The Blue Mountains: New South Wales answer to the Grand Canyon

Today, we tackled the Blue Mountain.  Catching the 8:15 a.m. train should put us in Katoomba around 10:30.  There are many tour operators and viewing options, mainly the scenic railway and cable car across part of the canyon.  We decided to do a self-tour.  The cliff trail offers all of the wow at no cost, and more of a personal connection.

The Grand Canyon is similar in vastness, but was cut by the Colorado River.  The Blue Mountains are more similar to the Smokey Mountains, with cliff sides and sweeping vistas similar to the movie ‘The Last of the Mohicans’.   The drop down is thousands of feet, soaring limestone cliffs and dense forests.  We walked what seemed like many miles, but turned out to be only about 2 kilometers (Prince Harry Cliff Walk).  The switchback trek was rocky, muddy, steep-climbing, sharp-dropping, view-inspiring, and cliff-hugging, with dense foliage.

It was impossible to see ALL of the Blue Mountains, but we got a good taste.  Well worth a return someday.

Some specific sites include the Three Sisters, a set of three rock spires and similar to outcroppings in Monument Valley in the Southwest.   We visited Honeymoon Point, another great lookout spot.  Lady Darly Lookout offered a stairway that reminded us of Cinque Terre in Italy.  Echo Point gave a sweeping view of the whole valley. Kiah Lookout was also along our trail.  Each view was better than the last.  Beautiful, breath-taking.  Those more adventurous than us went further down to the next trail for an even-more stout walk.

We thought we’d walked all the way to Leura, and found we hadn’t even left Katoomba.

Weary, we headed back to the train station and found a few beers.  At this location, we were introduced to Aussie’s hard cider; a new favorite for Thene.  The James Squire line of beers is also very good, and something on the order of Sam Adams.

We took the train to the next stop in Leura, and had one more refreshment before the 1 1/2 hour train ride back toward Sydney.

Tired feet.  Worn out train map. Two ‘cold refreshments.’ 😉

We hopped off at Paramatta to catch the ferry back to Sydney Harbour.  Even this ferry ride took about an hour.  The ride was chilly as the sun set and we sped along in the ‘express’ ferry.  We arrived back at the harbour near the opera house, at the Circular Quay stop, and took the train back to our ‘home’ down by Town Hall.  Another good but exhausting day.  Feet are exhausted and blistered.  Hard to believe we will be up VERY early tomorrow for Easter Sunrise service at the Sydney Opera House, and a walk (?!) through the Botanic Gardens.  Are we crazy or what?

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