When we first googled the pictures of Blue Mountains, we immediately decided that we have to visit the region on our East coast Australia trip. It happens quite a lot that pictures on the internet look much more appealing than personal experience, but this wasn’t the case with Blue Mountains. They actually looked even more beautiful in person!
Blue Mountains are a mountainous region in Australia right next to Sydney’s metropolitan area (50 km from city center). If you can spare at least a day of your time in Sydney, especially you love nature, you can’t miss them. You can visit them on a day trip from Sydney with a local tour agency. Buses and trains, which takes you to Katoomba – a village in the heart of Blue Mountains, also operate, but we decided to do it with our own transport.
Why blue you might ask? Mountains got their name from a blue haze that you can see in the distance. Reason for this is in eucalyptus tree. There is a whole forest of these trees throughout the mountains. On warm days, trees are evaporating blue, smoke like haze and so the whole area is a bit blue colored.
The »Aboriginal legend« says, that three sisters (they even have names: Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and Gunnedoo’), who lived in a tribe, fell in love in three men from rival tribe. They weren’t allowed to marry, which the men didn’t like. They tried to capture three sisters. War broke and one villager protected the sisters by turning them into stone. He then died in a battle and nobody could turn them back. They stay captured in rocks forever.
This legend is a fake made up by some locals in early 1900. 🙂
The best way to see them is from Echo point lookout – an observing platform that offers the best view to the sisters and surrounding eucalyptus forest. You can also descent to one of the sisters.
Unfortunately lots of people just go to the observing platform to see the Three sisters, maybe take a tour with the Scenic world and leave the area quite content. But there is more to Blue Mountains than just Three sisters. Mountains offer some of the best walks in whole Australia.
After quite some researching on the internet, forums and other blogs, we decided to do the National pass walk.
It’s claimed to be one of the best walks in Australia and you can easily see why. It definitely is the most dynamic. This walk was built at the beginning of 1900 with shovels, picks and dynamite (probably quite a lot of it). The whole walk is a 6 kilometers long, circular trail. It takes around 3 hours to complete and anyone with a reasonable fitness can do it. There are quite a lot of stairs to conquer, but otherwise it’s not difficult. Paths are well marked. You descent down into the valley and then rise back up. The geography is changing constantly. We have never walked on wet grounds with dripping water and then around the corner through a totally dry land. Fauna is also changing correspondingly. We loved the part where you walk beneath the giant 3 meters high ferns! There is a lot of stairs and narrow passes (mind your head on some parts). We would recommend having good footwear, because it can get slippery at some points.
Our highlight of the walk was the part called Grand Stairway. Grand Stairway is a series of narrow steps, carved into a rock. You start descending into the valley. The views into the valley and onto the Wentworth falls are stunning. We were stopping constantly, marveling the scenery.
The stairs lead you directly to the base of Wentworth falls. You can even take a quick dip in the pool beneath the waterfall, although the water was a bit murky and it didn’t look as tempting as it sounds.
With so much eucalyptus, one would expect a bunch of koalas (eucalyptus is their main food source), but sadly it’s not so. There aren’t many and besides that koalas are not easy to spot. We didn’t manage to see any of them, but we were lucky to meet some other local inhabitants. I think that it is not worth loosing words about spiders (yes, there were quite a few of them). We met a snake, for which we are quite certain, that it was poisonous (we think it was Easter brown snake). She passed our path and didn’t mind about us. It actually went her own way far too quickly and we didn’t manage to even take a good photo of it.
Besides the creepy crawlies the best inhabitants you can meet are parrots. All kinds of parrots. All the time you can hear a laud chirping up in the trees. If you look closely, you can see from colorful rosellas to all different kinds of cockatoos.
There are tones of other reasons why to visit Blue mountains (numerous walking trails, Jenolan caves, scenic world), but with only 2 days spent in the Blue Mountains we didn’t experience them all. With 2 days you can see the main attractions and do a walk or two, but to really see the whole area with all the little towns you can easily add a few days more.