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Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Blue Mountains

After arriving in Sydney, we decided to hold off getting caught up in the city just yet and drove off into the Blue Mountains. 

The Blue Mountains are densely populated with eucalyptus trees that let droplets of eucalyptus oil into the air that give the mountains a blue tinge when the light hits them. 

In October 2013 there were severe bushfires in the mountains, and sadly 200 homes were lost. After watching all the media coverage of the fires from home in Ferntree Gully it sounded to us as though most of the area had suffered some sort of fire damage. 

And from the pictures, can you blame us?

A bush fire in Australia is always a big deal. However, when you look at the numbers, in reality only 2% of the mountain range suffered fire damage.  Yes, still a large amount, but all the popular tourist destinations were unharmed and are open for business. The people at the information desk were telling us about how tourism numbers are way down and consequently businesses are losing money. 

Well we brought our money! It was a gorgeous sunny day so we took advantage of the many incredible walking tracks as we drove through the mountains. We stopped and hiked the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, another track that took us to the top of Katoomba Falls and of course Echo Point, the best place to get a look at the "3 Sisters".

We had such a good time in the mountains, we decided to go a second time later on in the week and visit Scenic World where we could ride a skyway, railway, walkway and cableway to get better views of the mountains, the 3 sisters, Jamison Valley and Katoomba Falls.

First we took the railway down. At a 52 degree incline, it's the steepest railway in the world.  Tyler was totally unfazed by this crazy ride. Did I mention that part of it took place in the dark?

After surviving the harrowing railway, we trekked through the rainforest for a while longer.

Of course, since you're now on the floor of the rainforest you have 2 options for getting back up. Either walk the 864 steps back up, or ride the cableway up to the top.  We definitely took the cableway!

Last, but not least was a trip on the Skyway across the Jamison Valley.

This is where we got one more great look at the 3 Sisters in a haze of blue and Katoomba Falls from top to bottom. They're spectacular to see from that height.

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