After I sufficiently explored Sydney Harbour and had my fill of snorkeling and adventuring around Bondi Beach, I felt it was time to stretch my legs and see what the fuss was about the Blue Mountains. I wanted to see if a) were they really blue? b) what was this dreaded staircase I kept hearing about? and c) bushwalking? what was that?
Transport to the Blue Mountains – Getting to the Blue Mountains was relatively easy. Katoomba, the home base for the Blue Mountains National Park was a simply train ride from Central Station in Sydney. The two hour ride cost me about $10 AU, and was comfy enough to nap, read, and drink my flat white (coffee again!) Once the train arrived in Kattomba and I purchased a few bottles of water, I asked for directions, walked several blocks to the entrance to the Park, and wha-la was face to face with the Blue Mountains. And yes, they did indeed look bluish. Goal #1 accomplished.
That immediate Blue Mountain viewing platform offers a famous rock formation called the Three Sisters. There are several legends behind the stone formations, the most famous being that the three sisters, Meehni, Gunnedoo, and Wimlah lived in the Blue Mountain valley as members of the Katoomba tribe. These young ladies fell in love with three brothers from a neighboring tribe, one that they were forbidden to marry into. The brothers were unhappy with this law and decided to use force to capture the three sisters, causing a major tribal battle. Since the lives of the three sisters were in danger, a witchdoctor from their tribe decided to protect them from impending harm by turning them into stone. While he intended to reverse the spell when the battle was over, the witchdoctor himself was killed. As only he could change them back into their former beautiful selves, the sisters remain in their magnificient rock formation to this day.
Ash meets the STAIRCASE! – Off to one side of Echo Point, a grand lookout over the canyon, there is a huge (HUGE) staircase, leading down to the canyon floor. I had good intentions of climbing the very steep, 900+ steps all the way to the bottom and then back up again. Instead, I walked down and having accomplished Goal #2 (ouch), I decided to complete the circuit that ended in a comfy trolly ride back to the top. Case in point, yes, the staircase was manageable, but not in this week’s fitness log. I’ll come back and try it out when I’m wearing my Nike trainers and some workout clothes.
I then went on a few cliffside bushwalks where the trail wasn’t quite so steep, and my quadriceps thanked me for not punishing them. Bushwalking (why can’t they just call it hiking?) along these well marked and maintained paths was a piece of cake compared to the hiking I’d done in Asia. All in all, I had a wonderful (and easy) day trip from Sydney. Anyone looking for an escape from the city or just a day in the “wilderness” should plan a trip up to the Blue Mountain range…..if only to try out the staircase.