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Daytrip to the Blue Mountains


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When I woke up this morning I suddenly realized that our “adventure” here in Australia is almost over. Tomorrow we are already flying to another place. 5 weeks of traveling has gone by so quickly, but we still have 2 more days, so we better make the most of it.

Today we are going to visit the Blue Mountains, something I am looking forward to for quite some time now. I have read so much about it and I am a bit curious if it’s all true.

We quickly have breakfast and it is already a little after 7 AM when we arrive at our pick up point, which is the Holiday Inn hotel just across the street of ours. Talking about the best spot ever!

It seemed like we were the only ones there, but after a few minutes of waiting, Tania went for a closer look and found our bus waiting a few meters before the hotel.

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We jumped inside and I was glad to see that the bus wasn’t even half full. Talking about a good sign, because we expected lots and lots of people. Our driver and guide for the day was still a bit busy with doing all the paperwork for the people who were already on the bus and after a few minutes, he turned to the both of us and said good morning with a big smile!

He quickly explained that he wanted our phone number for emergency reasons. Today was going to be a very busy day at the mountains and he wanted to have a backup when people for one reason or another get separated from the rest of the group. Quick thinking I must say and an excellent idea, but there goes my hope for having a relaxing day at the mountains!

As soon as we gave him all the needed information, a few others stepped on the bus as well, they also filled in the paperwork and then our guide announced that we still had to pick up a few others. We were going to have a “full house” today.

When the last passengers were on the bus, Lars introduced himself properly. He gave us a little explanation about himself and his life and it felt so good to have once again someone talkative and motivated.

From Kings Cross we drove out of the centre of Sydney, passing the site of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. I thought we were going to have a photo opportunity here because I saw lots of small busses already being parked, but we just made a quick tour around the place and then we drove onwards in the direction of the mountains. Maybe this was for the best as well, because the weather wasn’t all that good to tell you the truth. It started to rain a bit. Needless to say, I was glad to be still inside and hoped that things would clear up as soon as we arrived at our destination. Fingers crossed!

Our first real break was alongside the banks of the Nepean River about an hour and a half later and Lars made use of the opportunity to collect money for the different rides of “Scenic World” .

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This place is located at the edge of the small town of Katoomba, smack in the middle of what is called Australia’s World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains area. WOW, I am even impressed when I read these words! Tell me the truth, who doesn’t like the sound of that!

I don’t know if you can call this a theme park, but the main idea is that you have the possibility to take a few “scenic” rides and while you have kind of an adrenaline rush, you’ll get an amazing view of the entire area at the same time.

When booking this tour with Oz Trails about a month before our big trip started, we had the intention of walking all the way down into the valley, but unfortunately we don’t have enough time to do that, so instead we go for all the three rides. We came here to soak up all the beauty around us, so what better way to do that!

Lars mentioned earlier on that today was one of the busiest days of the year and he wasn’t wrong. Upon our arrival at the scenic skyway, we immediately noticed the long queue, but there was no way out of it … we had to wait, just like all the other tourists. Luckily for us, Lars joined us for a while and talked about lots of interesting things like bush fires and so on. This made the time go faster. When we were almost at the entrance of the cable car, we said “adieu” to Lars. He was going to drive our bus to the other side of the valley, together with the people who hadn’t signed up for the rides.

We were the first ones to get into the cable car and looked for a great spot to see the infamous “three sisters”. Lars already told us to look out for the mountains as well as the Katoomba Falls. But once inside, we noticed it was the one or the other. We both chose the mountains and what a sight it was. Magnificent is the only word I can think of. This ride alone is worth it all. Never thought of saying something like this, especially when you have to consider hanging 270 meters above ground in nothing else but a metal box? Scary thought, not!?

The ride itself is very short and just moments after, we arrive at the Scenic World Top Station. It all goes very fast now. Lars is waiting for us at the exit and after a quick toilet stop, he guides us to the next ride, making sure that everyone is keeping up. Luckily he is very tall so following him isn’t that big of a problem.

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Our next ride is the Scenic Cableway which leads us straight to the Jamison Valley. It is said to be the steepest one there is in the entire Southern Hemisphere and the descent alone is about 510 meters. It sounds all so exhilarating!

We have to wait in line for a while, but that isn’t too bad, because from here we have an awesome view on the three sisters. I just can’t get enough of the scenery. It truly is very beautiful!

While “diving” into the valley, we catch a glimpse of the Katoomba Falls, but just like all the other waterfalls we saw lately, it is very dry. The scenery is still very beautiful though, we even see Mount Solitary in the far distance and it is fun watching the forest coming closer and closer as we make our descent.

It takes a few seconds to get out of the cable car, but when the group is back together, we get a minute to soak up all the beauty that is around us.

We’ve already seen a few rainforests, so for me and Tania it isn’t something entirely new, but the others surely need that minute to get used to the idea of standing in the middle of a tropical rainforest. Lars takes us all on a small walk and talks intensively about all the trees and plants that surrounds us, one moment Tania even spotted a black bird. How the heck did she saw that in such a dense forest … good eyes if you tell me! :)

The walk itself isn’t that long and after about half an hour, maybe a little bit longer (who’s checking time ??? ), we arrive at the Scenic Railway. Once again we have to wait in line, but the views are still amazing, so who cares!

This last ride is kind of exhilarating not only because it is a 310 meter descent, but also because of the inclination. This is about 52 degrees, talking about something insane! But unfortunately we aren’t coming down with it, we are pulled up … it still is fun, but I am sure that going down would have been more “thrilling”!

