Our day trip to the Blue Mountains was fantastic. First, we took a train to Katoomba. Then we bought a ticket for the hop on hop off bus. We did one loop where you cannot get off, you just enjoy the scenery. Then we boarded a new bus and got off a couple of stops after the Three Sisters and walked back. The scenery was wonderful and the scent of eucalyptus from all the gum trees filled the air. We reboarded a bus and got off a few stops before Leura. Being on a plateau you walk down at the start of your walk and back up at the end, which seemed odd, more great scenery. Then we had a look at the pretty town of Leura.
Ok, the Blue Mountains are not "off the beaten path", but they make for a great day trip out of Sydney.
The train ride from Sydney to Katoomba takes about 2 hrs and you'll step out into a beautiful scenery of steep hills covered with gum trees. The name "Blue Mountains" derives from the blueish mist of oil, given off these gum trees.
There are lots of great walks to be done, or for the lazy...great rides at Scenic World. Of course you can combine both...
A combined train & explorer bus ticket costs 36 AU$ for a day.
"Located on the cusp of the magnificent Blue Mountains, the Fairmont Resort offers a relaxing escape for anyone. The resort is situated amongst a sea of greenery and water, by the beautiful Jamison Valley, elegant gardens and lakes and the historic Leura Golf Course.
The 210 rooms take maximum advantage of the dramatic Blue Mountains scenery with views out onto the bush or gardens. The fresh high altitude air and stunning views will put you in the mood for some mountain activity and the extensive list of things to do on site could keep you entertained for days. You'll find everything from mountain biking to golf, swimming to bushwalking, tennis to spa and hydro facilities. " see...http://www.peppers.com.au/site.asp?siteid=9
"When I cautiously tried to get closer to photograph a tiny purple flower at ground level Lis said not to worry about the plants, as they grow back, and then proceeded to stomp all over some of the flowers in an act we would have described as vandalism. Her carefree air made the garden blossom even more; the morning became an experience rather than a simple viewing.
We meandered through the lower reaches on the zig-zag paths pondering the maintenance schedule for such a place and soaking up the beauty before us. We reached the top again and then had to return after losing Rosemarie’s hat for the second time.
After another session with Lis and having her elaborate on how the money paid at the gate was so necessary for the Children’s Hospital we had an attack of the guilts and contributed even more on the way out. She also offered us a copy of her philosophy that we grasped with the eagerness of children being handed a new toy. Would it be a life-changing grasp of life’s eternal questions? A new beginning perhaps? No, it was simply the story of how the garden had evolved."
I'm quoting here from my email of October 2010:
So our wander commenced; first the church, then Church Lane where we headed in search of Nooroo, one of the most famous gardens of Mount Wilson. A sign on The Avenue indicated it was open. On our way we had a bad case of “driveway envy”, a result of staring down magnificent entrances to a dozen country homes, all overgrown by mature beds of trees and annuals.
The feast of colour continued past Nooroo because it was actually closed. Though disappointed we continued on up the dead end Church Lane to its highest point. Here a car was just departing; perhaps the occupants would know of a garden that was open but sadly they were behind closed doors before we could find out. However, the sign at the gate was a welcoming one and indicated a fee of $5 each that would be a donation to the Childrens Hospital.
It also said to apply at the house for a garden map so I did. A tentative rap on the door wasn’t answered so I started to wander back to where Rosemarie was waiting when an effervescent voice emerged from the shadows. It was none other than one of the owners, Lis Gow. Though aged, for the next half hour she regaled us enthusiastically with tales of the house and garden that kept us thoroughly entertained.
We learned how she was actually Austrian and had met her husband, Paul, in Tamworth when she was a teacher. They had heard over thirty years ago that half of a property was up for sale at Mount Wilson while visiting and, presto, the rest is history.
The garden these days is so abundant that even Lis doesn’t know all the plants but the azaleas and rhododendrons were like fires midst the trees, none more so than the orange azalea bush that constantly beckoned the eye. The mature trees formed a wonderful backdrop and the ground cover a lovely visual balance to the whole scene. Patterns wove through the petals in delicate designs backlit by the morning sun while occasional peonies stood out with their outrageous display of petals."
continued next tip
Taking a trip to the Blue Mountains is a must in my opinion. After several trips to Australia, I finally made it to the Blue Mountains in 2010. The Mountains are absolutely beautiful. The natural beauty and serenity found here is incredible. There are several hotels/B&B's in the area if you want to spend an extended period of time here. We took a day tour to the Mountains and found it to be an excellent way to spend the day.
The Grand Circular Tourist Drive is a fantastic way to see the majority of the Blue Mountains. The road winds its way up and around the mountain, 260km from Sydney along the Great Western Hwy & Bells Line of Road.
From Sydney, take the M4 Motorway out of the city and follow the Great Western Highway up the mountains from Lapstone, this route is the way the first European explorers headed over the mountains in 1813.
