Blue Mountains

Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
Trip End Jan 08, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Midweek, I went on my only organised tour of Sydney, though, in fact, it was out of Sydney. I went ot the Blue Mountains. When 'discovered' by Europeans, the Europeans saw the mountains in the distance, perceived them to be blue and hence the name. Genius!

It wasn’t such a long trip, but the mini bus had small seats and so it felt much longer than it really was. The discomfort, though, was worth it. First stop was Flat Rock. It’s a lookout point from where you get your first proper view of the Blue Mountains. There was one snag; there was very fog or very low flying cloud that day, either way the whole of the valley and mountains were obscured. Not to worry, looking at the silver lining, the sight of a mountain valley/gorge seemingly ‘smoking’ was really cool and was probably better than the original view!

Then it was on to Wentworth Falls Lookout Point. Here there was a glorious view of Jamison’s Valley and, fortunately, the weather had cleared up a bit. The object of going to the lookout point was to see Wentworth Falls (a waterfall). However, there was a way down which allowed you to get a closer look at the waterfall. Now, we were warned by the guide that there were steps going down to the falls (approx 230), which meant, of course, that there were 230 steps coming back up. I’d seen (and even swam in) waterfalls up north and I didn’t feel the need to go down and have a look at another one, particularly as I knew I would suffer on the way back up. From where we were, there was a breathtaking view of a valley and you could just make out the waterfall down below. That was good enough for me. Others in the party, however, tried to convince me to go down with them... guess who had the last laugh? They eventually arrived back at the bus, sweaty, out of breath and barely able to walk – I was as fresh as a daisy.

After lunch we made our way to Katoomba, home of Scenic World. It’s difficult to describe exactly what Scenic World is. It basically provides transportation into the valley. There’s a cable car (with a glass floor) that takes you across the valley, providing you with a good look at the highlight of Katoomba: The Three Sisters. The Three Sisters are limestone rocks that stand out at the top of the valley’s edge – they are not dissimilar to the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. Once you arrive on the other side of the valley, there’s a train that takes you into the valley.

Now, let me tell you about this train. It is advertised as the world’s steepest train track. I haven’t been on that many different trains, but I would be inclined to agree. The train was originally used for coal mining – basically bringing coal up the mountain. Therefore, some bright spark felt it wasn’t necessary to build a track that wound its way around the mountain. No. It would be far more efficient to build a straight track. The modern ‘train’ looks like a rollercoaster, but it’s missing a bar to strap you in. Therefore when you start your journey down (to the music of Indiana Jones, I kid you not!), you feel as if you’re about to slide out of your seat/car and smash into the people in front of you. And unlike a rollercoaster, it’s really slow. This meant that you had time to think about the consequences of falling out of the train (or someone falling on top of you). My God! I almost filled my pants on the way down!

Once we got to the bottom, it was a walk through a rainforest. I should have been more impressed, but there seems to be rainforest all over the east coast of Oz, and by this stage, I’d seen a fair few of them.

The day out was rounded off with a cruise back to the CBD. It had been a good trip, not least as it was a chance to get out of the city.
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PaulBB on

Mate, I had a brown trouser experience on that "train" too.

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