One of my favourite memories from our first week in Sydney was The Blue Mountains. We only planned this trip the day before and got a last minute booking with a company called Happy Travels who would be picking us up at 7 am the following morning.
That morning also happened to be the day we were checking out of our hostel in favour of an Air BnB in Coogee. So we woke up at half 5 in the morning, repacked our backpacks and checked out of the hostel before the 15-minute walk to our pick-up point. As other tour buses heading to the mountains came and went we started wondering whether we had been forgotten about but just as we went to call the company a tour guide shouted our names and we were on our way.
Featherdale Wildlife Park
To break up the 2-hour drive from Sydney’s CBD to the Blue Mountains we had a 1 hour stop at Featherdale Wildlife Park. This was our first chance to see Australia’s native animals; including Kangaroos, Koalas, Dingoes, Wombats and Cassowaries to name a few. An hour gave us plenty of time to stroke the koalas, hand feed the kangaroos and get some postcards from the gift shop.
The Blue Mountains
It was another hour coach journey before we reached our first stop in the Blue Mountains. Here we went on a short walk to the famous rock formation – the Three Sisters. The walk took us through a sub-tropical rainforest where we were convinced we would see a snake or spider lurking in the trees. The funnel-web spider is a very venomous species of spider which is regularly found in the Blue Mountains; luckily you won’t bump into one of these killers unless you start poking around in the holes where they sit and wait for prey to show up.
The view of the mountain range is not a disappointment and rightly called the Blue Mountains, unfortunately, the pictures from my iPhone 5 don’t even begin to do it justice (I’m hoping to go back to the Blue Mountains in the next month so I can get some better pictures). The blue haze which gives the mountains their name is caused by the masses of eucalyptus trees which release a chemical that scatters light wavelengths causing the blue-greyish appearance of the distant mountains.
While looking out over the mountain range and admiring the three sisters (also known as Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo) our tour guide told us an aboriginal-style story about how the rock formation came to be. We were also given aboriginal face paint which was made by mixing the sandstone from the mountains with water.
It was now time for lunch so we were driven to a hostel in a small village within the mountain range. While we ate our lunch from the comfort of an open fire and incredible views of the surrounding area we were asked if we wanted to go on a second bush walk before going back to the CBD. We all agreed to go and after lunch, we were driven to our final stop for the day.
This walk took us through another sub-tropical rainforest and lead us to a waterfall. Standing just a few metres away from the water as it rushed into the pool by our feet was an incredible experience and marked our first time ever seeing a waterfall. The walk now continued uphill until we came out to another viewing platform which provided one last chance to admire the mountains before the 2-hour drive back to the city. After a long day, I fell asleep for almost the whole journey home.