The Blue Mountians
"I'm on the road again
Well, I'm so tired of crying
But I'm out on the road again...."
The song that just happens to be playing on Sydney's radio station 95.3 Smooth FM as I'm winding down the van roof, busily packing away and waiting for Reece to knock off work for the day. It feels good to pack down after a long stint in the one place and sooner than we know it we are back on the road again heading up the M7 and onto the M4 that leads north west up into the Blue Mountains. The weather is sunny but mild, a gorgeous autumn day that makes you feel glad to be alive. The first thing we notice is the beautiful autumn shades of peach, plum, lemon, amethyst and ruby in the maple trees that line the busy hwy heading up into the mountain. A glorious 4.30 afternoon sun glitters as we pass by a onslaught of delighted tourists having coffee in the cafes or a beer on the town pubs verandas. We are booked into the Katoomba Falls Caravan Park in a non-powered site as it was all we could get even though we booked three months earlier and when we arrive we are squashed into a tiny site between tents. There are seemingly hundreds of kids scootering around and riding their bikes, or kicking the football or holding a cricket bat. This is autumn Easter school holidays and everyone is settled in to relax!
As far as tourist attractions go, and value for money, Scenic World is an absolute must. At $32 per adult and free for our kids (River had to pretend he was not yet quiet 4) the day out is WORTH IT. We arrive early and hop straight aboard the 52 degree scenic railway that descends into a dark tunnel beneath the rocks and out into the Jamison Valley rainforest. During the school holidays there was a sculptures exhibition along the beautiful rainforest walk. The kids interpretation of the art was hilarious at least.
"Wow... Look at that one" River yells out with excitement running further ahead down the path than we would like.
"What is it River?"
"It's a spider!"
Olive copies with the most over expressed look of horror on her face
River continues. "The spider jumped over and wrecked the circus tent" (Another display) "And then it ate the apples, and climbed the trees and made a web and........." (The story just continued from display to display) I wonder what the artists would think of our kids interpretations of their hard work?
We ride the cableway back up the mountain and catch our first real glimpse over the Jamison Valley of the iconic Three Sisters and the Solitary Mountain. We've been reading a children's book to the kids for awhile now which is called "Are we there yet" by Alison Lester. In the story about another family who did a three month trip around Australia there are beautifully illustrated pictures of iconic landmarks around Australia. When we read the story, both River and Olive point and shout trying to beat each other in a game of who can identify the place first. They know, Monkey Mia with the dolphins, Broome with the camels, The Bungle Bungles, The Daintree with the butterflies, The Sydney Harbour Bridge and in Olives pronunciation 'The Op-a House'. Heading up the cableway I think a few people turned a bit stunned when they saw Olive point and say 'sisters, three'. River wondered why they didn't have their dresses on like they do in the illustrations in the book.
After our packed lunch and the arrival of at least 8 huge tourist busses we head over and pop into the huge line for the Skyway which hangs you right over the cliff edges and glides over the valley with magical views of the Katoomba Falls and The Three Sisters. Over the other side we take the Price Henry Cliff Walk to check out the falls, and another short walk to the Three Sisters Lookout. Olive is now blissfully asleep in the pram as we catch the skyway back to the main building and get ready to head back for the afternoon.... but alas.......!!!!!!!!!! River has LOST his beloved dinosaur toy!!! If it was up to Reece that dinosaur would be well and truly a gonner...
I can read his mind 'done, dusted, we told you not to bring it because you might lose it... let's go!, tourists are pissing me off!!!"
But luckily for River, mummy can see the desperation in a little four year olds eyes and after a huge run around to almost every end of the park, getting 5 staff members all communicating over their radios back and forth, two trips up the cafe and back again, several trips back and forth to the supposed lost property area and 1 nice lady who swears she picked it up but has no idea where it is now....after half an hour...... WE FOUND IT! Disaster averted.
While in the Blue Mountains area we would recommend a trip out to Blackheath. The quaint little town is just a 10 minute drive further west from Katoomba and gives you a whole new outlook on the mountains. Seriously the Blue Mountains are HUGE!! Gigantic. At the Paul Heath lookout there are trees as far as the eye can see in every direction. It is simply breathtaking. From there we take a drive into the Megalong Valley and find a nice walk into Mermaids Cave. Another must back in Katoomba is a visit to Echo Point where you can get more first rate views of the mountains and the Three Sisters. From there we took the Three Sisters Walk which takes you right down and onto the first of the sisters over a small bridge. Another must is a visit to Wentworth Falls, rated as one of the top waterfalls in NSW, and a visit to the Wentworth Lake also. There is SO MUCH to do in this area!
Reece's Uncle Ralph, Aunty Lyn and Cousin Sebastian have a restaurant in Katoomba called Solitary which boasts incredible views right over the mountains and to Solitary Mountain. We visit them at the restaurant and have a beautifully cooked lunch. We also visit their beautiful home for dinner one evening. It's so nice to see family and catch up. Thanks Ralph and Lyn for looking after us all and for having the Easter bunny come to your garden to hide all those eggs for the kids.
Next stop, The Hunter Valley.