Stop at the Heritage Centre in Blackheath and pick up maps, souvenirs and brochures, and ask questions, the volunteers are eager to help!
From Blackheath there are a number of possible touring routes where you see Sandstone cliffs, plunging waterfalls, and historic towns.
Drive another 15km along the Great Western Highway from Blackheath to the 19th-century village of Hartley, at the base of the Victoria Pass (this is a steep descent). This is an old historic town, worth a wander around. After Mt Victoria the Bells Line of Road loops back to Sydney, passing by Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens and Wollemi National Park on its way to the historic townships of Richmond and Windsor.
A great day's outing, remember to allow plenty of time for sightseeing and walking!
A two hours train ride from Sydney the Blue Mountains National Park is situated. You will not find that the mountains here are coloured blue, but there is a sort of haze coming from the eucalyptus trees that is a bit blue. Pictured you will see the Three Sisters, which is the best known attraction of the Blue Mountains. Though certainly not the only one. I will tell you more about the Blue Mountains on my Blue Mountains National Park page soon.
if u see this type http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-bellied_Black_Snake, you are OK.
I ran into one, she ran away much quicker than I did.
if it is brown, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_brown_snake, leave as soon as possible.
more info, see http://www.oztrek.com.au/pages/blue-mountains-fauna/snakeslizards.php
For experienced walkers, only takes half of your time to do those tracks.
Depending on how adventurous you may be, or how you carry the weight of yours around, you may want to consider taking hikes in the Blue Mountains. No nothing too wayward, nothing too over the top dangerous - you can do it in the vicinity of the touristy Katoomba-Leura area.
If you have purchased a Blue Mountain Explorer Bus ticket, either tagging up with the Cityrail tickets in a discount package (for less than A$50, circa Jun 08) or on its own, there are opportunities for you to walk/hike between stops, allowing you wonderful chances to really experience the beauty of the Blue Mountains.
On a recent visit, I undertook a hike from Leura Cascades (Stop 16) to Gordon Falls (Stop 17). The walk is advised as "Medium level" as a fair bit of hiking up stairs are required. Don't let it deter you. For the next 40 minutes, I was treated to fresh blasts of eucalyptus rich air and even richer sceneries.
But alas, I never did made it to Gordon Falls as my colleague who came along could not cope with the strain and we had to abandon mid way (at Stop 19). However, making it to Leura Cascades and standing tall over the tumbling waters, is a reward by itself.
Aside from doing a PYO (Pick your Own) Fruits at Bilpin, there are also other numerous places to go to and explore, not just the popular places like Katoomba, Jenolan, etc.
From Bilpin, keep driving up the Bells Line of Road until you see signs going to MT. Tomah.
Here you will be rewarded. Around this area is where the legendary Wollemi Pines was reportedly discovered. This species have just been recently found and were present since the time of the dinousaur age!
Don't fail to expore the rich wonders of Mt. Tomah, home to Australian species of plants and animals plus other notable introduced plants and trees from all over the world!
The gardens are carefully planned that plants and trees are classified into different climatic areas/zones. There are also numerous picnic areas and barbecue facilities for a fun family day out enjoying the richness of nature!
(Bear with me as I search for my lost pictures of our trip to Mt. Tomah.)
Take the hour and a half train trip from Sydney Central train station to Katoomba and check out the Three Sisters lookout point. There is a tram you can take up the mountain. There's also a really great gift shop at the lookout. This was just a stop point for us since we were actually going out for a bushwalk. If you're lucky enough to get to know any locals, ask them to point you in the right direction for some truly wonderful hiking paths through the gum trees!
So many people skip Blue Mountains and it's a shame. It's so quaint and different (esp from busy Singapore), a two day, 1 night trip might do but I spend two nights there. Even the train ride from the city was scenic. Did a lil hiking and abseiling. I stayed at the hostel there, cheap and clean.
Must visit the ... The Candy Store and Hatters Cafe.
Governor Phillip originally called the Blue Mountains the 'Carmarthen Hills' and 'Landsdowne Hills'. The name was changed because of the constant blue haze which usually surrounds the area. The Blue Mountains is densely populated by Eucalyptus trees.
The air is filled with finely dispersed droplets of oil, and combined with dust particles and water vapour, short-wave length rays of light are predominantly blue in colour, giving the blue look to the mountains.
Approximately 2 hours to the west of the city are the Blue Mountains, a natural barrier to the westward spread of Sydney.
It is a spectacular sight, and one of the easiest places to reach out of Sydney for a day trip or two week holiday, trekking through the bush.
If you want to travel independently, an easy option is the train to Katoomba, from where some of the major sites (Three Sisters, Scenic Railway etc) are nearby. But many of the main Blue Mountain attractions are accessible at the various stations on this train line.
See separate Blue Mountains National Park page