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The Blue Mountains

On Monday 20th January Becky and I decided to go up to the Blue Mountains National Park (about 65 miles West of Sydney) and to overnight at the YHA at Katoomba with the intention of going for a hike on Tuesday. We stopped at Leura, a really pretty little town with lots of cafes, high end gift shops and antique shops and Cafe Madeleine serves hot chocolate that looks like a desert in a glass. The chocolate is from Josophans, also in this road, where hand made chocolates are created on the premises.349919DE2219AC6817CDBC6D2E95C677.jpg34AF33272219AC681727090BCE9510C4.jpg34A55CE82219AC68178A823D6F1B035A.jpg
Just a few miles away at Katoomba the YHA hostel is a former hotel now restored as a National Trust building. It has the usual big kitchen and dining area but also one whole room of comfortable sofas and bean bags and the age of guests is much more mixed than the one I stayed at in Adelaide. Katoomba is the biggest town in the Blue Mountains and the centre for adrenaline filled acivities such as rock climbing, abseiling, canyoning, trekking and horse riding. There are several businesses offering these activities and you can also take a Harley Davidson tour and a walk into indigenous history, life and bush tucker with two different Aboriginal companies.
Monday evening we had a walk around Katoomba 34CCA7502219AC6817444F0F68BD7FB7.jpg34D3F2162219AC6817BD96966E9D7B01.jpg before settling into The Old Bank Bar and Brasserie for beer and a burger. 34D9BD342219AC6817658EDC748AFB25.jpg
It rained quite a bit during Monday night and when we woke up on Tuesday morning the mist was so thick we could not even see past the end of the garden. We decided to drive out to Govetts Leap anyway and this is what we saw 34E367A52219AC68174495AAB6B3612E.jpg so we drove a couple of miles back to Blackheath where there was a big indoor antiques mall where we spent an interesting hour 34FFB6AC2219AC68171C9EA049444D36.jpg I bought a couple of small things whilst Becky found a quiet corner and revisited Roald Dahl 35066EFD2219AC68174883B3D218027F.jpg?. When we came back out the mist was clearing so we thought we would take a chance and go back to Govetts Leap. En route we spotted these brilliantly painted buildings 34F9F8502219AC681769A95E032386FF.jpg 34F4505D2219AC681730F24424408D33.jpg (public toilets and a bus shelter] apparently the municipal authority puts up concrete buildings and then commissions artists to paint them.
When we got back to Govetts Leap what a difference. 3532E16D2219AC6817709A3812E88B7D.jpg 3539DBE72219AC681704D9D3B6094B02.jpgIt was stunning! Becky took me for another of thse walks 3584C2972219AC6817C6E26EDBB7B025.jpg but it was worth it 356FCF0C2219AC68173BABFE648D61A5.jpg352C8CB22219AC68179A50CD2AD87FB5.jpg358D569F2219AC68174F16EF34F774A1.jpg3593275A2219AC68179A60E82A832390.jpg although I was pleased to get back to the car park. 359B31962219AC6817BB79C6A26D3DE5.jpg
Walks in the mountains are well signposted with length, duration and difficulty level and the information centres are an excellent source of guidance and advice about everything from history and culture to campsites, water and safety. Personal Location Beacons can be borrowed from the information centre at Blackheath and these are designed to work even when you don't have a mobile 'phone signal.
We headed back to Katoomba and Echo Point, which is a much busier viewpoint than Govetts Leap 35A357672219AC6817954F8E50C82EF8.jpgand we were rewarded with amazing views, particularly of the Three Sisters. 35AD8B002219AC68174C20A944E060B0.jpgLegend has it that an Aboriginal chief turned his three daughters into stone to stop them being carried away by rival tribesmen but he died before he managed to reverse the curse and nobody has ever been able to lift it. There is a bridge out to the Sisters for those brave enough 35B382862219AC6817F53CB7DE3ED1F7.jpgand not too far away is the Scenic World complex where you can take a cable car ride over the valley 35C1BF7F2219AC681787047A2D280E1A.jpg and another one down to the forest floor where a 2km boardwalk meanders through the rainforest. Ascent is either by the cableway or by the Scenic Railway (I believe it is the steepest in the world) which was originally built for the miners who worked the stone for coal.
The Bllue Mountains are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and got their name from the blue haze (evident in my last pics) which is caused by light reflecting off the droplets of oil from the Eucalyptus trees with which the mountain is densely populated. There is a HOHO Explorer Bus that operates in this area and will collect passengers from Katoomba railway station and take them to 29 different sites around the mountains including those I have mentioned. Katoomba is very easily accessible by train from Sydney.
We were fortunate with our few hours of sunshine because the weather closed in again towards the end of the afternoon. Our canyoning will have to wait for another day.

Posted by busyboots 03:05

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This is great stuff, Jane! Wonderful photos and delightful commentary...I'd read your books:)! Safe travels, my friend. Xoxo

by Kim Rose

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