Three Sisters – Blue Mountains

The Three Sisters is a rock formation of three sandstone peaks in the Blue Mountains National Park.


Three Sisters

The three rock formations, which are located at Echo Point, Katoomba, are over 900 metres high. The highest is 922 metres, the other two are 918 and 906 metres.

The rocks were formed and shaped by wind and rain eroding the soft sandstone rock.


Three Sisters

There is a Aboriginal legend attached to the rock formation. Legend has it that there were three beautiful sisters Gunnedoo, Meehni and Wimlah. The sisters had fallen in love with three brothers from another tribe. Tribal law forbid them to marry, so the brothers planned to capture the sisters and make them their brides. This caused a major battle between the tribes. To protect them a tribal elder turned the sisters to stone. His plan was to turn them back to life after the battle but he was killed and no one had the power to turn them back so they remained as stone.

This story has been disputed by Dr. Martin Thomas in his book The Artificial Horizon: Imagining the Blue Mountains (2003), who states that the legend was created by a non-aboriginal local to drum up interest in the rock formation.

Either way it is still an interesting story.

Princes Rock Track – Blue Mountains National Park

The Princes Rock track in the Blue Mountains National Park offers stunning views over Wentworth Falls.


Wentworth Falls

This historic track was built in 1868 for a visit by Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred – hence the name. It has been used by sightseers ever since.



Princes Rock Track

The track is well maintained and is less than a kilometre long, so it is popular walk for visitors that have limited time or are not willing to commit to longer walks.

It is a 20 minute return walk to Princes Rock Lookout, which offers views of Wentworth Falls.

The track begins at the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area, at the end of Falls Road.



Princes Rock Lookout

The Hunger Games: The Exhibition

The Hunger Games: The Exhibition is currently on at ICC Sydney until February 5th.

After successful seasons in New York City and San Francisco an exhibition based on The Hunger Games film series is now in Australia and on at the International Convention Centre Sydney in Darling Harbour.

After stepping into the exhibit area visitors are welcomed with a video message by Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket) in character and then as herself as she introduces the exhibition.


Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) costume – The Hunger Games. Designer: Judianna Makovsky

After the video welcome the doors open and visitors can move at their own pace through 7 themed areas, including District 12, Tribute Train, The Capitol, Making the Games, District 13, Katniss’s Journey, and Fan Gallery.

There are over a 1000 props and costumes from the four films (The Hunger Games [2012], The Hunger Games: Catching Fire [2013], The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 [2014], The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2 [2015]).

Highlights include ‘The Girl on Fire’ dress, the Mockingjay dress, the Mockingjay armour, Katniss’ wedding dress and her hunting bow.


Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) costume – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Designer: Trish Summerville and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) costume – The Hunger Games. Designer: Judianna Makovsky


Mockingjay Dress – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Designer: Trish Summerville and Mockingjay Armor – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. Designer: Kurt and Bart


Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) hunting costume – The Hunger Games. Deisgner: Judianna Makovsky and Katniss’ Wedding Dress – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Designer: Trish Summerville


Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) & Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) costumes – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Designer: Trish Summerville

There are also several hands-on interactive activities including an interactive map of Panem and a stunt choreography challenge.

At the end there is an extensive gift shop with a variety of Hunger Games souvenirs. I purchased the Mockingjay fridge magnet.

Tickets are available online from Ticketek or at the venue.

May the odds be ever in your favour!


Sydney Tower Buffet

Sydney Tower Buffet is a revolving self-serve buffet restaurant offering stunning views of Sydney’s cityscape.


Champagne cocktail at Sydney Tower Buffet

Two friends and I went for lunch on the 31st December to end the year. Lunch is from 11:30 am to 2pm and dinner is from 5pm to 9pm.

Each dining session is 1.5 hours. Not to worry it only takes 70 minutes for the restaurant to complete one rotation, so diners can enjoy 360 views of Sydney’s cityscape.

On a clear day you can even see as far as the Blue Mountains.




The restaurant serves more than 50 international dishes, that includes modern Australian, Chinese, Italian, Japanese and Thai.

A highlight are the speciality native Australian meats. At our seating there was emu and crocodile chipolatas and kangaroo rump.

There are also extensive salad, seafood and dessert bars.


Crocodile and Emu chipolatas

Entry to the restaurant is via the reception and lift access on level 4 of the Westfield Sydney shopping centre.

The Sydney Tower Buffet is located on the tower’s second level. The Sydney Tower stands at 309 metres (1,014 ft) and is the second tallest tower in the southern hemisphere.

