The Blue Mountains
I think I have found my favourite nature spot in Australia.
In 1788 the mountains were named Carmarthen Hills or Landsdowne Hills by Governor Phillip. However because of all the eucalyptus trees, which give off a fine mist from the oil in the leaves in a hot sun, which makes a blue haze, the mountains were renamed The Blue Mountains.
We spent three and a half days in the Blue Mountains and did a variety of activities and all of them were fantastic.
We got to the mountains late the first night so after dinner we watched a film and was ready for the next morning.
We went to a local information centre to ask a few questions and went to a view point close by. The view was breath taking. Trees and hills for miles and miles in every direction. We then headed to a small town the other side of the mountains where there was a lake we could swim in. We took my big rubber ring and Laurent swung from rope swings and jumped off while I floated around the lake in my ring. It was a lot of fun
especially as the lake was freezing and I only had to put a small part of my body in the lake.
After we had spent some time in the lake we read and sun bathed. We then drove about half way to the next days destination.
We spent the day at Jenolan Caves. An expensive but amazing experience. Jenolan Caves were known to the local Aboriginal population for many thousands of years as Binoomea, "Dark places". European involvement in the area began in 1838, with the first recorded discovery by a local pastoralist, James Whalan. However, according to legend, Whalan was not the first European to set eyes on the caves. That honour goes to James McKeown, an ex-convict and possibly an outlaw, reputed to have been using the caves as a hideout. Over the succeeding years, James Whalan and his brother Charles discovered several openings. The Elder cave was discovered in 1848. It was the first "dark cave" explored. In 1860, the Lucas cave, largest of the current show caves, was discovered by Nicholas Irwin and George Whiting. It was not until 1866 that the caves were brought under direct government control. In 1867, Jeremiah Wilson was appointed
as 'Keeper' of the 'Binda', or 'Fish River' Caves. The Aboriginal word 'Jenolan' (high mountain) was not adopted until 1884.
Before our tour we went for a short walk along the river. Our tour was an hour a half long and we were taking the Lucas Tour. We couldn’t decide which one to do so, after talking to the man at reception we decided on Lucas. This spectacular cave includes the most photographed limestone formation at Jenolan, 'The Broken Column' and displays a wide range of huge cave formations. We walked several flights of stairs to gain access to the Lucas cave. The Lucas Cave's highest chamber, the Cathedral room, shows off high ceilings and acoustics that could rival even the best opera houses in the world and there is a familiar scene – stained glass windows, a pulpit, and a bell tower. If you weren’t thousands of metres below the ground, you might think you had just entered into a weird and wonderful cathedral. After our tour where we saw and learnt a lot we headed back towards the main town and stayed at a free campsite near by.
The next day was our last in the mountains
and we went to Scenic World. Scenic World is a family owned tourist attraction. Originally a coal mining business it is now a very popular tourist attraction.
There are four different rides in the park and lots of lovely walks.
We started our day be going on the Scenic Skyway. Suspended 270 meters above the rainforest floor the 720 meter journey offers spectacular views of the mountains, forest and the three sisters. The three sisters are a rock formation that legend has it used to be three sisters who all fell in love with three brothers from a different tribe. To stop this banned love the local priest but a spell on the girls turning them to stone. He told them when the boys had married and the girls could find love in their own tribe he would turn them back. Unfortunately he died before he was able to, leaving the sisters as stones for ever. The glass floor in the middle also helped with the 360 degree views.
Once we reached the other side we decided to do the hike which lead to Katoomba Falls, walking down through the rainforest. Unfortunately there hadn’t been much rain recently so the
waterfall wasn’t as powerful as it can be. We continued following the path and found ourselves at the bottom of the scenic railway.
The scenic railway is a 52 degree incline railway going up/down the mountain
side. The Railway experience descends 310 metres through a cliff-side tunnel, emerging into ancient rainforest at the Jamison Valley floor. The glass roof adds to the viewing experience. The custom designed carriages allowed us to adjust our seats position up to 20 degrees! The ‘Cliffhanger’ ride at a steep 64 degree incline, or the ‘Laid Back’ option. You could of course keep your chair at the original 52 degrees. Once we got to the top we crossed over on the Skyway and did the hike in the other direction towards Echo Point. Once we reached the Point the view was spectacular. We could see for miles and it was beautiful. We headed back to the skyway and across the gorge again.
Once we were back in the main part of Scenic World and after a quick mid afternoon snack we headed down the railway. At the bottom we reached the scenic walkway. 2.4km of elevated boardwalk immersed in the Jurassic Rainforest. We were lucky
enough to have arrived on the first day of the sculptor trail that was around the walkway. It’s the seventh year for the sculptor trail at Scenic World. There are 38 different prices of artwork all representing things such as pollution and global warming.
We went back up the the top of the mountain using the scenic cableway. The 545 metre journey gently descends into the Jamison Valley and also returns visitors to the top of the escarpment. The Cableway’s fully enclosed cabin is a unique vantage point for viewing the Three Sisters, Orphan Rock, Mt Solitary and Katoomba Falls.
We took the railway down and up again before leaving the park. We then drove to the local town and used the laundrette before leaving the blue mountains.
The experience in the mountain was fantastic. We did a range of different activities and all of them were fantastic and suitable for any one!
Tot: 1.023s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 14; qc: 35; dbt: 0.0107s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb