Bushwalking in the Blue Mountains
Trip Start Apr 19, 2010
131Trip End Apr 18, 2011
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Anxious to see what New South Wales had to offer outside of Sydney, we took a two hour train ride inward toward the country to the city of Katoomba. It was a quaint little city compared to the big, bustling ones that we've come to familiarize ourselves with, although little shops and eateries were easy to find along the main street. Just outside of town and passed the residential area was the attraction that brought us there to begin with: Blue Mountains National Park.
The Blue Mountains are a popular tourist spot in New South Wales because they really are blue. The Mountains are covered with Eucalyptus trees that for some reason, leave a hazy blue tint across the massive forrest. Why this happens, we have no idea, but it was stunning, nonetheless
One of the most famous sites within the Blue Mountain are the Three Sisters. The Three Sisters are a portion of the mountain that displays three individual rock formations that are clearly distinguishable from each other. The weather elements over time continue to erode the formations individually, but they were a sight to be seen across the valley from the little rainforest we found ourselves in.
The paths we hiked in the mountains were breathtaking. Just when we thought we had seen all of the glory that the trails would show, surrounded in the greenery and massive trees along our path, there would be a break in the scenery showing the far reach of natural beauty that the Blue Mountains portrayed. The Forest stretched out as far as the eye could see, with the Mountains in the background tinted blue. We also ran into some waterfalls that poured from high above our heads, and continued on long past our feet. Paul was stoked, as seeing waterfalls in their natural environment was definitely something he wanted to check off his list.
Our hiking took us close to six hours to complete hiking over 7 miles of land. We started at the top of the mountain and headed downward, passing fantastic views on the way. Part way down, we found ourselves walking down stairs known as the Furber Steps. These steps are reminders of how early caretakers of the land maintained the paths because these steps had all been carved out of the natural rock within the forest
And of course hiking miles down into the valley of the forrest meant there was only one way to get out... up. This is where the Grand Stairway comes into play. The Grand Stairway is a path from the bottom of the forrest straight up to the very top. And it's stairs all the way there. 929 stair steps later, we made it to the top (and yes, we counted!).
We made our way out of the mountains and back into town, thankful that we decided not to give into a tour so that we could explore the mountain in our own way and at our own pace. We definitely saw all that we wanted to see there, and seeing someone eating pizza when we got back into town was no exception. We shared a pan of pizza before catching the train back to Sydney where we were both able to catch a few momens of rest.
What we learned in Katoomba: It is way better to travel outside of the tours. Grabbing tour guides and pamphlets are helpful to give you ideas for what you might want to see and do in a specific area, but they are almost always way overpriced. For example, the cheapest Blue Mountains tour cost $60 per person for a bus ride there and back and guided tours along the way. We caught a train to the Blue Mountains roundtrip for $10 a piece and enjoyed wondering around the trails at our own pace and in our own direction for hours. It was great!