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Once back on top again we go in search of the rest of our group, which isn’t that easy because there is a big crowd and I am just so happy we came early. As soon as Lars arrives again with the bus, we are all good to go.

Our next stop is just half an hour later in the small town of Leura. Because we don’t have so much time to linger along, Lars quickly drives us through the main street while he gives all kinds of tips / information on where to find what kind of food. This is such a good idea. It gives all of us exactly the idea what we wanna try out and in the mean time it is supposed to make sure we all get served quicker. Or at least that is the whole idea. Me and Tania weren’t really in the mood to have an extensive meal. We found a cosy little café which had a deal on pumpkin soup. One of my favorite dishes!

While Tania is securing a seat outside on the “patio”, I am going inside to place the order. But it takes just soooooo damn long, it is more than obvious that the staff isn’t really up to serving so many tourists. After what looked forever, I finally get my order taken. As long as it took to order the food, waiting for it is even worse! But when we finally had given up hope, the smell of pumpkin is all around us, and what a delight. It was hot, it was more than yummy to say the least! :)

To our surprise, we still had some time left to check out the main street and when we passed the local bakery, we couldn’t help but go inside. It all looked so delicious and because we both have a sweet tooth, we left the place with some yummy treats.

But sadly enough it is already time again to leave and luckily everyone is on time, such a relief after our last trip.

Next up in our program are another set of falls. This time around we are going to visit the Wenthworth Falls. We don’t have such a long bus ride ahead of us, because the falls are situated just outside Leura.

The walk down towards the Princess Rock Lookout and the falls isn’t that difficult, it’s just one big, in an unique kind of way, handmade stair with lots and lots of steps. The view of the falls is quite impressive, but yet again, there seems to be a water problem. Oh well, we are slightly getting used to it by now.

Before we head back to the city, we first have a small “detour” at Flat Rock. We are supposed to have a great view at the King’s Tableland, but when we arrive, there is nothing there but a dense fog. Lars quickly explains the meaning of the place, which is a sacred one for the local aboriginal community and after taking a few funny pictures we are out of there. When we are almost at the bus it even starts to rain, such a pity, but I am already glad that we had such fine weather at the Blue Mountains, it certainly made my day! And everything they wrote about the mountains is true, it certainly is a place well worth visiting!

When we drive back towards Sydney, we do this in style. It turns out that Lars has the same taste in music like I do and while Willie Nelson is singing “on the road again”, I get such a good vibe about the whole place and area, it doesn’t even bother me that it’s raining outside. But of course that’s easy to say when you are sitting inside in a warm bus! :)

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Instead of driving the whole way back into the city centre, Lars is dropping us off at a ferry crossing closely situated near the city. With this “cruise” we get the opportunity of entering the city from a totally different angel. We are going to end our day at the Harbour Bridge and I am already looking forward to seeing the bridge from the water.

But first we have to say goodbye to our wonderful driver and guide Lars. He is such a nice person and after he makes sure that we are all safe and sound on the ferry, we wave goodbye and we go onwards to other and new adventures.

We are lucky to find a nice enough seat on deck, away from the cold wind but unfortunately the weather hasn’t changed much since we left Flat Rock. It still looks grey outside and the wind seems stronger now that we are on the water.

Instead of going straight to Circular Quay, we first make a stop at Darling Harbour and after we give way to a giant cruise ship, we are on our way again towards the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, where we arrived about half an hour later.

Now that we are in the vicinity, we take our chance to have a closer look at the Opera House, but with the sun gone, the tiles (if you can call it that???) aren’t as shiny as we saw them a few days ago. We have a quick look inside, and as tempting as the champagne looks like, it is better to have a full dinner than just one glass of liquid.

We still want to have an evening look at the Tower Eye, so instead of wasting our time in search of food, we end up at a small Italian looking place near the waterfront.

From here it is just a small walk to the tower and the best thing is, we made it in time! :)

Once inside, we follow a path which gives more information about the tower and end up at a theatre where we get a 4D movie with lots of icons of Australia and Sydney to be more precise.

Surprisingly enough we still need to take another elevator before we can “enjoy” the many views on the city. Once we get out of the elevator, we suddenly notice that the long queue we survived wasn’t the only one. The observation deck was just filled with people. It was just too crazy for words and I quickly lost hope of seeing a thing let alone take a picture. Talking about bad timing! Instead of coming at night, we should have come in daytime. Oh well, nothing we can do about it now.

After we’ve seen it all, we wait in line to get back down. How many people are up here!? It seems to take hours, but after waiting such a long time, we do get the award of getting down.

We skip the souvenir shop since we had a look at it yesterday and instead of walking to our hotel, we take the metro.

When we arrive back in Kings Cross, we have the dreadful task of reorganising all of our stuff and than it is of to bed. We only have one more day tomorrow and with so many plans, we need a few hours of sleep.

Posted by Ils1976 22:49 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes mountains trees boats rainforest road_trip native shopping walk city friends sightseeing trail group oceania viewpoint ferry_crossing grey_weather

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Comments

Great that you got a much better guide for this tour, after the last one! When we visited Katoomba we only did the Scenic Railway, down and up again. I don't know if the other rides weren't there back then (1999) or if we somehow missed them.

by ToonSarah

Yep, it was a real nice change! :)
I guess the big one was new, but the other once I can't say for sure?

by Ils1976

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