Life In The Metro : Overlooking Sydney CBD, Circular Quay and The Rocks

Life In The Metro (Post#4) : Overlooking Sydney CBD, Circular Quay and The Rocks

During my first time visit in Sydney Australia, to be honest I can’t believed that I was seeing Opera House and Sydney itself. The city is one of my dreams that I never thought that’s going to happen or became a reality. The photo above was a partial snapshot of Sydney CBD which includes, the CBD itself, the Circular Quay, The Rocks and the Sydney Cove and when I captured this I was at Opera House. Seeing so many people in a famous city like Sydney is a normal thing. People flock to these kinds of places as it is known to the world. It can be a pride to anybody who was able to visit such places. I was really thankful I had a chance to walked around Sydney. I took this photo last April 2013 during musical collaboration event that I got a chance to joined in.

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Wandering in Jenolan Caves and Missed Flight Adventure

Wandering in Jenolan Caves

During my second visit in Sydney the last stop of the tour was Jenolan Caves which not far from Echo Point Lookout where we started. Jenolan Caves are also located in World Heritage Blue Mountains National Park. From Echo Point Road we returned to Great Western Highway, and then we turned left at Hartley and took Jenolan Caves Road.

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Grand Arch

We reached the caves but before the bus completely stop so we can get off, we actually passed a one way road and I discovered that it is called as Grand Arch of the cave and I was surprised and never expected that there are still something to see after we passed the Grand Arch. At the end I saw parking area, cafe and restaurants and hotel like a small village. Yes I was really amazed. Our bus stopped at designated area and our group walked under the Grand Arch and went to the waiting area. While waiting I realised that there were more than one cave are available for tour, our tour will be at Lucas Cave. Lucas Cave is the cave that can accommodate large group of tourist.

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Jenolan Cave was one of the caves that I visited outside my country. Most of the time I was curious what’s inside the cave and I treasured the experience with the group of people. Aside from uncertain adventures inside the cave, I was curious of what things to discover or things to learn inside the cave. It reminds me one of my childhood dreams which is to become a scientist.

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Our tour guide instructed us to get in line so we can walk smoothly along the pathway without issues while inside the cave as there are other groups which already inside and there were possibility that we will pass each other, we waited for a while and then we started our tour by climbing several stairs.

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–Waiting Area under Grand Arch

Lucas Cave has pathways to follow to avoid getting lost and I suspect that it’s the same case to other caves. The track is not simple paths to walk in but there are steep stairs to climb and stairs to go down. Initially, we started to climb almost 200 steps of stairs to reach anteroom. Anteroom was the first space we stop for a while after climbing the stairs.

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–Wandering inside the Lucas Cave by following other tourist.

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–Lucas Cave

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–Lucas Cave

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–Lucas Cave

As we saw some formations in anteroom, our guide was explaining scientific facts about the rock formation inside the cave. Honestly I can’t remember the right terms but the sounds familiar until I checked online about the rock formation found in the cave. I reminisce what our guide that time were telling us. We saw rock formations in the ceilings which called as ‘stalactite’, these are the formations created by the water dripping from the ceiling. While the ‘stalagmite’ are the formations grown from the ground.

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–Lucas Cave

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–Lucas Cave

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–Lucas Cave

Then we continued our walk and along the way we saw other formations until we reached the Cathedral Chamber. We stopped in a while in the chamber to witness how magnificent this part of the cave. The chamber has high ceiling as per my observation because I saw there were metal stairs up near the ceilings and because of the lights that they installed in the chamber, we got a chance to see clearly how high the ceiling and how amazing the surrounding area.

Cathedral Chamber

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–Cathedral Chamber

After leaving Cathedral Chamber, along the way we pass the passageway called “The Slide”. This passageway is a shortcut to Exhibition Chamber.

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–The Slide

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–Lucas Cave

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–Lucas Cave

Then, we saw what they called “The Curtain”. I was really amazed how they invented the name of the rock formations as it resemble specific things.

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–The Curtain

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–Lucas Cave

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–Lucas Cave

Then we followed our guide again as we explore Lucas Cave. Then we stopped in one of the biggest area of the cave because it features a lot of rock formations. The area is called Exhibition Chamber where The Broken Column formation can be found.

