Published: August 11th 2006August 11th 2006
Cockatoos waiting for the clouds to roll through.
We decided to get out of town to celebrate our 9th anniversary. Even though the blue mountains are only a few hours away, we haven't yet had the chance to visit!
We found our delightful B&B in Katoomba just a short walk away from the Three Sisters rock formation which draws all sorts of tour busses to Katoomba. It was a rainy evening, but we decided to brave the wet and cold anyway. The entire rock face was beautifully lit for the evening, but since it was only about 5 degrees, we headed back to our B&B to enjoy the central heating!
Saturday was a dreary, rainy day. It was so foggy, we could barely see the rock formations from the lookout that morning. We spent a little time picking up a picnic lunch in town before parking the car and heading out for our first bushwalk of the weekend. We started at the Three Sisters and descended the "giant stairway" part way down the cliff face. We knew it was a long way, but my calves and knees certainly let me know exactly how far down it was once we had made it to the bottom of the
Catching a glimpse of Wentworth Falls through a hole in a stone wall
860 steps! The steps were partly steel, and partly carved into the side of the cliff. The skies had cleared a little, and the first part of our level walk was quite nice along a fairly deserted track. We had several views out over the Jamison Valley. We thought we had descended a long way (it was actually about 400-500m), but we had barely stepped into the valley. There were beautiful coloured cliffs surrounding the valley on all sides. It was a beautiful sight. The valley was entirely green and untouched - making it a World Heritage Site.
The walk took us along underneath the Three sisters and along the edge of the valley for 3 km. We did start to get rained on, and sat by the side of Katoomba Falls huddling under our umbrellas, but enjoying it nonetheless. The quiet solitude was beautiful.
By the time we reached "Scenic World" just outside the national park, we had the choice of heading up the Ferber Steps, or taking the world's steepest railway up the side of the cliff. There really wasn't a choice... we loaded onto the railcar sitting back at a 45 degree angle! As we
The base of Katoomba Falls, halfway along the Dardanelles pass, between the Giant Stairway and the Furber Stairs.
headed up the 52 degree slope, we needed to brace ourselves against the seat in front to prevent us from falling forward. It was well worth NOT going up the steps.
At the top, there was a tourist trap, but there was also a bird feeder, and wild cockatoos, rosellas and king parrots. We had a chance to feed the rosellas and parrots, but were warned over and over again by the train operators not to feed the cockatoos - they may look pretty, but they will take your finger off!
We walked back along the clifftop and enjoyed incredible views out over the Jamison Valley. We arrived back to the car more than an hour after our parking permit had run out, but we got lucky :) We were a little wet and cold by this point, so it was nice to head back to our B&B and heat (sorry to keep bringing that up... but central heat doesn't exist at home in Copa!) We had dinner at a small seafood restaurant and by chance, met up with another couple on exchange, Rick and Cathy!
After a good night's sleep, we headed back out on Sunday
Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley
Banks of fog drifted across the valley then breezed up the cliff faces. The sun occasionally burned its way through the clouds producing breathtaking views.
for another short walk before heading back to the real world. We stopped at Wentworth Falls and enjoyed another walk down into the valley. Wentworth Falls is beautiful - a tall, wispy kind of fall all the way into the valley. Further along our walk, we decided to take a short detour to the Den Fenella lookout - this took us down into a very steep and isolated gorge. It was like stepping back in time - into the rainforest. It was beautiful.
We are now one third of the way through this teaching term... and this little weekend trip has made the time fly. It's really easy to put in a full week's work when you've had a weekend away.
There are more photos below