We have been talking about the Blue Mountains and how, and if, we would get to them. It all seemed a little too hard so we were thinking we might just give them a miss. After all they’re blue and no amount of tourists like us are likely to cheer them up. However while we were staying in Sydney we came up with a solution— go to see them as a part of our Sydney visit. So we booked in a cheap motel to stay in over night and left on Wednesday morning. The road up there was fairly easy, not as bad as the Oxley Highway into Port Macquarie, that road had more bends than a deep sea diver. The weather was a little grey but that matched the mountainous, blue expectations we had.
We went straight to Scenic World, which is a big theme park type of place full of overseas tourists who have trouble keeping left on steps (frustrating but I forgive). We got the family pass and they banded us like homing pigeons so that we could go on all the different attractions. Let’s get one thing straight—there are a lot of mountains there and it is generally mountainous and they love using the escarpment word, and once they start pulling that one of the hat you know there is some serious cliffy geography about.
We went on the Scenic Skyway first. It is a cable car with a glass floor that you can look down through as you pass from one nib of the escarpment across a gorge to another. Then you can take a walk to Katoomba falls (which you just cabled over). Very nice, but Lou did have a good question- ‘What,’ she wondered, ‘was the difference between a skyway and a cableway?’ Being a dab hand at parenting and knowing that she was still young enough to believe her dad knew almost everything, I told her a skyway was up higher than a cableway and as such was closer to the sky. At this age it is important to have answers.
Then we did the very steep train ride. It is very steep (who would’ve guessed), scary steep and the kids loved it. It goes through a hole in the rock, very cool. We walked around the rainforest walk and saw the fake dinosaur things then took the cableway back to the gift shop (oooh more tea towels!). We then gave the train ride another chance to slide us down a mountainside.
At sunset we went down to view The Three Sisters because of the amazing subtleties in the changes of light and the fact that you don’t pay for parking after 5pm. I tend to think it’s a bit boyist to call it the three sisters, why couldn’t they change it to ‘The Three Siblings?’ That way no one would feel left out.
We splurged dinner at a little Korean restaurant (main street of Katoomba has more cafes than you can throw a cappuccino at) and retired to the luxury of our genuine 1970’s, dingy motel room. The kids were impressed that you could fit three beds, a table and two chairs into a room that small. I liked the baby soaps (there wasn’t room for grown up soaps). And Monja liked the price.
The next day we did a wander round and checked out some cool art galleries and fended off constant calls for snacks and lollies until we caved at the Leura candy store, that had every type of tooth rotting substance you could imagine. I bought a bag of cobbers (you can’t walk past those choc coated caramel treats). We were very taken with Katoomba/Leura they were very quaint little places surrounded by unique, escarpment enhanced scenery.
We were back in the big smoke for Friday and took a bus into the city for an opera house tour. It was very interesting and we heard all about the conflict ridden history of its construction. There was a rehearsal going on in the concert hall when we peeped in. The quality of the sound was awesome. But the thing that that really stands out is the tea towels in the souvenir shop. At $43.95 they have topped my tea towel price-range-ometer. How well would a $44 tea towel dry your dishes? You’d probably just have to wave it over the top of them.
We followed it up with a ferry trip to Watsons Bay. What a cheap way to tour the harbour! We walked up the hill and over to the ocean cliffs at The Gap. Very impressive and I love that you can see the headland on the northern side of the harbour.
Saturday we met up with my cousin Siobhan and her kids at the Power House museum. It is so good to catch up with family you hardly ever see. We all had a great day and only got to see a fraction of the things that were there.
We are here for another day or two and then back to the central coast for awhile. (PS So proud of Tim getting a post up on this site!)