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–Exhibition Chamber

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–Exhibition Chamber

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–Exhibition Chamber

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— The Broken Column

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–Exhibition Chamber

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–Exhibition Chamber

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–Exhibition Chamber

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–Exhibition Chamber

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–Exhibition Chamber

Another section of Lucas Cave is Mafeking Section, where I enjoyed lots of Stalactites and this section shows amazing formation inside the cave

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–Mafeking Section

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–Lucas Cave

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–Lucas Cave

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–Lucas Cave

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–Lucas Cave

I was stunned with unique, beautiful, amazing and fantastic rock formations found in Lucas Cave. I knew that Jenolan Caves is huge and our tour specifically visited just one part of it, but even that was the case I had a great time discovering things that are unfamiliar and wonderful stuff that took million years before it developed. Indeed our world still has a lot to offer for our own discovery. I was inspired again by scientist and geologist who initiated to protect such cave because of them I got a chance to see it and learned something in this part of the world about caves.

One of the simple thing that myself and other tourist can do to protect such underground gems is to follow the rule not to touch them, because at the time we tempted to touch them, it is the start of their destruction. A destruction induced by humans.

Missed Flight Adventure

After my Jenolan Cave adventure, I experienced one of the unforgettable moments while venturing as a solo traveler, because I only booked an overnight hotel which I mentioned in my previous post under “Quick Peek of Sydney Darling Harbour”, I had to go straight to the airport after the tour, because I was flying back to Melbourne. As I somewhat unfamiliar with traffic conditions in Sydney which I never thought that it will cause me to missed my flight in Tiger Airways which strictly implementing 45 minutes before the scheduled flight. We left Jenolan Cave almost 4PM, at first I was relaxed while we were driving to the city, until we reached the Western Motorway almost near in the city, we slowly moving because of traffic and it was Saturday evening. I started to feel nervous because I need to be in the airport around 7:15PM and then I was thinking if there some miracle happened in the traffic so I will be able to reached before that time.

We reached the bus terminal where we started the tour in “The Star” building at 7PM, I took a cab and able to arrived at the airport around 7:30PM, I knew I am going to missed my flight and while in the cab on the way to the airport, I checked available flights around 8PM in my mobile, until I saw scheduled flight of Virgin Australia. When I reached domestic airport (Kingsford-Smith Airport or Sydney Airport), Tiger Airways desk counter were closed, and checked other Domestic Airlines and all were closed, I almost lost my hope when I saw Virgin Australia kiosk counter near the entrance. I talked to the people at their desk and I tried to inquire if I can still catch-up the last flight to Melbourne that night and I tried to negotiate with the airline as I need to go back to Melbourne.

At the time, I thought so fast and decided immediately that I prefered to buy another ticket since I already missed my original flight than to spend another night in a hotel in Sydney wherein I still need to go back to the airport in the morning. Virgin Australia scheduled flight was 8PM, the time was so tight for me, I waited for the airlines decision if I can still buy the ticket for the said schedule and it was almost 7:40PM, until they agreed and let me bought the ticket, after that, in few minutes they were calling my name as I run to the boarding gate, my heart was pounding because they were going to close the gate. I arrived in the boarding gate breathless and catching up air and then they scanned my ticket. I walked to the door of the plane still nervous and I only felt relaxed when I was on my seat waiting for the departure time.

It was the first time I experienced the situation where I missed a flight and have to catch-up the last available flight. I learned a lot on the situation, next time I will not book a flight after a tour or adventure because road traffic situation is not in my hand. A lot of things can happen to miss a flight if I will be coming from somewhere aside from hotel. It was a relief I arrived in my hotel in Melbourne that night after 3 hours.

Until then.

In The Middle Of Somewhere : Canberra Parliament House – Senate Chamber

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In The Middle Of Somewhere (Post#2) : Canberra Parliament House – Senate Chamber

During my Day Tour in Canberra, I got chance to enter the building which is the centre of political power in Australia and I am referring to new and current Parliament House in Canberra. The photo above is one part of the building and called as Senate Chamber. While inside, I never imagined that one day I will have a chance to see what’s inside the building because I usually saw this one through news broadcasted in Australia. Photo captured last June 2013 which was part of my Canberra Adventure collection.

