Thursday, 15 October 2015

Blue, Blue, the Mountains are Blue!

Now where do you find blue mountains? Uh, no, it has nothing to do with a mental state. Okay, it might not be as bright as the clear blue sky but it still is a shade of blue. So, where is it you ask? 

They really are blue!


The Blue Mountains (what else should they be called?) is a mountain range located approximately 100 kilometers west of Sydney, Australia. The region was listed by UNESCO in 2000 as a World Heritage Site. And what gives it its distinctive color? The characteristic blue haze is a result of the finely dispersed droplets of oil from the dense forest of Eucalyptus trees around the mountains combining with dust particles and water vapour in the atmosphere. Or so I'm told.  

Hmmm..... That would be quite an intriguing sight to see.



Katoomba

It had almost been a year since my last visit to Sydney and I had been waiting for the opportunity to go back before my visa expired. Roster's out! And what do you know?! I get to go with the big K again! Another 36 hours in Sydney! This time we were going to see the Blue Mountains.

A visit to the Blue Mountains can be done as a day trip from Sydney. 
A two-hour train ride from Sydney's Central station will get you to the town of Katoomba, the main jump-off point for the Blue Mountains. But a last-minute decision to stay overnight in the small town proved to be a better choice for us. 

The Carrington Hotel, one of Katoomba's heritage-listed building where we stayed. A quaint, convenient place to stay as it was just 50 meters from the train station. 

It was approaching 5 o'clock in the afternoon when our train pulled into Katoomba. After bustling Sydney, the big K and I were momentarily taken aback of how quiet the place was only to realize it was a Sunday. Shopping and businesses were already winding down, we only had time for a quick look around before everything closed for the day. 

For dinner we found a doner kebab place that was right by the hotel. The food was pretty tasty with huge servings. Memories of our Paris cheap eats!



Scenic World

The next day after a hearty breakfast from the hotel's breakfast buffet, the big K and I were ready for the day's adventure. Hopping on the first bus of the day at 9:30AM, we were at Scenic World in 10 minutes. Surprise, surprise! No crowd, no umbrella-toting-herds of tour groups! We practically had the place all to ourselves. It didn't last long though as tour groups started pouring in just before noon which was great timing because we were almost done with our visit by that time. 
  
The AUD35.00 admission fee gets you unlimited rides at Scenic World's Railway, Skyway, Cableway and access to their Walkway. 
The Scenic Skyway

The hair-raising view of the valley floor as seen from the glass floor of the Skyway. 
The famous rock formation known as the Three Sisters (Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo). 
The Scenic Cableway
Another spine-tingling ride this time down to the valley floor on board the Cableway.

On board the Scenic Railway, the steepest passenger railway in the world.
Mount Solitary as seen from the Scenic Railway.

Leura

On our way back to Sydney, the big K and I decided to have a late lunch at Leura. One of several small towns in the Blue Mountain region, the town is also known as The Garden Village because of its many gardens, most of them privately owned.   

Leura's Tower Clock near the train station.
Small cafes and restaurants line Leura Mall. 

Got us some shockingly-sour lemon drops at The Candy Store.

Back in Sydney!

Can't leave Sydney without our meat pie fix!


Itinerary details (prices based per person):

Train fare from Sydney's Central station to Katoomba: AUD2.50 using the Opal card (Sunday travel).

Public Bus #686 Katoomba to Scenic World: AUD2.10 

Scenic World entrance fee: AUD35.00

Public Bus #686 Scenic World to Katoomba: AUD2.10

Train fare Katoomba to Leura: AUD2.36

Train fare Leura to Central (Sydney): AUD5.81 

**Cebu Pacific Air flies 5 times a week to Sydney from Manila**


More pictures of our Blue Mountains adventure in our Facebook page.