not only on top of this rock, but it is made out of it!
Our bus arrived and we headed west. We drove pass the Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush Bay and then drove through the small townships of Blaxland, Leura, Wentworth, Lawson, and Katoomba. During the drive, our tour guide/driver told us about the history of the Blue Mountains.
After about an hour we arrived at Echo Point. Here we saw the Three Sisters and the beautiful forest that cover the Blue Mountains.
We spent a few minutes at the outlook before getting back on the coach so we could go to the Jenolan Caves (known as Binoomea ["Dark Places"] to the Aboriginal people).
We went down this super-scary-one-way-road (which became a two lane road if you ran into another car!),
through this cave,
and ended up here:
We grabbed a quick bite to eat before walking back through the cave so we could go on a walk around the Blue Lake.
The Blue Lake is a small lake that is very blue due to the mineral laden water seeping through the limestone caves.
On our walk we saw a few large lizards and a turtle. We were told that duck billed platypus also live in the lake but we didn't see any.
[The water really is that blue!]
After our short walk we went back into the main cave where we met up with our tour group. There are 350 caves (only nine are open to the public) in this area which were formed 400 million years ago. They are still being explored to this day! We were taken in to Lucas Cave which is the largest of the Jenolan Caves.
[Steps that were carved by the first explorers]
When we got to the Cathedral the tour guide turned off all of the lights and then played a light and sound show for us. The acoustics are amazing! And the cave is over 150 feet tall!
We went deeper and deeper into the cave where the features became more and more impressive!
After our tour we got back on the bus, drove out the super-scary-one-way-road, stopped at a local fruit stand, and then went back to Sydney.
[I thought this was cute]
By the time we got back to the hotel it was after 8:00 PM and we were too tired to go anywhere. We ate dinner at the hotel bar and then went to bed.