Yes i know there is a lot to catch up on ...

Trip Start Sep 19, 2002
Trip End Sep 22, 2003

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Flag of Australia  ,
Saturday, December 21, 2002

Yes I know there is a lot to catch up on but it was Christmas!

When we woke up on the 18th it was still misty and we pondered whether we would be able to see any of the views. We should have trusted our instincts and stayed in bed! However we did have a lovely walk.

We caught the trolley in the town which is a little tram type bus that does a circle around all the attractions and sites for $10 each (with YHA card) and we only just got there in time as we forgot how steep the hill into town was. We jumped off at Gordon Falls and popped down to the viewing area and saw a lovely landscape of mist and fog. Every now and then we spied a vast expanses of trees and mountains but couldn't really comprehend the enormity of the area. Not so much Blue Mountains as Grey Air! The smell of the eucalyptus was in every breath though and was the only indicator of where we were as it is the eucalyptus oil in the air that gives the mountains their blue hue (allegedly).

We walked through the bus track for about an hour and half to Leura Falls, stopping at several locations along the way to take more pictures of the mist. It was quite creepy as you could feel how high up you were and sense a mass of landscape beyond the mist and it was eerily quiet aside from the squawking birds every now and then. We tried to go quite fast as we were keen to avoid any snakes or spiders that may be lurking and waiting to bite our ankles, especially when we saw the size of the ants - as big as beetles! At Leura falls we actually saw some water, courtesy of the downpours the previous evening, as we would get really close and it was very picturesque. We were grateful for the drop in temperature overnight but were still soaked with sweat by the time we stopped and soon got cold when our bodies adjusted to the lack of movement and it started to drizzle.

We jumped back on the trolley to go to the three sisters but could actually only see one thanks to the mist. Legend has it that were 3 girls put on a ledge by their father each time he went out to stop them being attacked by a bunyip (Australian Big Foot). However, he found them there and became angry and stamped around breaking the ledge away from the mountain and leaving them stranded. The father saw this occurring and used his magic bone to turn them to stone to protect them until the bunyip went away but this made him even angrier and he chased after the father. On reaching a mountain he could not climb, the father turned himself into a lyre bird and escaped into a cave but during the fight he lost his magic bone and couldn't return everyone to their normal state even though they were all safe now. He is still looking for the bone and will turn everyone back as soon as he finds it. Don't know what that will mean for the tourism industry in Australia if he ever finds it. Possible conspiracy theory there I think. After that we gave up due to the mist and went back to the hostel for some well deserved R and R after our tiring bush walk and nature adventure.

The next day we checked out but left our bags in storage so that we could have another look at the 3 sistersas the sun had come out again. Pip and I walked all the way there and back being nosy and looking in the gardens and houses that we passed. I almost caused an old lady a heart failure when I leaned over her fence to smell a huge rose and she came out of her house with a broom and saw me! It was worth the walk down to Echo Point which leads to the 3 sisters viewing areas - totally awesome! You could see for miles and felt like you were in a plane as the mountain dropped away beneath you into a lush forest and carpet of green. Eucalyptus has a high water content (hence koala bears don't need to drink too much) but the gum is highly flammable which is why the Blue Mountains suffer so much in the bush fires. We saw some areas which had been damaged but thankfully not too many and it didn't spoil the views at all. High up on one of 'the sisters' was a tiny christmas tree with little presents and candy canes that must have been placed there by a rock climber. We really felt we saw the best of the Blue Mountains, and yes they do look a bit blue, it was really stunning and you felt like no-one had ever been there before. Aside from the hundreds of other people trying to take pictures at the same time as you.

Sadly it was time to leave the beauty of the Blue Mountains and we loaded up our bags for the climb up the hill to the station. As my legs began to buckle half way up, I wondered at what point the Australian Rugby Team had climbed into my bag and a little boy called out to us as we crawled past exclaiming how big our bags were to his mother. We just about made the train and settled down for the journey and it wasn't long before we noticed an abundance of police on the trains and at the stations. Four officers with holstered hand guns approached us and asked us for our tickets (which of course we handed over) and they advised us to hold onto our bags in case someone ran past and stole them when we stopped at a station - Pip commented that he'd like to see someone try and run with any of our bags. I told them I had the important stuff between my legs (meaning my handbag and passports etc) but when we looked down, all they could see was a carrier bag of crisps and coke! Later we remembered that Sydney was to be subjected to a mock terror attack as a practise which explained the extra police presence.

Back in Sydney, we went off to get some stuff to try and fix the gaping tear in my rucksack and then went Xmas shopping for each other in the market - talk about quality! Later we headed for China town for a slap up banquet which turned out to be very disappointing despite great assurances from the chap on the street who convinced us his restaurant was best. We were all still hungry afterwards and a bit miffed that the fruit salad for 4 turned out to be 2 oranges cut into segments and put on a plate. Oh well, there'll be other Chineses!
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