The Blue Mountains
29.08.2010 - 30.08.2010 16 °C
So we arrived in Katoomba, Blue Mountains yesterday morning, and it couldn't be any different to Sydney!
Feels like we're really in the outback driving through the streets, and the mountains are unbelievable. I was pretty surprised to see that they are actually blue in the distance, I was a wee bit sceptical that they would be, so happy to see they live up to the name. They go on for miles and miles, as far as you can see.
It's a bit cooler up here than in the city, but there's none of the harsh wind so it actually feels warmer, especially when you start climbing up the 900 giant steps at the Three Sisters, like we did today. Going down 400m to the valley floor was easy, going back up not so much!
The first thing we did when we arrived yesterday was jump on the Trolley Bus, a replica historic bus made of wood (including the seats) and quite bumpy, so the ride was as comfortable as you might imagine - loads of fun though, especially to drive about the wild-west style towns of Katoomba and Leura. They're also pretty small, a round trip all over both lasted about 35 mins.
Next up, we went to Echo Point (where we took the pictures of the amazing views from) and you can see the Three Sisters from there (the three rocks in the pictures, pretty famous).
We then walked down and along Prince Henry Cliff Walk, to Katoomba Falls and then over to Scenic World. Scenic world is right at the top of the mountains, and has 3 different ways to see them - the Scenic Cableway that goes down and up the valley at an angle like a cable car, the Skyway that takes you horizontally across the valley and has a glass floor, and last but not least, the scenic railway. Now in my opinion, this should be renamed the railway ride of fear, it's the steepest incline railway in the world, and takes you up and down 415m pretty much vertically (well, it felt like that, the angle is 52 degrees). AND it's over 100 years old. At the highest, steepest point it feels like you're being dangled over the cliff face (and there's no seatbelts, by the way, just bucket seats and the criss-cross roof of the train to hold on to). So after enduring the ride up the mountain backwards, I was made to do it again, going forwards down the mountain, sitting at the very front, eek! (Unusually, it was me and not Shona scared of this one!)
Shona also did her presentations this morning, I went along to watch and managed to follow most of what she was saying, they went really well but she'll be glad they're out of the way now, so we can enjoy the conference dinner tonight and some celebratory cocktails at Champagne Charlie's - the old style bar in the colonial Carrington Hotel where the conference is being held. If only we were staying there and not in the Hostel...!
Gonna try squeeze in a wee bit more sightseeing tomorrow, then next stop is Brisbane. More pics from the past few days will be up as soon as this site lets me!