Visiting Blue Mountains National Park

Trip Start Jun 01, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Sunday, August 22, 2010

Blue Mountains               22.08.10

Today we got to head out to the Blue Mountains National Park for an excursion. We booked on an organised tour since friends of ours also had planned to do this one. However, as we only booked late last night we ended up on a separate bus to them and only met for a few minutes in the morning. We could have got the train but end the end it was worth it for the experience with our fantastic guide Steve. He gave us tons of info about Ozzie culture and Aborigine culture and beliefs. I would recommend them and they can be found here :

Our first pitstop was for some juice and biscuits in a park along the Parmatta river before heading to the "City of Blue Mountains" which is a trail of villages/towns stretching along the highway to Lithgow farthest out. Along the way we passed some cute little wooden bungalows originally lived in by the mine workers who first came to settle the area.

Our first proper stop was the Kangaroo Street Aboriginal Site, where  we saw a four hundred or so year old carving on rock. As the name suggests it is of a kangaroo. Unfortunately my photo's didn’t come out so clear so with the help of MS paint I’ve done a rough sketch of the roo. Aborigines have laws governing against graffiti, that is, a carving which does not tell a story. The story of this Kangaroo carving is, sadly for him, his death. The kangaroo was being chased which you can tell by the way the tail and legs are stretched out in the drawing. The hunters first knocked him to the ground with a hunting boomerang – which has a different shape to the throwing boomerang which we’re all familiar with. After that the hunters killed the animal with a spear to the heart (also in the drawing). They would then have feasted for a few days, carving in the downtime, before heading onwards. But what’s really clever about these carvings is the drawing orientation. The Aboriginal tribes which used to live in the mountains were a migratory people. The tail points in the direction which they came and the head points in the direction which they were to continue. As such the carving acted as a marker for future travels or travellers. Finally art with function!

After Kangaroo street we were driven up to the scenic Jameson Viewpoint where we got to look over the pristine and beautiful Eucalyptus forests – or as the Aussies prefer, gum trees (the in joke is that they can’t spell the former). Steve told us that there are 93 types of eucalyptus trees in the park but alas we would see no koalas since they live in only 2.

The Blue Mountains “blue” is because some of the oils of the gum tree leaves become airborne, giving the air a blue haze by absorbing the rest of the colour spectrum. Apparently this blue haze also covers a lot of Sydney, explaining the way the city seems to glow sometimes.

We stopped for lunch is the very pretty little town of Leura. There was a large choice of eateries and the group split up for an hour. We opted for a bar that came highly recommended by Steve. The Alexandra Hotel served up a generous dinner of fish and chips with a huge bowl of vegetables. We shared one meal between the two of us!

Following a stroll around the town we hopped back on the bus and opted to go to “Scenic World”. Here we got a view of the three sisters rocky outcrop. We got to go on two cable cars to bring us down to the valley floor. One is pretty steep and the views over the valley were amazing. Then we got to have a cold (it was cold in eternal shade) stroll along the temperate rainforest sheltered from the north winds on the valley floor. There were some amazing tree ferns down there. This rainforest only exists in the shadow of the sandstone cliffs, a few hundred feet and it gives way to the gum trees. An interesting fact about indigenous Australian trees – all of them are evergreen. Any bare branched trees are imports the Brits brought with them.

To get back up from the valley floor we took the funicular railway. This one holds the record for the steepest in the world, at a hair raising 52degrees up the side of the 450m incline (vertical drop of 250m from top to bottom). The funicular runs through a darkened 80m tunnel on its journey. This was so much fun! It was a real, hold on to something now feeling. I just wish we had time to go down as well as up the slope. Maybe next time – anyone want to come over to Oz and give me an excuse to go on it again??

On our way back to “the city” we drove through Olympic Park, which looks amazing by the way. Hard to believe the area and adjoining Bicentennial Park was once wasteland. Apparently, it’s the only purpose built Olympic Games Park in the world which is still growing. Others end up slowly turning to ruins from lack of use. We will be going out there for a nose in the coming weekends I’d say.

To round off our day we were put on a passenger ferry back towards Darling Harbour. We got so see another view of the city skyline and harbour bridge. The scale of the bridge really only dawned on me seeing it towering from a distance. We’ve walked over it a bunch of times and awed of the views from it, but haven’t really marvelled at it. I think its best appreciated from a distance.

Well we had a quick supper in Pontoon in Darling Harbour before returning home (still at the hostel – it’s quiet so I don’t see us bothering with the hassle of an apartment for now). Now to go do the chore of doing’s a tough life. 
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ann markham, co. limk on

loving the photos !!!! xoxo

kate on

if you insist that you "need" someone to go on the funicular railway with you- then i will come over, someone has to do it and i suppose this horrible job must go to me ;)!!

aliandbryan on

You're more than welcome Kate!!! It would be a horrible burden I know... ;-)

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