Edit Blog Post
Published: July 23rd 2009
Just in case you needed proof that we really did make it to the Blue Mountains! That's my nan Betty on the left, Jeanie in the middle and me on the right :-)
At the tail end of yesterday, I was starting to come down with a cold and was dreading the fact that I might have swine flu - not because I'm scared of the virus but more the fact that I might not be allowed back into New Zealand! By this morning I was confident it was only a bad head cold but it really couldn't have come at a worse time as today we were heading off to the Blue Mountains. I made sure I packed an entire toilet roll to keep my runny nose at bay and set out determined not to let it spoil my day.
As well as it being an opportunity to do a bit more sightseeing, I was particularly looking forward to today's trip as I would be spending the whole day with just my nan and her friend Jeanie. We set off earlyish, catching a train from the city centre around 8.30am. The journey took 2 hours with the train line snaking us through the Sydney suburbs and out into the father reaches of the region. I marvelled at how populated the little towns were, given that back in NZ these places would probably
Betty and Jeanie manage a big smile despite the VERY cold wind.
qualify as small cities! It was a double decker train with big windows so we sat upstairs and soaked up the view all the way to Katoomba, the jumping off point for the Blue Mountains.
We had bought a combi ticket which covered us for the train as well as a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus. We picked up our bus tickets and made our way to the first hop-on point. A fiercely cold wind was blowing and we quickly realised we hadn't dressed nearly warmly enough for the day. Before the shivers took ahold of us, a double decker bus arrived and we headed straight upstairs to the front for the best view. The driver doubled as the tour guide and when he suggested we could stay on for a full loop of all the stops to help us plan our trip, it sounded like a great plan. Better to spend an hour in the warm bus than outside freezing our asses off!
The explorer bus picked up and dropped off at each location every 30 minutes except during lunchtime when the buses don't run for an hour. This played havoc with trying to work out the best
The first waterfall on our travels was this pretty display near Katoomba.
places to get off and go for a walk so that we would reach our next bus stop without being stranded for ages in the cold wind. My head was fuzzy and I found it hard to think but eventually I found a route that covered all the things we wanted to see and ensured we would never be more than 10 minutes away from a bus pickup.
First stop was the Katoomba Falls walk. Here we hadf our first glimpse of the Blue Mountains in all their glory courtesy of a strategically placed (and apparently totally natural) lookout. Next we headed down a stepped path leading to the pretty Katoomba Falls. Some of the steps were pretty steep and quite rough too and I was impressed by Betty and Jeanie's agility. I hope I can be that good on my feet when I'm in my 70s and 80s! We then followed the track along the cliff edge to the next bus hop-on point and just a few minutes later were greeted by a single decker bus working the circuit.
Our next stop was at the beginning of a 1 hour walk which again wound us along the
Me and My Nan
The main reason I travelled to Sydney was to spend time with my nan and this day out in the Blue Mountains was perfect :-)
edge of one of the mountains and afforded us some lovely views along the way. By now the sun had come out and warmed the air a little and it was actually a great temperature for a good old tramp. The route was dotted with great lookout points and some examples of local flora including the wattle flower whose bright yellow and green colours inspire the Aussie sports colours. It was a lovely walk and we made it back to the bus stop just in time to hop on to the first post-lunch service.
We stopped off at a few more points of interest, the most worthwhile of which was definitely the view of the Three Sisters rock formation. The Blues Mountains is a nice enough place but there's a lot of flat topped mountains and valleys covered in eucalyptus so the view doesn't vary too much from point to point except here at the Three Sisters. It was a popular viewing spot and was possibly my favourite location of the day after the Katoomba Falls. We made a beeline for the gift shop and stayed a long time just enjoying the warmth of the central heating inside.
Lady Carrington, I Presume?
Jude reckons she could pass for royalty...well, she's got the pose!
I had planned one last 40 minute walk for us down to another waterfall but by now it was getting reasonably late and I figured we would want to be on the train again before darkness sets in from about 5pm. Instead, we stopped off at one last lookout and met a friendly, extremely chatty man and his female friend who knew the area well. He insisted on showing us his favourite viewing point from a little bridge across a very deep crevass in the rocks. I was a little unnerved walking across but anything my fearless nan can do, I can do too! We made our way back to the bus stop but it looked like were were over 5 minutes late and would have to wait a long time. As luck would have it, just a minute later the double decker came sailing around the corner, picked us up and dropped us off in the lovely little town of Leura where we decided to call it a day.
We spent a little time browsing the shops and trying to stay out of the cold breeze before making our way to pretty Leura train station where the train
A favourite spot for honeymooning couples in days of old to enjoy a view of the hazy Blue Mountains. It's all covered in trees now so the lovely view comes courtesy of Betty and Jeanie instead.
also picks up from before Katoomba and then on to Sydney central. My cold had completely knocked me out and I spent most of the return journey snoozing away. Once back in the city we had to catch a local train to the harbour in order to cath the ferry over to Manly. It was a clear, dry night and warm enough for us to stand out on deck and enjoy the city all illuminated like a funfair. It was particularly lovely as the ferry took us past the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, both of which were lit up in white and looked very pretty against the black sky. Back in Manly, it was only a short walk home and I near enough collapsed into bed straight away with fatigue. It was a really enjoyable day but boy did that cold wipe me out!
Tot: 1.353s; Tpl: 0.112s; cc: 16; qc: 29; dbt: 0.0203s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.3mb