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About ellie1145

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Hampshire, UK
  • Interests
    cruising, photography, writing, reading, music
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, RCI, Cunard
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Caribbean Fiji

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  1. Food glorious food! Well, I don't know about you, but I'm starving! I'm sure I can hear a few rumbling tummies.... Back on the coach we go, and we pass some beautiful houses on the way. What a lovely verandah on this house. There it is at last! Our hotel! Food! Then we drive through small towns, past historic houses cheek by jowl with modern detached dwellings, and arrive at the hotel, where we walk though the bar area into a room which has been set up for us. We join a couple at the table and start chatting. The meal, which has been pre-ordered, arrives swiftly and is piping hot. We have chosen fish and chips, which are delicious, and there is a good choice. But I'm afraid I have failed.... I forgot to take a photo of our meal... guess I was too hungry to remember. There are hot drinks available for us to serve ourselves. It’s a very enjoyable lunch and we leave fully replete, before getting back on the coach for our next stop, the wonderful Featherdale Wildlife Park. We sit back and relax as Kat drives us to our destination, and it’s time to take a nap or simply look out of the window. We really aren’t sure what to expect at the wildlife park but it exceeds our expectations.
  2. There is evidence of previous bush fires, as we see these charred branches and burnt tree stump. A beautiful waterfall in the distance. What do you see? Can you see an animal's head? Time to wend our weary way back up the steep slope.
  3. Apologies for the three extra photos above - for some reason I wasn’t able to edit them out.
  4. Another view of the Blue Mountains - Elysian Rock We hop back on the coach and off we go again. Kat is like the Duracell bunny in the adverts, she just keeps going! But we don't mind, it's a great experience and we love the Blue Mountains. They are everything we hoped for and more. Kat has already taken our orders for lunch and phoned them though to the hotel, but she has one more viewing point, Elysian Rock, for us to see before we stop for food. Mind how you go, it's very steep! She parks the coach and takes us down a steep incline to find another spectacular view of the Mountains. There are no crowds either as she seems to be an expert at finding hidden viewpoints.
  5. We say goodbye to Scenic World I hope you’ve enjoyed all that Scenic World has to offer. We’ve seen so much and it’s not even lunchtime! We walk through a gift shop and I can’t resist buying a little furry kangaroo with a joey for our little grandson. It’s difficult to choose as they are all so cuddly, but this one is also a puppet, so I think he will love it. Time for a ‘comfort break’ but please don’t perch on the Toilet seat! 🥴 Outside we are just in time to hear a choir which has assembled outside. We have been lucky with the weather so far, the skies are still blue Kat has already phoned through our orders for lunch which will be taken at a nearby hotel, but there is time for another lookout. Kat appears to have the ability to change and modify our route, so she adds in things which she thinks we would enjoy, and that’s a great bonus of this tour. She is so knowledgeable about the area that she can make decisions ‘on the hoof.’ We are able to explore some local flora.
  6. There are amazing views of the rock formations as we glide slowly up to the top. We can see the layers of sedimentary rock.
  7. The Scenic Cableway We reach the Cableway, our final means of transport. We enter the fully enclosed cabin which holds 84 passengers and is wheelchair accessible, as it slowly ascends to the top of the escarpment. It’s a stunning view and well worth doing.
  8. It's been a lovely relaxing walk through this primitive and beautiful forest. But through the trees we catch a glimpse of our next adventure, the Scenic Cableway. I hope you are not too exhausted, as we have much more in store.
  9. We look up and glimpse the huge sandstone cliffs. The huge rocks that we can see lying around are actually full of life. At first they are colonised by algae, which shows up as red or yellow staining. These are then followed by lichens, which are greenish and grey. Acids are produced in the roots of these lichens, and these produce acids which break up the sandstone. Dust and soil are caught by the lichens and when this gets wet it enables mosses to grow. In turn, the mosses collect more soil, and when this gets wet it breaks up the rock. Plants also grow in this soil, and the roots produced by grasses and small shrubs expand the cracks. This leads to other plants, such as ferns and orchids, to grow. There are little seating areas where you can rest and enjoy the beauty all around you.
  10. This tree fern has fallen over and grown along the ground before regrowing vertically. The trunk is covered in adventitious roots, and if they come in contact with the soil they will grow. We listen out in case we can hear any Lyrebirds. These birds are great mimics, but they also serve an important function in this ecosystem. Lyrebirds constantly scratch about with their feet in the leaf litter. This results in them moving kilos of soil and rocks downhill. Over an adult Lyrebird’s lifetime they can actually move many tonnes of soil and rock. How amazing is that? Little birds like the scrub wrens or yellow robins follow these birds around and pick up any insects which the Lyrebirds have missed. Easy way to get a good meal I guess. The sun shines through the canopy, lighting up the beautiful tree ferns as we meander along the walkway, stopping every now and again for Kat to give us some information.
  11. We walk further along into the heavily forested trail, with trees forming a canopy over our heads. Kat points out some beautiful ferns, and tells us about the possums who live in the forest, and the spotted tail marsupials called quolls, but sadly we don’t see either. Neither do we hear the native Lyre birds. These beautiful ferns grow really tall. Their delicate fronds form umbrellas over our heads. There are interesting notices explaining what we are seeing, and these supplement what Kat has to tell us.
  12. The Scenic Walkway We peer into the darkness and can see the entrance to the Katoomba mine shafts. In 1892 there were 150 miners working here, extracting 22,000 tons of oil shale a year. We walk past a display of mining equipment which is fascinating. It is incredible to think of these men using such primitive tools to extract the coal and shale. We walk further along into the heavily forested trail, with trees forming a canopy over our heads. We see huge sandstone blocks which fell from the cliffs approximately 10,000 years ago. These huge rocks are scattered everywhere. Huge tree trunks lie on the ground.
  13. Good morning, Rowse, how lovely to hear from you! Great to have you along. So pleased to hear that you are enjoying our adventure. I am glad that our visit to Singapore has inspired you to put it on your bucket list. We have now visited three times and each time we like it more. There is a saying, ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ but for us, familiarity has opened our eyes to this lovely city. We still feel there is lots for us to do and see, and we very much hope that we will return one day when it is safe to do so. I do hope that you do get to go on Majestic Princess In January, Unfortunately, things seem to be still very much up in the air. But in the meantime you will be able to enjoy some of the delights of Majestic when we embark on the ship in a couple of day’s time.
  14. The Scenic Walkway 'Take my breath away....' We exit the railway and find ourselves at the start of the Scenic Walkway, which takes us into the heart of the 2.4 km Jurassic rain forest, although we only have time to explore part of it. This is the original railway, built in the 1880s, which was used for transporting coal and shale to the top of the escarpment. It later became a tourist attraction when the coal mine shut down in 1945. A group of Chinese tourists have fun taking selfies sitting in the train.... Kat is going to accompany us and, en route, she regales us with tales of the past, and a vast amount of information about the flora and fauna of the rain forest. It's cooler here as it’s shady under the canopy of the trees. We meander as a group along the walkway and stop here and there for Kat to give us some historical background, or to point out trees of interest. Originally this was a mining area, and we pass a beautiful bronze statue of a pit pony by the local sculptor, Terrance Plowright. Behind the pony is a statue of a miner walking beside a loaded wagon. Pit ponies were highly regarded by the miners and well treated. Each pony had a name, and if they were injured or died they were mourned. The pit ponies were an important part of the mining process and they provided the means to transport the shale from deep in the mines up to the railway. Young boys of 14 began working in the coal mines, accompanying their fathers in the first instance, collecting their water bottles and meal tins. Often they would have to walk three or four miles out of the mine, and then they had to walk a few more miles to their homes. There was a pecking order for employment in the mines, and these young lads would progress from job to job, until they were able to work as miners at the coal face. They would start as token boys, collecting the leather tokens from the men, which had an identifying number stamped on them, and which they would hang up on hooks. These tokens were vital, as should there be an accident in the mine they would know instantly who was left down the mine. Life was tough for these young boys. As they gained more experience they might be allowed to open and shut the ventilation doors, before being able to clip on the full or empty skips. Some of the jobs they had to do were very dangerous, and many ended up losing fingers in the process. It then took three years for them to become fully fledged miners, working alongside experienced miners. There are buttons which you can push to hear about the history of the mines, but we don’t have time for that, I’m afraid.
  15. It certainly is a spectacular place to visit, Winifred, and the tour was so well organised, it was seamless. That made it even more enjoyable.
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