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An update of my adventures in the Blue Mountains.
The Three Sisters are smaller than I remember when I was 10 years old…though I was was much smaller then! My first viewing of them was at night, and the silence out there is absolute – apart from the sound of a waterfall off in the distance.
Seeing them in the daytime was great too…
…but what really captured me was the immensity of the Jamison Valley surrounding them. The 180° panoramic view of the valley strikes you as soon as you arrive at the look-out and combined with the fact that it stretches right out to the horizon, you can’t help but be moved by it. Infact, the bush is so immense that they ask you to leave your name at reception at the hostel before you head out bushwalking – and there are free emergency beacons available at the police station next door! Sounds like you can just get swallowed up out there.
There is lots of bird life around – you can hear the bellbirds down in the valley, and as I walked along a bush track near the Three Sisters I spotted some King Parrots!
There was a young Aboriginal fella, Kora (meaning: ‘native companion’), playing his Didgeridoo nearby. I sat down and chatted with him, asking a lot about his tribe and how he mixes his white education with his tribal culture. I was really grateful to be educated about this, as I feel my school education severely lacked in covering any contemporary Aboriginal issues – what use is it only knowing about what they did 200 years ago?!? I want to understand who they are NOW, so I know how to relate to them as best can. Anyway, my rants about the education system aside – he travels around playing Didgeridoo, selling his art, clapping sticks and boomerangs. Each day he makes a minimum of $100 – good on him! And it was nice to swap notes with another Australian nomad.
A major attraction just around the corner from The Three Sisters is Scenic World – home to the steepest railway in the world, the highest as well as the biggest cable cars in Australia and the longest boardwalk in the Southern Hemisphere. Phew!
My favourite was of course the Scenic Railway.
I deliberately waited for the next train so I could be in the front seat and get the best view. The train started, ‘Indiana Jones’ music started playing and then!…everything stopped. Oh no. We waited 5 minutes. They backed up 1 metre. They said a fuse had blown (of what?? The music playing part of the ride or a more important part??) and it’d be another 5 minutes. I was already nervous and just needed to take the plunge (literally). Thankfully they got it all sorted and we were off!
I don’t have a photo that truly captures the angle at which you go down that slope – video to come soon!
The last time I visited these caves was when I was 10 years old and I remember them being really magical…they still are! Andy, a friend from the hostel, joined me on this visit and we did the ‘Off The Track’ tour – where you don a helmet and head torch..
and explore the original cave tracks that were built in the 1800s. These are no longer open to the public due to the sheer volume of people they receive on a daily basis, so this was a real buzz for me have such an unique experience!
Andy and I were just blown away – not only at the stunning formations but the fact that all of this was created over 300 million years ago! I loved this tour not only because you had the challenge of having to crawl or walk sideways to move along the tracks sometimes, but we also got to see many of the ‘tourist caves’ along the way. Exciting and phenomenal.
I’ll DEFINITELY be back – for the ‘plughole’ adventure caving tour!