Blue Mountains: Part 1

Where do I even begin when talking to you all about the Blue Mountains?

Not a sodding clue if I’m honest!

Photos, although they are good (even with my limited photography skills!), just don’t do justice to quite how beautiful, serene, idyllic, tranquil, vast and whatever other adjectives you can think to throw in there to describe how phenomenal the mountains are. Despite having visited the mountains a week or so ago now I am still lost for words when trying to describe them.

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I don’t even feel it would be much use to tell you about the two days I spent there, but I shall try and do my best! (Brace yourselves people, this could be a long one!)

As part of the deal with booking through BUNAC/Work N Holiday we all received a voucher entitling us to two nights free at the YHA hostel in Katoomba. Not one to turn my nose up to anything free, I thought I’d better make the most of this opportunity! So myself and plenty of others from the BUNAC group booked ourselves into the hostel for the nights of 14th and 15th November.

In order to make the most of our time there six of the girls – Lorna, Verity, Nikki, Zoë, Alanna and Becky – and I booked a day tour that left Sydney at 7.20am on Friday 14th November that would take us on a few bush walks throughout the day, as well as ensuring we saw as many of the key landmarks as possible. After a slightly tense moment at 7.22am (where the final two of our number were running a bit late so potentially weren’t going to make it on to the tour) we eventually all got on the minibus and began our journey to the Blue Mountains.

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I think it would be fair to say that our driver and tour guide for the day (whose name I have unashamedly forgotten) didn’t like us. Maybe it’s because we were a bit late and delayed the whole group. Maybe he just saw a giggly group of girls and couldn’t be bothered with us, who knows! Truth be told I wasn’t the biggest fan of him either, but he did do a very good job of showing us what we wanted to see so I can’t grumble too much!

After about two hours of driving (and a quick stop for breakfast along the way!) we came to our first point of call for the day – Lincoln’s Rock.

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As views go this one was pretty epic, and windy! It really was breathtaking, and instantly made me realise how tiny we and our little lives are in comparison. Problems are soon forgotten, and in fact they hardly seem like problems at all when they’re put into such perspective. Living in the UK, with all the hustle and bustle and almost a different take on beauty it’s easy to forget that places like the Blue Mountains exist in this world.

It was here where our tour guide told us a few introductory things about the Blue Mountains, such as they are referred to as the Blue Mountains because from a distance they look blue. Who knew, right?! 😉 It is a bit weird though because up close the trees do look green, but because of the eucalyptus in the trees they look blue from afar, which is pretty cool. They are also the longest mountain range in the world as they span all the way from Cairns to Sydney.

From Lincoln’s Rock we then made our way to near Wentworth Falls where we embarked upon our first bush walk. This involved walking downhill a lot, and we were very aware that all that goes down must come up, but when we saw the views along the way it was very clear it was going to be totally worth it.

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Getting to the falls was almost inconsequential, as along the way our guide informed us about the local wildlife (there’s a bird that echoes mobile phone ringtones!) and told us which flowers to suck on if we got lost and thought we might die (go for the nectar ones, good source of energy!).

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Zoë was lucky enough to be decked out in Aboriginal make up…

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(Just FYI, the stripes on the cheeks mean a person is sexually active…!)

Like I said, getting to Wentworth Falls was almost inconsequential…almost! I got to paddle in the falls, which was as simple as it sounds but it totally made my day! 🙂

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By this point, despite having done what felt like a lot, it was still only about 11.30am and so even though it felt like lunch time it most definitely wasn’t according to our guide! Instead we were taken on a short drive to see the Three Sisters.

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I’m not going to lie to you, by this point my stomach had taken over and I was beginning to get a bit hangry. (Hungry + Angry, for those of you who didn’t know!) However, despite my stomach attempting to dictate my day and mood by this point it was still so easy to marvel at the Three Sisters, admiring their beauty and simply gawp at how such things exist in this world. They really are incredible, and like I said before, no words or pictures could ever do them justice.

Believe it or not, after the Three Sisters it still wasn’t time for lunch! Instead we went on a drive around the local area to see some of the damage caused by a recent bushfire. Believe it or not, natural bush fires are simply part of the circle of life out in the Blue Mountains and should occur naturally every few years to burn away dead bark and all sorts of other rubbish, allowing a new cycle of life to begin for all the trees and plants.

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However, start a bushfire yourself and you will receive the same prison sentence as you would if you murdered someone, because that is effectively the same thing. A town only half an hour away from where we were was evacuated over the weekend because of a nearby bushfire and the danger it posed.

After this short drive I’m happy to say it was then lunch time! This passed without any great incident, but did involve everyone performing my new favourite dance – the fly swatting routine. There were flies everywhere! So much so I committed an almost cardinal sin and ate my lunch in the bus, much to the dismay of our driver!

After lunch we went on another bush walk, this time starting at the Three Sisters look out point and around the Katoomba Falls, and involving a 1,000 step descent.

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Once again we were treated to some absolutely stunning views…

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And once we got to the bottom of the 1,000 steps we were faced with two choices: climb back up, or take the worlds steepest railway back up. Three guesses what we opted for… 😉

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Why would we decline the opportunity to go on the worlds steepest railway?! At an incline of 52 degrees it’s more than a little bit bonkers but provided us with some even more amazing views on the way back up, and even went through one of the mountains…which wasn’t that exciting in reality as it was just like going through a tunnel! But even so, I went through a mountain! My only complaint would be the Indiana Jones music at the beginning was a little unnecessary and made it a bit tacky and touristy, but maybe I’m just a spoil sport!

And that was the end of our tour! Our guide was more than happy to drop us off at our hostel in the town of Katoomba, where we were quick to check in, gain the relevant useful information about the local area and amenities and then shower! Having done all this exploring on the hottest day of the year it was fair to say we were all in desperate need of a shower!

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