Saturday, March 2, 2013

Where is Minchinbury?

On Wednesday this week, TJ and I checked out of our hostel on Bondi and made our way to the western suburbs of Sydney. The trip was meant to be just over an hour, once we caught a bus to the Bondi Junction train station, took a train to city Central, and then a second train out to the suburbs. Our ultimate destination was Minchinbury, where our friend Ania lives. No one that we mentioned it to along the way had ever heard of it.

The trip ended up taking quite a bit longer because we started it just before rush hour. Every single bus that passed our stop was so full that we only got a wave from the driver as he sped past. After about ten buses and forty-five minutes, we finally flagged down a cab that took us to Bondi Junction, where we started the train journey. We got into town so late that the restaurant where we planned to have dinner was actually closing for the evening, so we ate instead at the local tavern.

Where I grew up, going to the "local tavern" would probably mean stopping at the pub down the street, a hole-in-the-wall next to a grocery store that changes name every few years. In Minchinbury, though, the Lone Pine Tavern was a huge building with multiple seating areas, a play area for kids, an attached bottle shop (with drive-through!), and an extensive menu. TJ tried his first burger with beetroot on it!

After a night of staying up late and catching up, we woke up in the morning and asked the GPS to take us to the Blue Mountains. We spent the morning at the Three Sisters, a beautiful rock formation that everyone in the area flocks to for picture taking.

We took a short hike over to the Three Sisters rocks, which included the "Giant's Staircase." It was easy to get down but tough to get back up!

Leaving the Three Sisters, the afternoon storms were starting to roll in. Our original hiking plans weren't looking quite as promising, so we headed to the best "indoor" place in the area - the Jenolan Caves!

Ania and Sam had packed a great picnic for lunch, so we grabbed a quick bite while we were waiting for our tour of the caves to start.

 Then we packed up and headed into the ground for our tour of the Imperial Cave. Impressive doesn't even begin to describe it.

There was even a river at the bottom of the cavern. With all the rain lately, the river had flooded a few times and prevented the tours from going down that deep. For our tour, the river had receded just enough to let us walk through the mud to view it. 

The rain continued for the rest of the day, but we braved the storms to go out for a mexican dinner at the largest mall in New South Wales. While we were walking around looking for a place to eat, we came across a Max Brenner, a chocolate "bar" here. We couldn't wait to get to dessert!

The next morning, Ania dropped us off at the train station on her way to work so we could start the journey back to the city. It was a wonderful two days with two of the best hosts in the Southern Hemisphere!


  1. I've always wanted to do Australia. Looks like the Sydney area alone is worth the trip.

    1. I could have spent the entire three weeks in Sydney, but TJ insisted that I show him other parts of the country. He's right, the rest of it is awesome, too!

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