I always feel like I don’t travel enough, but when I looked at my backlog, clearly I traveled way more than I could blog.
My last day in Australia was devoted to Blue Mountains, a decision that even now – 2 years after my trip – I still regretted. Blue Mountains were worth visiting, don’t take me wrong, but in my case where I had only had half a day for Sydney, spending a whole day at Blue Mountains was not a smart choice.
Traveling to the Blue Mountains from Sydney took approximately 2 hours each way through rural, nondescript landscapes. Board the Blue Mountains line at Central Station and get off at Katoomba station. As my mother and I walked out of the station, we could immediately see a counter selling tickets for the Explorer Hop on Hop off bus – the official bus for touring Blue Mountains. Since before traveling there I only saw information about this bus, I thought it was our only choice. Without hesitation, I bought 2 tickets – which came in the form of 2 thick guide books. (Mom thought it was only a guide book written in a language she didn’t understand so she threw it in a trash can while we were having a snack waiting for the bus. When we got on the bus, our driver-guide asked for our ticket and I had to run like a maniac to the trash can, trying so hard to reach all the way to the bottom to retrieve it. Talking about language barrier!!).
However, it wasn’t the only company running hop on hop off buses at Blue Mountains. There were at least 2 other ones selling tickets for the exact same route for half the price, and all you needed to do was to cross the street from the counter of Explorer Hop on Hop off onto the other side. You would see ads for such companies right away. Their buses were obviously not as modern-looking and clean, but we wouldn’t care about that very much.
You can spend as much time as you want here, easily a full day. I got there around 10 am and left around 4, which was almost a whole day and still couldn’t see everything. But we did see all we wanted.
We only made 3 stops – Katoomba Falls, Echo Point – Three Sisters, and Leura Cascade.
Katoomba Falls was one of the highlights at Blue Mountains, probably not because of the falls itself, but because of the impressive scenery laid out in front of your eyes. The falls were rather disappointing actually, being a tiny thread of water falling down despite its height.
However, the vast valley behind could make up for some good photo opportunities.
From this stop, Scenic World was just a few steps away. Scenic World was the cable ride that took you across the valley.
Katoomba falls, Scenic World cable ride, and the scenic valley below
Echo Point – Three Sisters
The most famous stop of them all, if not the only stop worth seeing. There was this Japanese couple who shared the same hop on hop off bus with us and they only travelled 4 hours back and forth from Sydney to Blue Mountains for this view:
But even though this is the iconic view of the famous Blue Mountains, I wouldn’t even consider it more impressive and interesting than another day in the dynamic Sydney.
We (more like I – my mother wouldn’t care where we stopped) chose to stop here simply because it was bolded in the timetables. Plus, the driver guide also emphasized the greatness of this fall.
But this is how it looked like in early May:
And after climbing 300 steps down, you would get to the bottom of the fall for this different view:
Personally, I thought the climb wasn’t worth it, especially when I had planned to return to Sydney around 3 pm so that I could go back to the Opera House (I was indeed obsessed with the Opera House). Climbing down and up again took about 1 hour, and coupling with my mom’s several unplanned stops to recharge her due to hyperglycemia, I couldn’t get back to Sydney by the planned time, and thus here I am, more than 2 years later, sitting at home writing these words, feeling full of regrets.