I have spent an astounding 10 months in beautiful Sydney, Australia. As any new Sydney- Sider would know, a must do is the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains is a vast, mountainous area just 50 kilometers West of the City. Known for its sandstone rock formations, waterfalls, astounding valleys, and the ever picturesque Three Sisters – this place has it all. Now, you may say, how can you possibly pass up this opportunity for so long? Well, let’s just say, it was worth the wait.
It was one of those things you say ‘I have to do it’ and just… never get around to doing it. How can I have driven, bussed, backpacked, and walked all over this splendid country and never gone. Well here’s the tale of how I did go, and I did love every second.
So a bright start at 5:00 a.m. let me to take a peaceful bus and train ride to the Central Station in downtown Sydney. I did a tour with a fellow friend from home with Loka Tours – which I recommend very highly and loved! (P.s. Jared you’re rad). Off we set on a bus headed West. Now rush hour was just at its peak, but that’s alright because there was good tunes, cheery passengers, and a fellow friend whom loves to sing and seat dance. Excellent.
Our first stop was into a remote area on the edges of the Blue Mountains to spot some wildlife, and that we did. Kangaroos, kookaburras and a friendly Goanna named George.
Off we set to our next destination, Wentworth Falls and along the way – Jamison Lookout, Princes Rock Lookout, and Rocket Point Lookout. A short drive through the beautiful hillside and vast valleys. Now, we were warned there would be a little walking involved, so I wore my hiking shoes and comfortable attire. But on another note, it was also 38 degrees outside. So that called for a purchase of a 1.5 litre water bottle, lots of sunscreen, and my sunnies on. 38 degrees sounds lovely, if your a snake looking to sun yourself (and we saw some of those), but for a Canadian, in a rainforest, climbing hundreds of stairs, and chatting all the while, things got sweaty.
Off we headed down from the valley into Wentworth falls, down the numerous stairs, lookouts, and into the picturesque valley. We walked alongside the rock cliffs and walkways, the lush greenery was a welcome sight, and the numerous extremely dangerous spiders such as the dozen funnel web spiders, and creepy crawlies we saw which just made the journey that much more thrilling.
Once we reached the falls, after many lookouts, and peaking through the trees – with a sigh we took in the views and dipped our toes, splendid. Around the rock ledge we walked to take in another panoramic view from a neat vantage point.
Back up we went, to walk behind the falls and face yet another waterfall. The amount of waterfalls I have seen this year is astounding, more than I ever have in all my years – and this pleases me to no end.
We clambered back up the stairs with many puffs, groans, and buckets of sweat emerging from our pores. Suddenly I was very aware of the weather, and how hungry I was. We got back and sat in the shade (something seemingly scarce that day) for some lunch of massive ham sandwiches, an apple, and Lamingtons (an Aussie favourite that I have adopted).
We all piled back into the van for more sing alongs, and water chugging. Finally the views opened up to the Three Sisters – what a true beauty this is. It is very touristy I will say, but following the snaps of the cameras, and walk around we headed out for a less known place.
The tale of the Three Sisters is:
Three sisters, Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo had a father who was a witch doctor. His name was Tyawan. Long ago there was a Bunyip who lived in a deep hole who was feared by all.Passing the hole was considered very dangerous, therefore whenever Tyawan had to pass the hole in search for food, he would leave his daughters safely on the cliff behind a rocky wall.
One fateful day, Tyawan waved goodbye to his daughters and descended down the cliff steps into the valley. Meanwhile at the top of the cliff, Meenhi was frightened by a large centipede which suddenly appeared before her. Meenhi took a stone and threw it at the centipede. The stone continued on its journey and rolled over the cliff, crashing into the valley below which angered the Bunyip. The rocky wall behind Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo then began to split open and the three sisters were left stranded on a thin ledge at the top of the cliff. All the birds, animals and fairies stopped still as the Bunyip emerged to see the terrified girls. As the Bunyip began to approach the girls, to protect them from harm, their father Tyawan used his magic bone to turn them into stone. Angered by this, the Bunyip then began to chase Tyawan. Becoming trapped, in order to flee from the Bunyip, Tyawan changed into a magnificent Lyre Bird, yet in the process dropped his magic bone. Tyawan and his three daughters were now safe from the Bunyip.
Once the Bunyip had disappeared, Tyawan returned in search of his magic bone, yet this was never to be found. The Lyre Bird has been searching for this magic bone ever since. Remaining in rock formation, The Three Sisters stand silently overlooking the valley hoping that one day he’ll find the bone and turn them back to former selves.When visiting The Three Sisters, if you listen carefully you may be able to hear the Lyre Bird, Tyawan, as he continues his quest for his lost magic bone.
I am a fan of things that you seldom find other people, not that I am unsocial, I just don’t enjoy battling crowds, or snapping the same photo as every other person and their dog.
Katoomba Falls, now this is a place that makes you say ‘Damnit I hate stairs, but it was worth every step and every second.’ Hopefully my photos will clear up why I say this. But I kid you not, do not go down there if you aren’t physically fit, have water, have bad knees, aren’t ambitious, or are a complainer. Because you would be in for a treat. Its a seemingly harmless 2 kilometer track, so HA, laugh all you want but begin trudging down the mountain side and you will be whistling a different tune. At first you get beautiful views of the Jamison Valley in all its raw glory and proud standing sandstone formations and looming forest. Many lookouts, creeks, boardwalks, and hops over puddles you reach the steepest stairs you have ever walked on. You hobble down those, sweat some more in pure fear of falls and because it’s so humid in the rainforest. Then you come to the base of Katoomba Falls… holy. Soak that scene in.
It’s one of those places that reminds you why you are on this magnificent earth, and when you feel unconquerable, you are reminded just how tiny you are. Panoramic views of Jamison Valley, sandstone cliffs, and then the massive and very impressive Katoomba Falls. Water trickled from the waterfall in a mist like formation making it heavenly after our trot down the mountainside.
Ah yes, so soak all that in for as long as you can, because the walk back up is ‘interesting’ we shall say. Anyways fast forward through the hundreds of stairs, grunts, and calf cramps. You may have just been to one of the best spots in the Blue Mountains. Yay!
We then headed to a local pub for some beers and ciders. It was the nectar of the god’s I swear. That’s where our day ended, not after a few more car sing alongs, and Lamingtons.
Blue Mountains is a must, but don’t just stop at the Three Sisters, dig deeper, do some stairs, chug some water, put on your hiker’s and hit the trails. Get in the waterfalls, have some laughs, have a few close calls to falling down a mountain side, and get close to some of the deadliest creatures in the world. After all, this is the great Aus.
Blue Mountains – you were rad, and I will always treasure our time.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” — Rachel Carson