Blue Mountains – Scenic Mountain Ranges In New South Wales

After passing Darling Harbour, I tried to asked people around the area until they directed me to the building, I walked along Pirrama Road which still at the harbour side   until I reached “The Star” building. I asked security guards where is the exact location of bus terminal for Blue Mountain Tours until I saw a small kiosk of ATT Kings inside the terminal and approached one the crew in the bus stop area to confirm where is my bus for my tour. I followed directions and waited on the bus. In few minutes the bus arrived and tour guides assisted us on boarding. I finally relaxed as soon as I seated in the bus coach. After completing some things by the tour guide/driver we left the terminal and started heading to our first stop.

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–The Star Casino Hotel

Along the way I saw the famous ANZAC Bridge as we drove along City West Link, then we took Western Motorway until we reached the Great Western Highway to Katoomba. We drove to Echo Point Road to reached Echo Point Lookout to witness how magnificent the Blue Mountains are and the Three Sisters.

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–Echo Point Lookout

 

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–At Echo Point Plaza (with Echo Point Information Centre

All the tourist got off the bus and started walking towards the lookout area. It was popular with the Tourist and we arrived there with other visitors already made earlier than us. I prepared my camera as I am expecting to witness great sceneries. I love mountains personally, irregardless if the mountain is popular or not every time I saw one, I will definitely look at the mountain. When I was standing at the lookout area, I saw how beautiful Blue Mountains, I did not just saw one mountain but what I saw was mountain ranges. I actually curious why the mountain is called Blue Mountains and without even searching or asking how it was named, the one that I saw was a solid evidence and I definitely understand why it was called Blue Mountains. As far as I remembered, we had given 1 to 1.5 hours in Echo Point Lookout. And it’s up to us the visitors how we were going to spend it wisely.

 

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–Blue Mountains

 

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–Three Sisters

After taking shots at the top area lookout, I went down stairs to explore more of the area and to be able to take more photos of Three Sister as it is more closer. The Three Sisters are the rock formation which located in Blue Mountains and the formation is recognisable and everyone were taking photos within and I did not exclude myself on that. Then, I saw people really near the Three Sisters until I realised there is a trail towards the rock formation. The said trail is the same trail to trek down the valley. I did only towards the Three Sisters so I can take photos of the Blue Mountains in different angle and with the rock formation as well. I cannot afford to complete the trek downward as we only given within 1 to 1.5 hours and I don’t wanted to be left behind by my tour bus.

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–Walking Trail to Three Sisters

 

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–Near Three Sisters

While enjoying the panoramic view of Blue Mountains, it struck my mind if I will be given a chance to climb some part of this great mountain ranges in the future, if there will be a chance I welcome it wholeheartedly. The time in Echo Point Lookout was over and the next stop was Jenolan Caves.

 

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–Leaving Katoomba on the way to Jenolan Caves

Quick Peek of Sydney Darling Harbour

I had a post about my first travel in Sydney entitle “Serenading at Opera House” that covers the first place that I visited which was the famous Sydney Opera House and then I returned to the city after almost two weeks since I got a deal for Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves tour from Groupon which scheduled and planned prior to my first travel in Sydney. Why that was happened? It happened because the musical collaboration activity event that I attended in my first travel was announced after my Blue Mountains tour had been set.

Since I was in Australia for work and not for a holiday, the only days I had a chance to roam in Australia were mostly weekends, holidays and scheduled leaves. And similar to my first travel in the city, I just spent more than one day again in Sydney just for the tour. I booked a single room in a hostel for 1 night as I am a solo traveler. I can say that accommodations such as hotels in this prime city are quite expensive and you can get good deals in a short period of time with hostels unless I wanted to spend a lot of money for hotels for such one day holiday just to sleep for few hours.

I have to end such introductions since I’m here to tell my memories of my second visit in Sydney. I flew to Sydney at Friday night last April 2013. Then I took train from Domestic Terminal to Town Hall Station which in the middle of Central Business District of Sydney, then walked a little bit until I found the hostel that I will be staying for few hours of sleep. Yes I only had overnight in Sydney as I will be flying back to Melbourne in the evening the next day. I came to the hotel quite late like past 11PM, which I informed the hostel prior my flight as I wanted to make sure that they were aware of my arrival time because some hostels does not have 24 hours service desk and I cannot afford to sleep outside to a place that I had been second time and I do not knew someone personally. I can’t forget the experience that I had that night because the person in charge in the hostel was not around at the time I was in front of the building. I called the number and I felt relieved because someone showed up and open the door for me.

