Spectacular Sculptures at Scenic World

What an amazing hike into the Jamison Valley floor to find a fascinating display of art amongst the flora.  ‘Sculptures at Scenic World’ in the Blue Mountains at Katoomba was truly eye-candy for lovers of art and nature alike.

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We started out on our hike early in the morning, before the tour buses arrived, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  The sweaters were quickly tied around our waists, as we descended down the steep and winding Furber Steps, which were originally constructed in 1908.

We were treated to amazing views across the Valley to the Three Sisters rock formation, and one of the most impressive views of the Katoomba Falls in the Blue Mountains.  We crossed a creek at Witches Leap, and explored Vera’s Grotto at Katoomba Falls Creek.  Once at the bottom, we could walk along the boardwalk and fully appreciate the artists creations.  This is the first time that this type of display has been set up on the Valley floor, and we reckon it won’t be the last time.

There were bronze wombats, and river rocks in wire mesh, colorful clay flowers, and our favourite was by an artist from South Australia – electroplated avocado leaves suspended from a thin wire overhead.  Truly awesome!

The kids enjoyed and appreciated the art exhibit so much more because of the way that it was displayed.  In a naturally beautiful setting.

We rode the ‘Scenic Railway’ back to the top of the mountain, which also happens to be known as the “steepest” railroad in the world!  It is a 415 meter ascent through a cliff-side tunnel and up through an ancient rainforest.  Matt was not comfortable with the mechanics of the ride, but no one was interested in walking back up the mountain!  It was an exciting way to end the adventure.  We were lifted off our seats in every way that day!

Cohen Turns 5 in Oz!

Cohen turned 5 on March 4th and he was so proud to be the first in the family to celebrate a birthday in Australia during our year here!  And it was especially exciting to be celebrating in the Australian warmer months compared to the usual Canadian winter!

Cohen’s birthday “weekend” started on the Friday night with a traditional ‘Sausage Sizzle’ party, with an array of sausages cooked on the barbie!  Invited to the festivities were our friends Fiona and Dave and their little guy Caleb, who brought Cohen his very own ‘Swingball’ game!  The game is similar to ‘Tetherball’, the difference being the ball is a tennis ball attached to the pole, and you use small, hard plastic racquets to hit the ball.

And this is what it looks like when you stand too close to the racket your brother is holding when playing said game of ‘Swingball’!!

Yes, that is the outline of the racquet on Elijah’s cheek!!  Ouch!

Also invited to the Friday night Sausage Sizzle were friends Amelia and Hew and their children Imogen (in Cohen’s class), Annika, and Charlie.  They brought Cohen an awesome Australian book ‘Crocodile Jack’, as well as the most awesome tasting dessert, Caramel Slice!  Cohen and Amelia share the same birthday!  Friends Kim and her son Finn rounded out the guests at the sizzle (Matt had to stay home with Noah unfortunately) – and they brought over a great little child size whoopi cushion (thanks guys!!), and a ‘Pot Head’!  In Canada we call these ‘Chia Pets’!  Our Pot Head is growing nicely in our kitchen window!  Thank you for that!

Cohen’s birthday gift from us was a surprise trip to the Sydney Aquarium on the Saturday of his “birthday weekend”!  We took the train to Sydney and grabbed fish and chips in Darling Harbour before touring the aquarium.

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The underwater journey through the aquarium was spectacular!  The sharks and stingrays were definitely the highlights, but equally impressive were the clownfish, “massive” Japanese spider crabs, black, white and yellow angelfish, the seahorses, and the lego displays!  The kids even got to touch a bright blue starfish.

The day culminated with a walk up past Hyde Park where preparations were well underway for the evenings annual ‘Mardi Gras Parade’.  Mouths were gaping at the sites – the fish net stockings and sailor suits left little to the imagination (sorry no photos of the costumes)!  The floats pulling into the park were out of this world and the kids were just amazed and transfixed by it all.

On the Sunday, Cohen was very excited to open all of the cards and gifts that were mailed to him from his loving, thoughtful, and generous family back home in Canada!

In the afternoon, he invited his friend Ibrahim over for a playdate and Leina invited her friend Luca, and although it wasn’t the same without his Canadian family and friends, it was still a very unique and memorable birthday!

And the highlight of it all, was that at the Sydney Aquarium, we found………….

“You so totally rock Squirt!  So gimme some fin!” (Finding Nemo, 2003)

Happy Birthday Cohen!