Although Auckland’s SKY Tower is taller, Sydney’s main observation deck, Sydney Tower Eye, on level 4, is 50 metres higher than the SKY Tower’s. Note: Sydney Tower Buffet is not affiliated with Sydney Eye Tower. This is a separate attraction. Both businesses offer stunning views.

There is also an à la carte revolving restaurant 360 Bar and Dining located on level 1 of the tower and on level 3 is STUDIO, an event space.

Sydney NYE 2016

I am not normally one to make a big deal about celebrating New Years but this year I was in Sydney, Australia, so I took in the fireworks on the Sydney Harbour.


Sydney sees the New Year in 2 hours behind my home country of New Zealand.

For 2016 NYE two friends and I went on Beyond the Wharf’s New Year Eve Cruise aboard the Sydney Ferries’ historic Lady Northcott.

Lady Northcott, is the oldest Lady ferry still in service. It was launched in 1975 and is predominantly used on the Mosman and Taronga Zoo services.

The large green and yellow ferry weighs 366 tons and can travel at a speed of 13 knots.

We checked in outside the AMP Building on Alfred Street and were given yellow wristbands – a great memento for the night.



After boarding the ferry the boat cruised around the harbour, participating in the Harbour of Lights Parade and offering views for the 9pm family fireworks and midnight fireworks.

The Harbour of Lights Parade began at 9.15pm and selected vessels that were illuminated by rope lighting travelled around the harbour, from Goat Island to Cockatoo Island and back.


Cruising past the Sydney Opera House – check out the crowds!


Cruising Sydney Harbour


Harbour of Lights Parade


Harbour of Lights Parade

A cruise on the Harbour gives you amazing views as the fireworks illuminate the night sky around the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The two firework displays featured an estimated 7 tonnes of fireworks, which included 12,000 shells, 25,000 shooting comets and 100, 000 individual pyrotechnic effects.


Midnight fireworks – Sydney Harbour


Midnight fireworks – Sydney Harbour Bridge


Midnight fireworks – Sydney Opera House

This cruise option was more family friendly, as there was no alcohol or smoking onboard. It was also an opportunity to save a little bit more money and have flexibility as it was BYO picnic.

We brought early bird tickets for $350. Normally $399.

If you get the opportunity it is worth spending New Years in Sydney at least once in your lifetime. Put it on your bucket list!

Happy New Year and all the best for 2017. Make it your year!

Ulumbarra Theatre Bendigo

The Ulumbarra Theatre is a performing arts complex in Bendigo, Victoria that is housed in the old Sandhurst Gaol.


I visited as part of the Sandhurst Gaol Tour. Tours are on Tuesdays at 11am and Saturdays at 2pm. Bookings are essential, book online or through the Bendigo Visitor Centre.

The Sandhurst Gaol opened in 1863. It was designed around the pentonville prison model where the wings radiate from a central tower. It operated as a prison until the First World War when it was used as a military detention centre. It later operated as the HM Bendigo Training Prison from 1954 until its closure in 2006.




In June 2013 work began on the 25.8 million dollar project to transform the historic prison into a state-of-the-art theatre complex.  The theatre officially opened on 17th April 2015. It is amazing how they have combined the historic walls of the prison with modern architecture.

The Ulumbarra Theatre includes a 950-seat theatre, music, drama and dance studios, and a commercial learning kitchen. Students from Bendigo Senior Secondary College use the facilities including the kitchen for hospitality classes and other areas for performing arts classes.



The word ulumbarra (pronounced u-lum-ba-ra) means gather together or meeting place in the language of the Dja Dja Wurrung people.

The theatre is located at 10 Gaol Road, Bendigo, between the Bendigo Senior Secondary College and the Tom Flood Sports Centre.

Bendigo Joss House Temple

Bendigo Joss House Temple is a Chinese place of worship located in north Bendigo, approximately 150 km (93 miles) north west of Melbourne.


The temple is located on Finn Street. It is open everyday from 11am-3pm. Adults are $6, concession $5, child $4, family $18. Combined tickets with the Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram can be purchased. If taking the tram, disembark at Joss House Temple stop and follow the red footpath.

It is believed that the Joss House was built in the 1870s for the Chinese Masonic Society. The temple is one of seven that was built to serve the Chinese miners who moved to Bendigo during the goldrush. It is the only surviving temple in Victoria from the goldrush period.

The complex contained a caretaker’s residence, Temple and Ancestral Hall. The building is made from handmade painted red bricks. The red symbolises happiness, strength and vitality.

The temple is dedicated to Guan-Di (Kwan Gong), who was the god of war and prosperity.

After purchasing tickets a volunteer guide will show visitors around the temple explaining the history of the temple, Chinese culture and the Chinese people’s connection with Bendigo and the goldfields.