I checked out early in the morning and walked to the meeting place where the bus was stationed for Blue Mountains Tour. At the moment of my walk I saw Sydney on its most silent time which is Saturday morning because most of the time Friday night in Australia in major cities of this continent country down under are significant to them for party and chilling out. The bus was located at Level B2 Coach Terminal in Pirrama Road within The Star (The Star Sydney Casino Hotel) building.

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From the hostel (Sydney Backpackers in Wilmot Street) I walked few kilometres. From Wilmot St to George St, turned left to Bathurst St until I reached Harbour St. I passed IMAX Theatre and then saw Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. I saw some hotels surrounding the famous harbour such as Novotel and Ibis Hotel. Pyrmont Bridge which carries pedestrian and bicycle traffic are also to be found in the harbour. I peek as well the Cockle Bay and Cockle Bay Wharf, a steam ferry before but now floating restaurant South Steyne Sydney. Last but not the least, I also passed the Australian National Maritime Museum.

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For me it was really a good walk and it was a good thing that I went to the bus coach terminal early and had ample time for normal walk and photo shots in the area.

View At My Window : Sydney Cove

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View At My Window (Post#18) : Sydney Cove

The first area that I had a chance to see and walk around was near in Sydney Cove. Since Opera House which is the symbolical architecture of the country is there, it also offers great and relaxing atmosphere to both locals and visitors. I myself fascinated in the place as you walked towards and away Opera House passing restaurants, bars and cafes  where you can listen to great music. The cove itself has a lot of angles to take advantage that I honestly can’t help myself just to look at it but to capture panoramic views and wonderful moments. I was able to capture hits moment last April 2013.

Panoramic View : Blue Mountains

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Panoramic View (Post#13) : Blue Mountains

During my second visit in Sydney, I planned to visit Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves. I always hear the name of Blue Mountains as one of the famous tourist spot near in Sydney at New South Wales state in Australia. It says that the mountain is still part of mountainous area related to Great Dividing Range. Photo captured last April 2013.

Serenading at Opera House

I attended Musical Collaboration event in Sydney, Australia. I was excited because aside from the activity, I was able to travel in Sydney for the first time. Yes, it was my first time in Sydney. When I was still in Manila, being in Sydney Australia is just a dream. Why? First, it is far from my country and I don’t have visa to be able to go to Australia easily.

When I got a project outside my country and it was in Australia, I knew that a lot of opportunities will come along, Sydney is just more than an hour flight from Melbourne which is my current location.

I was in Sydney for two days, we traveled together with my friend last April 13, 2013 and it was Saturday. From the flight in the morning we went straight to the location of the event that we attended. We took Sydney Train from Domestic Terminal station to Central station. From Central station we transferred T1 Line (North Shore, Northern and Western Line) to Hornsby and got off at St. Leonards station. From St. Leonards station, we walked nearby until we found the place of the event.

IMG_6123The whole day of Saturday passed since we were busy in the event without even noticing time was passing so fast, until we left the place of the event quite a bit late. We need to go to the house of my friend’s friend so we have a place to spend the night. It was a good thing that we just need to take one train line, from St. Leonards station to Blacktown station. From Blacktown station, my friend’s friend picked us and went straight to their home. It was a short ride from the station to their house. We had our dinner there and chat a little bit with the owner of the house, they were really cool and friendly.

Next day, it was Sunday and in the morning my friend and I attended our own personal activity. In the afternoon, we drove to Sydney Opera House. This is the only place that I was able to visit in Sydney as leisure visit because my return flight is in the evening of Sunday as well (we only spent almost two days in Sydney).

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DSC05018Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House is one of the symbolic man-made building or structure of Sydney and of Australia. Most people know that once they saw the Opera House, it is Australia. When I saw Opera House from afar, I was really excited, I never thought that time will come, that Opera House will be up close and personal to me. I can’t believe it at first, but I enjoyed the day, then my friends took a lot of photos of Opera House and myself. Though I never saw what’s inside the Opera House because it requires booking and there is specific schedule for the tour, I still never regret that I was outside of the Opera House. I treasured my time spent there and I will never forget the experience.

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Some snapshot views from Opera House and surrounding area