Thursday, September 20, 2012

First hike, First Impressions

It's almost a week since we arrived in Australia and, in some ways much has happened and much hasn't. We've been in the 'burbs all week, laid low with viruses for a few days, but also running about the city on the excellent railway network doing essential chores like getting Medicare cards and drivers licenses. Although Australia is very much a developed nation, the city – and suburbs – have a much different feel to Canada or the USA. For starters, the country is highly multi-cultural with good representation of all kinds of nationalities. Secondly, small shops rule and big box stores are virtually unknown. There are some large department stores clustered together in a few big malls, but, otherwise, there is just a plethora of small shops selling a variety of items. It feels almost like a third world country walking down the main street of any suburb in Sydney because of the diversity of stores. Thirdly, there are so many workers – every small train station has half a dozen people working there, where in Canada there would be none. We are staying with my Mother who lives right by the cemetery (beautiful walking) and there has to be 50 people employed in the place.

Today we actually got out into the Australian bush and did a nice short walk from Heathcote train station to Waterfall train station through the Royal National Park. That's another thing that is nice about Sydney, you can access all kinds of National Parks and reserves via public transit. Our walk took us along the Karloo Track to Karloo Pool (a small waterhole on what I presume is the Karloo River) and on to Uloola Falls – which was a small and rather unimpressive (if you come from Canada) trickle over a 15 metre high sandstone cliff. From Uloola Falls we took Uloola Track out to Waterfall train station. This section of the walk was less enjoyable as it was all on a fire trail. Not too hot today but I imagine this section of the track would be baking in summer.

Our next major goal is to buy a vehicle and we start on that tomorrow. 

Doug on a small sandstone bluff overlooking 
the Royal National Park

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