Blue Mountains

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
1
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Australia  ,
Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Seeing as we had done next to nothing the last few days, and there wasn't really anything else in the city that seemed appealing, we decided to get on a train for a few hours and visit the Blue Mountains.

The trains in Sydney are fantastic. The subway system is a complete mess of lines that make it incredibly hard to navigate but there is always a train every couple of minutes and never a chance of going without a seat as they are all double deckers! Also from my travels so far it appears that London is the only place in the world where your mobile phone won't work on the subway! Even the bloody 80's style Beijing joke of a subway allowed you to operate your phone! Sort it out London!

Anyway, so we set the alarm for the first time in Aus and managed to sleep right through until 8am. Good thing really as the kitchen closes from 10pm-7am and I would want some breakfast before we left as we would be doing a bit of walking today.

Ticket to the Blue Mountain town of Katoomba was $14, which I thought was pretty reasonable for a return trip and I swear it was more in the LP. Either way it was far cheaper than the $60 to go on a backpacker tour around the mountains. In Kings Cross, where we are staying, there are a ridiculous amount of travel agents sorting out your "budget tours" all around Australia. It is normally cheaper and more fun to do it yourself so I'll tend to avoid them now I'm out of Asia as I did fall into the trap of using them a lot in Thailand.

The train journey to Katoomba was as clockwork as it could possibly be and I sat back listening to some tunes on my mp3 player and reading the complimentary copy of Zoo magazine, which has just launched in Aus. 2 hours later we were out in the mountains and we couldn't have picked a better day for it!

There wasn't a cloud in the sky and no mist to obscure the views. From the lookout point, Echo Point, the views of the mountains and forest were incredible. You could see for miles and it was far better than I could have expected. Really had no idea what the Blue Mountains were before I left but figured I had to do something with my day.

Decided to get our legs working again by following the "strenuous" path, read fully paved, around the edge of the mountain to the various lookout points and waterfalls before getting the train back to the top. This train was the steepest train in the world and we had to ride it backwards! Great fun and my God was it steep! Seemed almost vertical at one stage but apparently it only went to 52-degree incline. The track wasn't the only steep thing, so was the price! $8 for a 90 second journey! Oh well it had to be done I suppose.

After a quick rest and $5.50 sandwich we were soon back in Katoomba town, having taken a tram like bus, and hanging around waiting for the next train. It had been a great choice for somewhere to visit outside the city for the day but I don't really see the appeal in staying there for a few days. I know some people in the hostel that stayed for 4 days and I can't really see why. Sure it's a nice enough town, and the hostel looked pretty nice but there really isn't that much to do there and a day trip is more than enough. If you are after abseiling, rock climbing or canoeing then I can see why you would stay but I never had the interest or the big bucks to do these activities.

A boring 2 hours later and we were back in King Cross and I started on dinner. It's weird having to cook your own food again having dined out everyday in Asia for 5 months, but it is far too expensive to do that here. In the 6 days I have been in Sydney I have spent $400! $150 of that is on accommodation, which is going to be a killer so we need to get a car and tent as soon as possible. Amazingly only $27 has been spent on alcohol and we've been out at least 3 times and been a state by the time we got back. Going out with the hostel seems the way forward as they seem to ply us with free booze all night, not that I'm complaining on my budget!

Thats exactly what we did again tonight. It was Beer and Pizza night at the Fishbowl pub in Kings Cross and that sounded good to me! Did manage to snag a free beer but it was $3 PINT night! Not the little schooners (425ml glasses) but proper pints! Didn't expect to get any pizza, and I didn't, as there was a mad rush the second the 3 pizzas appeared to feed 50 odd people!
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