(Warning: lengthy post ahead; scroll to bottom for a TL;DR – too long didn’t read) My first week here in Sydney has been such a jam packed week full of awesome events and outings planned by the IES Abroad team to get us acquainted with Sydney. After a long morning of hauling suitcases to our apartments and getting settled, the entire IES Abroad family enjoyed a lovely dinner boat cruise in the Harbour (notice my spelling of harbour but that’s for another post). The boat cruise was beautiful and the views and sights were breathtaking.
Me on the dinner boat cruise
the beautiful Sydney Opera House
view of Sydney skyline with Australia’s flag blowing in the wind
Nighttime view of Luna Park
The next day, after a morning of orientation, we were all able to take a Jet Boat around the Harbour (thanks again to IES Abroad). The Jet boat was awesome for two reasons. (1) We were able to see all of the sights from the night before even closer up and (2) the jet boat was like a ride at an amusement park! The boat was small enough that we were able to do a lot of cool tricks which got us soaked. It was awesome.
view from the jet boat
After a few days of much needed rest, errand running, and getting to know one another we were all reunited yet again for an awesome day trip to Featherdale Wildlife Park and Blue Mountains. I have never been to a wildlife park but there are distinct differences between a wildlife park and a zoo, the main one being that the animals are not completely caged. This made for a very up close and personal interaction with some koalas and kangaroos! I, along with most of the other IESers, had a limited idea of what kangaroos are like from watching movies like Kanagaroo Jack. But that’s only one type of kangaroo. Most aren’t that tall or big. Also kangaroos walk on all fours and only hop when they’re running. We had the chance to feed some kangaroos but I was a little taken aback by the kangaroos just walking around and being so close, so I kept my distance. Then there were the koalas which we weren’t allowed to hold (by New South Wales law) but we could take pictures with and pet which was almost as awesome.
After a bit of time at the Featherdale Wildlife Park, we made the trek to the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains are breath takinggggg! Gorgeous rock formations, waterfall, valleys, and greenery. We were able to visit so many areas of the Blue Mountains such as Jamison Point, Princes Rock Way, and Echo Point.
There’s a rock formation at Echo Point called the Three Sisters with two different aboriginal legends that account for why the rock formation is called the Three Sisters.
There once were three sisters, Meehni, Wimlah, and Gunnedoo. The three daughters lived in Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe. They fell in love with three brothers from the neighboring Nepean tribe but marriage was forbidden by tribal law. The brothers, unhappy with their predicament and the governing law, decided to use force to get their women leading to a major tribal battle. A witch doctor turned them to stone so they wouldn’t be killed but died in battle and could not change them back.
There once was a witch doctor named Tyawan who had three daughters, Meehni, Wimlah, and Gunnedoo. Tat this time there was a Bunyip who lived in a deep hole and was very dangerous. Whenever Tyawan needed to pass the hole of the Bunyip, he would leave his daughters safe behind a stone wall. One day when Tyawan was getting food from the valley, Meenhi saw a large centipede and was frightened. She threw a stone at the centipede. The stone continued on rolling down the cliff and into the valley which angered the Bunyip. When the Bunyip rose from his hole angrily he split the rock wall protecting the three sisters and leaving them stranded on a thin ledge at the top of the cliff. To stop the Bunyip from eating his daughters, Tyawan used his magic stick to turn his daughters into stone. The Bunyip became even more angry and began chasing Tyawan. In order to flee the Bunyip, Tyawan used his magic stick again to turn himself into a lyre bird with beautiful long feathers almost like a peacock. When the Bunyip descended into his hole, Tyawan looked for his magic stick to turn him and his daughters back to normal but couldn’t find it. The lyre bird has been looking for his magic stick ever since. And so the three sisters remain stone hoping one day his father will find his stick.
I like story one because I’m a sucker for love but I also really enjoyed the second story because there’s still hope that one day Tyawan will find his stick and rescue his daughters. Which is your favorite?
With week one down I’m even more excited for the remaining four months before me and all that this experience will bring to me.
TL;DR First week finished. Dinner boat cruise, jet boat outing, Featherdale Wildlife Park with kangaroos and koalas, Blue Mountains and the three sisters. Looking forward to what’s ahead!