A Day in the Blue Mountains
Sydney is hardly devoid of beguiling tourist traps; they lurk around every breezy harbour-side corner and down every thronging inner-city street. But when the time inevitably comes for a lungful of fresh, country air, the Blue Mountains in all their hazy, eucalyptus-scented splendour will call. This ancient amalgamation of sandstone plateaus, plummeting gorges and impenetrable forests protrudes grandly from the land just two hours east of Sydney.
A multitude of tours depart the city each morning for this UNESCO-listed expanse of New South Wales which swells with leafy trails, valley-embracing viewpoints, and other enticing cultural pulls. Climb on board with the Katoomba-based tour company, Scenic World, who offer the most exclusive vehicles for exploring the area. Set the morning off to an elevated start with a ride on the Scenic Cableway where you will bob across the gorge in the comfort of your cabin, past the russet-coloured, scrub-capped rock famously known as the Three Sisters which will hog your attention with its unique formation and prehistoric aura. From this sky-high spot, viewers will get a sense of the silent vastness of the Jamieson valley which ripples with an indigo mist (created by the oils released from the eucalyptus trees). From the regal heights to the shadowy depths, board the Scenic Railway and devote the rest of the morning to the forest. Inclining at a nerve-racking 52° angle, the squeaky red carriages and their glass roofs plunge riders into the heart of the valley. Here you can disembark and stroll through shady swathes of eucalyptus where snatches of sunlight scatter the pathway and the sweet-smelling trees clamber with koalas and rustle with grey kangaroos. Alternatively, take the raised Scenic Walkway through tangles of Jurassic rainforest past cool springs and ancient trees.
When your stomach starts to rumble catch a 10 minute bus toLeura – a lazy mountain town where coffee shops spill from the leafy sidewalk, old-world stores brim with books and antiques, and the backwoods of the great Australian bush beckon. Grab a bubbling steak and kidney pie from Bakehouse on Wentworth and pull up a picnic bench in one of Leura’s scenic spots. While away the rest of the afternoon on the Jenolan Caves tour. Chiselled into this limestone labyrinth is a history of the native aboriginals who first inhabited the Blue Mountains, whilst thrillseekers can squeeze, crawl and climb their way around this spooky warren of tunnels with an array of adventure activities.
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