|14/5/2012 Updated with own photos|
|The trees and shrubs in the valley below|
|The serene valley of the Blue Mountains|
|Such a refreshing change from the city skyscape|
|Endless stretch of valleys, mountains and blue skies|
|All set for the hair-raising ride|
|View from the top|
|The original train for the coal miners|
|Ventilation furnace in the coal mine|
|Another view of the furnace|
|The coal miner's tools|
|Ceramic blue and orange flowers on the forest floor|
|Art in the Forest showcased fascinating art works|
|This is my favourite - the twin Bat Women in the Wilds|
|A red 'fish trap' among the trees|
|A plaster head on a mossy rock|
|A piece of art that blends in with the setting|
|A gap in the tree trunk|
|A palm-like tree in the forest|
|Rainbow-coloured sticks on the ground|
|The Three Sisters forlornly gaze at the beauty of |
the Blue Mountains
|'Seven miles from Sydney, a thousand miles from care',|
a catchphrase coined by the early Port Jackson and
Manly Steamship Co, captures the carefree spirit of this seaside town..
Sand, Sea 'n SurfI was about to explore the museums in the city when two sweet ladies from the Free Walking Tour asked if I'd like to take the ferry to Manly with them.
I jumped at the invitation, dragged my sore feet to Wharf No 3, paid AUD5.60 for Adult Single ticket, boarded the sleek single-tier ferry and slunk into an upholstered seat opposite them at a table for four.
We sipped our complimentary coffees and took in the late afternoon sunshine on the dark blue waves and frothy white foams.
It took about 30 minutes to reach Manly Wharf, where we were approached by friendly Asian faces trying to lure us into the food court and the open massage parlour with chairs and couches facing the convenience store. As soon as we stepped on the streets outside, we were greeted by two-storey wooden shops with nicely decorated windows which could have been lifted straight from Quincy Market at Boston Harbour.
We decided to take a right to the sandy strip on the cove, which looked out to sail boats on the water and picture perfect properties on the cliffs. About five minutes further down the road, we encountered a surf beach swarmed with sun bathers, swimmers, children taking surfing lessons and a lone para sailor. We sat on the cement steps to enjoy the cool sea breeze.
Walking along the other rows of shops and eateries, we stumbled upon a Malay/Indonesian restaurant, Malacca Straits Satay Restaurant, at the corner of Sydney Rd. We were invited in to study the menu but one of the ladies couldn't stomach spicy food. So we walked over to the wharf where the lady with the sensitive bowels had a sandwich while the other lady and I ordered noodles from Chat Thai. After we've consumed our dinner, we caught the view of the harbour against the setting sun on our ferry ride back to Circular Quay.
Blue Mountain HighI found that you didn't have to feel lonely even though you're travelling alone. Provided you're not shy to break the ice and start conversations with room mates or fellow travellers. Hence, I almost did a somersault when my blonde, blue-eyed, (seemed like) six footer German dorm mate, Marietje Chen, asked me if I'd like to take the train to the Blue Mountains with her the next morning.
So, there we were - bright and early, with coffee cups and muffin bags - waiting for the 8:27am CityRail train destined for Katoomba at the nearby Central Station. It was a two hour ride on the double-decker ultra-modern train from Sydney and, on the way, we passed by small towns and suburbs with Anglo and Abo names such as Strathfield, Parramatta and Penrith.
|Leura Mall with its pretty and quaint shops|
|The Skyway which boasts the world's first Electro-Sceniglass floor|
Right off the bus, we were ushered into the Skyway cabin where we were taken on a 720 metre journey, 270 metre above jaw dropping ravines and heart-stopping waterfalls. We were simply bowled over by the ancient rainforests in the surrounding mountains and valleys below. The Skyway gives us a 360 degree spectacular bird's eye view of the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, Mount Solitary and the never ending expanse of the Jamison Valley.
The Three Sisters
|The Three Sisters, doomed to be eternal sentinels|
|The stroll along the cool, temperate rainforest was such a pleasant experience compared to hot and humid tropical ones. |
I promise to post some 'Art in the Rainforest' pieces
once I've located my usb cable!
Hang on for the steepest Railway ride!
Without the lush vegetation,
the railway's steepness is
obvious in this c1900 pic.
Woosh, and down the slope we go!!