Don’t miss the Blue Mountains when you’re in Sydney but prepare to spend a whole day for it. Around 2 hours from the city, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is surely worthy of a day trip or even longer than that. We booked a tour with Oztrek together with 14 other travelers. A mini-bus picked us up from YHA near the Central Railway Station. Our driver/tourist guide was very entertaining and accommodating. Our trip was not done in a rush because it was solely for the Greater Blue Mountains Area. We dropped by at small but lovely towns along the way to have our brunch and lunch. We also stopped by at one of the highways when we saw some kangaroos from afar. Though out of the way, our guide took us along routes that show some interesting places (e.g. old suburbs, a retirement village, hidden lookout points).
When we reached the Greater Blue Mountains Area, our first stop was the Flat Rock Lookout. Without fences, the cliff where we were standing on provided us a vast view of the Blue Mountains with the Flat Rock in spotlight. Other than the mountains, it’s a region of gorges, falls, gum trees and rainforest. Our guide informed us that this lookout was a secret for a few number of small tours before but is now becoming more popular. It was not crowded when we went there but I had difficulty taking panoramic shots without our fellow travelers in the picture.
The Blue Mountains got its name from the beautiful blue mist of oil from eucalyptus gums that populate the valley. The air is very good that’s why a lot of people who have respiratory problems frequent or even live in the area. Although canopies of eucalyptus stretch as far as the eye can see, koalas do not inhabit this area because this is not the type of eucalyptus they eat.
We then drove to Katoomba where Echo Point is located. This is probably the most famous lookout where trails are provided for those who want to get closer to the renowned Three Sisters. Don’t miss the Giant Stairway (800 steps to the Three Sisters) and the Federal Pass (leading down the Wentworth Falls) if you want to get up close and personal with these geological celebrities. Click here for the legend of the Three Sisters.
After a delightful lunch at the small town of Leura, we continued our trip to the Scenic World where we took the Cableway going down the rainforest and the Skyway which crosses a portion of the Jamison Valley. The railway was under construction at that time but we were able to avail of the Skyway for free. The Orphan Rock was used to be accessible but is now closed to public because of its fragile rocks.
The Jurassic Rainforest has an elevated boardwalk surrounded by old trees, some are more than a hundred years old. From below looking up to the canopies, it is amazing to imagine how the aborigines knew every corner of this valley and how early European explorers got lost in it.
The Blue Mountains is one of the highlights of our Sydney trip (together with Featherdale which will be on the next post). It is nature, history and culture all in one.
1. Bring water and sun protection. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
2. Book with Oztrek for only A$59. It’s cheap because aside from dedicating the trip solely for Blue Mountains (without Featherdale, Jenolan Caves, etc. that are usually included in most travel companies’ packages) add-ons such as the Scenic World rides, meals and ferry ride back to the city are all optional. Plus, the tour guide is really a great source of information. I highly suggest this option instead of a DIY especially if you don’t have your own car.
3. Trek the Giant Stairway.
4. The Jurassic Rainforest is really worth seeing and definitely a humbling experience.
5. Take the Scenic World rides.