I was lucky to be part of 1 of the 26 Travel Counsellors who won an educational of a lifetime to Australia. My first treat started when I checked in at the Qantas desk in Johannesburg. I was flying BUSINESS CLASS! Qantas really knows how to treat their business class passengers. It was such a treat and a really special experience. I arrived a couple of days ahead of the group so that I could spend some quality time with my brother who lives in Chatswood on the other side of the bridge. When I arrived my brother and his wife asked me what I would like to do in the couple of days I was there and I just asked for quality time with them as I knew that when our tour started, I would be doing lots of sightseeing and activities, so they took me to some nice restaurants and the latest movies. We had a rugby party at their home and oh boy, the Aussies were in their element that they won. No worries mate! We still had a huge party afterwards! Jason and Karien dropped me off at the Observatory Hotel on Monday the 7th of October and that is where I met the rest of the group. We stayed at the Observatory Hotel for 2 nights. What a lovely personal hotel! We felt so at home there! On the Tuesday morning we were up early and set off walking to the Opera House which was about 20 minutes walk from the hotel and this is where we learnt the most fascinating details about the design that inspired a young Danish Architect 50 years ago, who pushed the boundaries of creativity and science and put Sydney on the map forever! After another 20 minute walk through circular quay, we made our way toward the Sydney Harbour Bridge to take part in the bridge climb. I never thought for 1 minute that it took such preparation to do the bridge climb, but it took us over an hour before we actually got onto the bridge to commence our 3 and a half hour walk. What an experience! The views were breathtaking. The guide that took us up to the top of the bridge was very informative and for a 3 and a half hour walk, the time sure flew by and before we knew it, we were back down at the bottom of the bridge collecting our memorabilia and heading off for a fantastic evening of more breathtaking views from the rooftop of the Shangri-la and we enjoyed a marvellous dinner hosted by the hotel. When we had finished with dinner, we decided to take in some nightlife and made our way to a local hotspot where we enjoyed being one of the “locals”. Early the next morning, we were met by APT Blue Mountain Tours and transported to Blue Mountains, where we stayed at another one of the 5 star Orient Express Hotels called Lillianfels Blue Mountain Resort and Spa. The accommodation was nothing short of sheer luxury and the staff really made us feel welcome and at home. My roommate and I had hot chocolate in our luxury rooms to get a bit warmer as it was really cold, after which we went for a walk down to the lookout point near the information centre to have a look at the 3 Sisters ( 3 mountains standing next to each other). Our dinner was sponsored by Blue Mountain Tourism and we really enjoyed a wonderful time playing games and learning more about the fascinating area. After a fun evening, it was off to bed as the crisp mountain air finally took its toll on us. We got to sleep in until 9am the following morning before we were transported to Katoomba for a trip down the steepest railway in the world before heading back to Sydney via a visit to Featherdale Farm and a trip past the Olympic Stadium.