Snakes, waterfalls & lots of trekking - Blue Mnts

Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
Trip End Apr 01, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Sunday, January 8, 2012

We get a two hour train out of Sydney to Katoomba which is the main town in the Blue Mountains. We stay at the Flying Fox hostel and the owner of the hostel was so enthusiastic on the area he had us out trekking in less than an hour after we arrived.  We walked out of town, down past many waterfalls to the bottom of a canyon.  I felt a little underprepared for the trekking as in the haste to start the trek had forgotten to put on insect repellent and was still wearing shorts.  I feel happier in trousers if I think I might encounter a snake – I know there is no logic but there you go.  We walk through the bottom of the canyon until we get to a very long staircase that goes up the cliff side to the view point over the Blue Mountains.  It's a steep climb but the views are incredible.  The only thing we have to mention is that the Blue Mountains aren’t really blue mountains. It’s more like looking over a canyon filled with trees, the eucalyptus trees give off the blue haze and all the towns in the 'blue mountains’ are located around the edge of the canyon.  You can see for miles and it is a scary thought that if you keep going that way there is literally nothing apart from outback in that direction.  We encounter more and more people the further up we get, they have just come from their tour bus and aren’t really prepared for any walking so struggle in the heat.  We get to the Three Sisters viewpoint which is a red rock formation on the edge of the canyon and then go to Echo Point for a view of the whole canyon. 

I wasn’t a massive fan of the hostel we’re staying at mainly due to the fact that there is only two bathrooms for the whole hostel which means there is always a queue.  But I did warm to it after the owner dished out chocolate biscuits and mulled wine in the evening and lit a fire in the back hut – it was nice to see effort being made to make the hostel common areas more sociable – especially as they have banned laptop use between 6pm and 9pm (maybe that’s why we’re behind on the blogs). 

The next day we go to Wentworth Falls again on the recommendation of the owner who also warned us about leeches as it had rained the night before.  As I had trousers on this time, I felt a lot more comfortable but I did promise Jonny that I would watch for leeches climbing up his legs as he was braver than me and went for shorts.  We got the train to Wentworth Falls station – when leaving the station we were called over by the Station Manager... we were intrigued as to what he wanted but he turned out to be extremely friendly and provided us with his hand drawn maps of the area. Very much appreciated. We walked through a reserve to get out of town and to start the walk around the falls.  It was called the Charles Darwin walk as it was his path when he took his trip away from the coast and into the outback.  For me, this was the worst part of the walk as there was lots of long grass on either side of the narrow path and plenty of dead leaves and twigs across the path which made snake watch a bit harder.  But Jonny did the honourable thing and went first which I hoped would scare away in snakes for me.  We saw plenty of little lizards and two possible snakes, one of which looked quite like the Eastern Brown snake but they move off quickly and it’s really best not to think too much about the possible wildlife all around us. We finally make it to Wentworth Falls which falls over the edge of the canyon but at this time of year wasn’t too big and so the water blew in the wind creating rainbows – the views were good.  We then chose the National Pass walk to do as this path was cut into the cliff side and so we got away from the crowds but still had some height to look over the canyon.  Turns out this walk was amazing, the views of the waterfalls and canyon were incredible, we saw a water dragon and black cockatoos and it was a clear path so I wasn’t so bothered about snakes.  Then we had to climb out of the canyon using more steps cut into the canyon cliff side but there was a nice cafe at the top waiting for us which helped us recover from the climb.  That was a very enjoyable few days spent in the outback (or at least close to it) without any spider or snake bites.     
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