Left my heart in the Blue Mountains

“The mountains are calling and I must go…” –John Muir

Much as I enjoy exploring cities, I’ll always be an outdoor, countryside loving girl at heart. So after several recommendations to go and see the Blue Mountains, a day of adventure awaited us.

The Blue Mountains are a World Heritage Area; a place on earth that is of outstanding universal value to humanity. They are a 2.5 hour train journey away from Sydney (and only $2.50 return on a Sunday!) and creatively named so because, apparently, from Sydney they look blue. Vast eucalypt forests span as far as the eye can reach and in hot sun they discharge a fine mist of eucalyptus oil from their leaves. The mist refracts light which makes the haze look blue from a distance. However, the oil also means the forest is very prone to fires.

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I could wax lyrical about the beauty of the area, but I really was taken aback! The undulating carpet of trees rolls out for miles, blending into endless stretches of sandstone cliffs, dramatic waterfalls and hidden canyons. The stunning natural beauty really is awe inspiring.

The spectacular “Three Sisters” at Echo Point near Katoomba is an impressive rock formation and one of the main tourist viewpoints. According to the Aboriginal legend, there were 3 sisters – Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo – who were members of the Katoomba tribe that lived in the Jamison Valley. The beautiful young women had fallen in love with three brothers from another tribe, yet the law prevented them from marrying. The brothers tried to defy the law by capturing the three sisters by force but this resulted in a major tribal battle, putting the lives of the three sisters into grave danger. A witchdoctor from the Katoomba tribe turned the three sisters to stone to protect them from harm, but the witchdoctor was then killed in the battle and so unable to reverse the spell. This meant the three sisters would remain forevermore in their magnificent rock formation as a poignant reminder of the battle that took place…

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The Three Sisters
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Yep, still working on that tan…

 

If you continue on from the tourist buzz around Echo Point to the Giant Stairway – a trail of more than 800 steps which leads to the base of the Three Sisters – all the other tourists start to melt away. This is the start of some great bushwalks including one through the Leura Forest taking in the stunning Leura Cascades.

 

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My favourite tree in the Leura Forest has to be this one. I can’t decide if it is an elephant with many trunks, or an octopus with many legs, but either way it has most definitely claimed that rock.

 

 

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Leura Cascades

A little further on from the Leura Cascades, the rugged sandstone rock formations are even more striking and what were powerful waterfalls from below turn into trickles down the rock face from above.

You feel on top of the world as you take in the sweeping vistas from viewpoint after viewpoint of perfect photo opportunity after perfect photo opportunity…

…and each sublime view is more breathtaking and magical than the last…

The splendour of the Blue Mountains makes for a very memorable day, both relaxing and reinvigorating all at the same time. While I could keep raving about their beauty, I will sign off for now as I’m all out of superlatives…

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’”
—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

http://www.uq.edu.au/studyabroad/studentblogs/2016/06/13/left-my-heart-in-the-blue-mountains/

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