I have been meaning to produce a travel related blog post on here for quite some time now, but due to my busy Sydney life it has been proving to be a little difficult! Anyway, I have finally got round to posting about a fantastic travel trip that is a must-do when visiting Australia, and that is to visit the Blue Mountains.
As much as I love the great outdoors – I’ll happily walk anywhere and in terms of fitness, I like a good run and work out regularly- my first impressions of a weekend at the Blue Mountains did disturb me a little with thoughts that involved hiking up huge mountains, hiking boots in place, grabbing onto rocks and being freezing cold at the top of the highest peaks (it is Winter in Australia!). However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. There are so many pretty attractions in terms of national parks, waterfalls, historical points of attraction, mountain views and breath taking look-out points that the actual trip to the Blue Mountains however long you stay is one big chilled out trip. That’s how we found it anyway…
There are so many planned trips to the Blue Mountains, which i’m sure are really good and it depends what you are into, but for us personally we hired a car and did the tour ourselves which we found so much better. It allows you to park up at various National Parks and take on the different walking routes past various views. Some of the walks take an hour, some 20 mins, some much longer at 3 hours. It really depends what you are here to see and the time you have. Our first stop was a place called Glenbrook Gorge, which took us through national park up unto a pretty little lake. If you are driving to the Blue Mountains from Sydney City, it’s the first tourist route you come across as you approach. If you have time on your side, make this your first stop off to ease you into the walking and introduce yourself to the incredible views.
The next place we visited was the Katoomba falls and more of the enormous National Parks of the Blue Mountains. We took on a view long, windy walks around the mountain tops which led us to secret waterfalls and hidden away beauty spots that all toured around the magnificent Katoomba Falls waterfalls. Whilst travelling around the area of Katoomba, there are so many beautiful look out points that we made time to stop off at them all, so if you have the time, do you research and plan where they all are around Katoomba and stop off at each one. I reckon we visited approximately 10 look out points in total, each one delivering views out of this world!
When driving through Katoomba, one of the main tourist points and attractions you have to see is The Three Sisters – a remaining formation of rock shaped in three ‘sister’ like figures peeking out of the skyline through the mountains. At night, the landmark gets floodlit, and looks amazing set amongst the greenery, cliffs, mountain tops and clouds, so ideally visiting The Three Sisters in the evening is a must. To get to The Three Sisters, you drive through a lovely little village calleD Leura, which is home to the cutest tea shops, cakes shops, cafes and eateries. There is a famous, must-visit tearoom called Bygone Beautys Tearoom which is meant to be the best place to stop at for tea and cake. We didn’t manage to go here as we were trying to fit in all the lookout points before sunset, and then venture to The Three Sisters, but this was something recommended to us before we went.
The following day, after visiting another set of look-out points in the morning, we went to visit Scenic World, which captures the stunning views of the Blue Mountains via cable car and the world’s steepest incline railway train! The cable cars and train take you deep into Jamison Valley, which is a beautiful Jurassic rainforest where you get really in-touch with nature, birdlife, and bushwalking. Not only is walking across the boardwalks of Jamison Valley a stunning scenic walk, there is also lots of unusual and unique pieces of art lining the boardwalks, making it a real viewing pleasure for the arty types like myself!
Last but not least, and my favourite part of the trip, was the Jenolan Caves and Jenolan Lake. Never before have I seen so much beauty! We just opted to do the one tour of the caves, I think there are 3 in total, but one really is enough as it lasts an hour and a half. You get a guided tour in and out of the caves which are so historic and unreal to see… even just walking around the caves and not going inside allows you to see some fantastic views of traditional caves and rocks set in there natural state. When we finished the cave tour, we finished off our trip with a walk around Jenolan Lake, which is famous for it’s tranquility and deep turquoise waters, and not forgetting the platypus that swim in the lake! We saw one pop its head up a few times, which was a lovely end to our trip. The photographs of the lake are my favourite ones from the weekend we had at the Blue Mountains… I can’t get over how gorgeous the lake water looks and how ‘tropical’ the setting is!
Only words of warning I would advise for a trip to the Blue Mountains is that staying over in Katoomba may be ideal and cheap, with some really nice, affordable hostels and hotels, but Katoomba itself isn’t a place to really ‘go out’ or have a nice evening as such. There are limited restaurants which close early and tend to get fully booked, so do your research! And set off early – this is a place a lot of people venture to during the weekend and we did find ourselves stuck in a traffic jam for over 2 hours! Other than that… this is a must-see place when visiting Sydney an Australia!