AUD 99 bought me a trip to the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, so named because of the Eucalyptus oil produced by gum trees that line these mountains. The oil, mixed with water droplets and dust, refract sunlight in such a way that it painted the mountaintops a tinge of dreamy blue.
It was a lovely warm day, and it was nice to have my touring looked after by someone else after a long week in a foreign place.
The tour guide/ coach driver was an Australian man named Mark. It was nice to hear his Australian accent come through the speakers of the coach for a whole day. He was funny and friendly, and told us all kinds of random facts throughout the day. His ancestors, his old place of residence, the price of bottled water and petrol, the use of electronic tags to pay toll money in Australia…
It took us approximately 2 hours to arrive at Katoomba by coach. Katoomba is an Aboriginal word for “shining, tumbling waters,” how romantic. Our first stop was the echo point lookout, where we would view “The three sisters,” Mount Solitary and the Jamison Valley. It was quite a breathtaking sight to behold. From the lookout point, all I could see were cliffs, mountains, valleys, rivers, green trees and a vast cloudless blue sky.
The “three sisters” is a rock formation produced by many years of erosion by the elements. To the Australian Aborigines however, it is a sacred place from their Aboriginal dreamtime, where 3 sisters were cursed into becoming these astounding pillars of rock.
We headed off to “Skywalk” thereafter. This is essentially a cable car ride across the valley. From this cable car, we could see more of Mother Nature and her beauty. We could view the three sisters and the eternity waterfall. There was also a platform within the Skywalk ride that changed from being translucent to transparent right beneath our feet, enabling us to view the valley thousands of miles below us. Amazing, but scary at the same time.
After a short lunch, I proceeded to take the railway down to the bottom of the valley. Now, this is the world’s steepest railway, angling up to 52 degrees at its steepest point. I sat on the outside, where there was no barrier to stop me from falling out. In fact, there weren’t even any seatbelts or anything to tie me onto the carriage itself! It was mighty scary. I felt like the train was going almost vertically at some points, and had to hang on to a bar with one hand whilst my other hand grasped onto the wire fencing above our heads. The ride was a quick one thankfully- I don’t think I would have survived anything longer!
When we got into the Valley, I enjoyed a short board walk through it. It was really cool under the canopy of the rainforest trees. I looked around me and all I could see were tree trunks, leaves, vines… nature in all its glory. In fact, I felt like I had walked onto the set of “planet earth.” My geography lessons from secondary school flashed across my mind; sadly, I could not remember much.
The trip into the valley ended with a cable car ride back to the top. It was like any other cable car ride, except that it was going vertically rather than horizontally, and it ended with a (planned) swing.
After we got away from ScenicWorld, we spent some time browsing the shops at Leura mall. Following that, we headed back to Sydney where we were taken on a quick drive around the Olympic Park before being dropped back off at our respective hotels.
It was a lovely day out. Australia can be so beautiful.