Our Blue Mountains Trip NSW
A common connotation with the word ’blue’ is a state of mind that could be summed up as ‘calm’. It is thus very appropriate for the plateaus and gorges found 50 kilometers west of the Sydney CBD to bare a name with the tranquil colour. The ‘Blue Mountains’ actually received their poetic appellation from the blue-gray tinge seen by the observers as they gaze far into the hilly valleys, but the calmness is just as appropriate.
This natural wonder is a signature attraction and a requirement for all the tourists visiting the Greater Sydney. So when a cousin of mine and his family were wrapping up their weeklong stay in Sydney it was an imperative of mine to forgo a day of work and take a drive with a few stop overs at some of the stunning lookouts that make up the Blue Mountains region.
The heart of the Blue Mountains beats within Katoomba in the chest cavity of the Three Sisters (they are joined together after all). But unless you are a local or have done your research you would be forgiven for not knowing the many other veins that traverse through the rest of the wild chassis leading to spectacular locations.
Slithering through the winding road, still some time before Katoomba emerges from the distant point, a small left turn-off not advertised by any tourist billboards leads to our first location. Discovered by my parents by chance some years ago, a further five minute drive took us to the few natural lookout places remaining that are not strangled by the safety grip from our protective nanny-state. I will add Google Map coordinates for each location. The first one is HERE
No fence or big safety signs stare you in the face as you approach the cliff edge. The first noticeable difference emerging from our cars is detected by our lungs. As pure as an unworn wedding dress the air envelops you and washes away any thoughts of the enclosed walls of an office building.
My first thought seeing the gaping cliff sides was an urge to strap an engine powered hang glider and fly to. It was the only place where the crowds were few, and the sound of the native fauna performing was reaching out ears. After soaking in the panoramic views and catching the welcoming sunrays we made our return back to the vehicles, passing a bus of tourists who had just arrived.
Returning to the main road and enduring a short drive further we passed Wentworth Falls station that derives its name from a combination of an early explorer in the area William Charles Wentworth and more alluringly the three-tiered waterfall that marks the area.
The waterfalls were familiar to me from a previous hike I did in the area whose name is dedicated to the famous pioneering naturalist. Charles Darwin walk extends for about 2 hours each way and bares his name from a visit by the man himself back in 1836 as part of the several voyages on the Beagle.
This trip wasn’t meant to be an exhaustive bushwalk; rather we tried to present a holistic view of the Mountains to our visiting relations. Cutting out the gristle and going straight for the desired meat we bypassed the first leg of the Darwin walk with our cars and stopped at a picnic area that was promising a close encounter with the falls. A mild descend was still required, but upon seeing half invalid elderly in front of us, no one dared to grumble at the steep stairs.
The extra wet Summer this year fattened the rush of water and made the viewing that much more impressive. The photos don’t show it but imagining as if the stream is demanding to do it again, there is another smaller drop and then another that plunges the water further down the valley finally feeding the rest of the ecosystem. The waterfall viewing is HERE.
We took a small break for lunch in Leura (strangely meaning ‘lava’ in an Aboriginal language) a town adjacent to Katoomba. The laid back locals I would be guessing comprise of those residents who have been here for some years now as well as those retirees that wanted to escape the bigger Sydney but still keep one foot near the city. Sprinkled with cafes, out of my league artsy shops and hippie-like stores the place was a haven for tourists. When searching for a pub to have some pub lunch, one of us suggests asking the locals. “Ask these locals?” smirkingly my cousin asks pointing at a bus of Chinese students walking past us.
On the way to lunch we spotted a Crimson Rosella dining on some native bushes.
The final leg of our adventure was the Three Sisters. Beautiful they were, but one wonders with all those suitors why they are still single. What I am saying in a tongue in cheek fashion is that the crowds from all the locations we visited that day combined were a fraction of the people ogling at the three siblings. If the overcrowding of tourists cut into our experience, the paid parking was the salt to wounds. With tourist buses hogging the nearby parking we had to park half way down some long street and then pay to see the naturally occurring sandstone formations. Even the apparent Aboriginal dreamtime story about the sisters is a fabrication. The story was created by a local in the 1920’s to add pizzazz and wonder to the site. Nevertheless, the view was still beautiful and the urge to take out the glider resurfaced.
The return leg of our journey was pleasant. There was none of the lethargy that usually accompanies the drive home. I felt refreshed and content.