As I carefully planned my itinerary for Sydney, I knew I had to have a day to visit the Blue Mountains. I have read several books where they figure prominently, their blue haze a romantic background to so many stories. The Blue Mountains definitely lived up to their romance.
Shying away from large tours and tour buses, I asked the concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel, who recommended Blue Diamond Tours, a small tour specialist, taking a maximum of fourteen people. Luxurious, specialized tours! One learns so much more from small tour groups where the guide can actually take the time to tell stories. Blue Diamond Tours picked me up at the Four Seasons Sydney at 7:10 a.m for a full day tour. They use Mercedes mini buses for transport, and they are as comfortable a tour bus as I have ever been on. Our guide was Mina, very outgoing and gregarious, telling the worst jokes ever! It was a fun tour with him, absolutely!
In keeping with a luxury boutique tour, our first stop was in the Blue Mountains for morning tea. After tea or coffee with scones, jam and cream, we were on our way to amazing views and cold mountain waterfalls. The Blue Mountains are so called because of the Eucalypt trees which thickly cover the valleys. The Eucalypts give off a bluish haze which is quite beautiful and ethereal. Our first visit was to the Three Sisters, a rock formation said to be three sisters who were turned to stone. The legend is an aboriginal dream time story, and you can get the details right HERE. I do love the story.
Close to the Three Sisters is Scenic World, in the main Blue Mountains town, Katoomba (meaning shiny in aboriginal language) a company which runs two cable cars over the valleys, and one train ride through the forest. They also have walk ways so you can get down into the rain forest. Yes, under the canopy in the blue mountains you will find a temperate rain forest! I was stunned by the beauty of the plants and trees, especially the tree ferns. Their foliage is so delicate! There also lives in the forest a genus of Dwarf Pine Tree which predates the dinosaurs. The tree has been found in numerous fossils.
After our walk and rides at Scenic World we headed to Katoomba Falls, one of the many waterfalls of the Jamison Valley. It was so cold and clear, just beautiful. The sun was in the wrong spot for photos, but I’ve tried! We then went to Flat Rock, now known as Lincoln’s Rock in honor of a climber who died tragically of cancer. The views from Flat Rock are gorgeous. While at Flat Rock I heard another tour guide talking about how the mountains were once under the ocean. He showed his group shells in the rocks, and demonstrated how the aboriginals used the red rock as paint. Fascinating!
Then it was off to a yummy lunch at a pub, and the second part of our tour. To be continued!