I was still having some difficulty adjusting to the time change here in Australia, and even though I got little sleep, I still was out of bed early Monday to watch the sunrise. I wanted to see the famous botanical gardens while in Sydney so I walked past the Circular Quay, already abuzz with early commuters and the opening of the coffee and breakfast shops, in the predawn darkness. The aroma of coffee was everywhere. In the eastern sky the planet Venus was shining brilliantly.
I got to the gardens and saw some majestic old trees in the morning twilight, I was very disappointed to find the gardens were closed and did not open until 7 a.m. I made my way to the Opera House and was treated to the site of a huge cruise ship docking at the Circular Quay. Unfortunately, clouds on the eastern horizon obscured the sunrise. Here is a link to some more photographs from my morning walk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-five-sydney-morning-walk-february-8-2015
I headed back to my hotel for another hearty breakfast before I checked out. I really enjoyed the location, food and hospitality of the Sydney Old Town Holiday Inn and would recommend it to anyone visiting Sydney. After checkout I made my way with my luggage by foot to the Circular Quay and had no problems taking the local train, carrying all of my luggage, to Central Station. I then boarded my train to the Blue Mountains. The trains leave Sydney each hour .The train was filled mainly with tourists heading to the beautiful Blue mountains, a World Heritage site.
It was a pleasant two hour train ride to Katoomba the town I decided to stay in. Our ride first took us past the sprawl of the city. We than rode through the suburbs, with the familiar sights so typical now of all the industrial nations cities, modest homes, lawns, Seven Elevens, Shell gas stations and retails outlets being seen everywhere. Finally after about an hour we got into the beauty of the mountains as we made made our way through quaint little mountain towns as we climbed higher to Katoomba. Here is a link to some more photographs from my train ride to Katoomba. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-five-train-ride-to-katoomba-february-8-2016
I arrived in Katoomba around noon and made my way, with all my luggage, through the old tourist town and to the historic Carrington hotel, once one of the finest hotels in the British Empire. My room was ready but I found out it was a shared bath. The pitfalls of planning your own trip. No one to blame the problems on. I decide to upgrade. While they were preparing my new room I had a few hours to kill and I signed up for the Explorer bus tour to get me around town.
I applied a lot of sun screen to my head, I learned hot intense the Australian sun was, and hopped on the next bus. The guide was very informative and we learned so much about the flora and fauna of the region from him. His suggestion was for me to hike down to the Katoomba Falls by way of the Furber Steps.
It was sunny and hot, even in the mountains as I began my descent on the trail but it cooled down as soon as I walked under the thick canopy of mainly eucalyptus trees. I learned there are almost a thousand species of these trees and they have the unique characteristic of shedding their bark.The trail was steep and muddy in parts where small streams cascaded over the sheer cliff walls.
I hiked down and was intrigued by the many different species of ferns that grew along the way. I love the ferns back in my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania and didn’t realize there could be so many more species.
The trail descended along sheer cliffs by steep metal steps with rails. A fall over the rail would not be a good thing.
I came to another waterfalls and you could see this kids, hollering and having a good time and were real close to a deadly fall. I wish I was young again. No way would I get that close to the edge anymore. But when I was there edge I may be even closer.
This is the waterfall they were playing in and the straight drop just feet from were they where standing.
And then came the views. The famous “three sisters: rock formation could be seen acroos the valley. It was spectacular.
I made my way down to the bottom trail and decided there was no way I was hiking back up so I hitched a ride, for a fee of course, on the scenic railway. It is supposed to be the steepest railray in the world. It was an interesting experience but i was just glad I didn’t have to hike back up that mountain. Here is a link to some more photographs I took hiking to Katoomba Falls http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-five-katoomba-falls-cascade-hike-february-8-2016
I was now in the famous tourist park, Scenic World and decided to take the scenic Skyway ride, the highest cable car in Australia, across the valley, The views of the majestic Blue Mountains were awesome. Here is a link to some more photographs from the sky cable car ride. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-five-katoomba-scenic-world-skycar-february-8-2016
Once across I waited for the Explorer bus and rode it for a nice tour of the towns Katoomba and Leura. Again our guide filled us in on much local history, I got back to the historic Carrington hotel and my room was ready. After a long hot shower I explored the historic hotel .
There was so much elegance in all of the rooms. After exploring the hotel, the dining room not serving dinner i walked across the street for a nice meal. I wanted to head out to Echo Point to watch the sunset but it was a long day and I had to get some much needed sleep. I knew that i was only seeing the very tip of the iceberg and that the Blue Mountains contained far more beauty and secrets than I could see if I spent the rest of my life here. But, still I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to realize just how much beauty there is on this big blue planet. Here is a link to some more photographs of the grand and historic Carrington Hotel, http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/australia/nggallery/australia/australia-day-five-carrington-hotel-february-8-2016
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
― John Muir,