Thursday, January 12, 2012

Australia Blog #20 The Blue Mountains

The change in temperature between Uluru and the Blue Mountains was drastic!  When we flew out of Ayers Rock, it was 40 degrees Celsius.  When we got out of the rental car in the Blue Mountains it was 12 degrees Celsius.  Serenna and Zac did not want to get out of the car it felt so cold.  Fortunately it warmed up during the next day, and we had some extra layers to put on.   The whole purpose for coming to the Blue Mountains was to do some hiking and enjoy the fabulous views. 
Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Can you spot the kids and I?

The Blue Mountains were so named because of the blue haze that comes of the eucalyptus trees that carpet the floor of the valleys between the Blue Mountains.
Hiking in the Blue Mountains, NSW

During some parts of the hike we were walking through areas of recent forest fires.  Amidst the charred trees were beautiful examples of new growth.
A recent forest fire has devastated part of the trail.

New growth from the charred remains.

These fern heads were popping up everywhere.
At the end of our hike, we took a cable car across the gorge to go to the visitor centre.  The cable car had a glass floor, providing interesting views.
Cable car across the gorge reminded us of our Switzerland ski days.
This cable car had a glass floor!

Zac cuddles a few koalas in the gift shop.

After a full day of hiking we were all keen on finding a spot for dinner.  We ended up having the best meals in Katoomba and Leura (two towns in the Blue mountain area).  Maybe it was the fresh cool mountain air, perhaps it was the appetite brought on by hiking, I just know that every meal we had was fabulous!  Indian, Vietnamese, or traditional Australian, it was all great grub.

Mount Solitude behind the clouds.

The weather was incredibly changeable.  One moment a huge cloud would roll in and it would soon be pouring rain.  Then the sun would come out and light up the gorgeous “three sisters”. 

Three sisters in the haze.

Three Sisters a few minutes later as a cloud front moves in - seriously!

Three Sisters reappear 30 min. later and the sun pokes out.
P-S, Jas, Serenna and Zac in the Blue Mountains.

On our second day of hiking we went down into the valley between mountains.  This meant a steep stair climb, aptly named the “Giant Stairway”.

Glad there was something to hold onto, it was pretty steep going.
No kidding!
Keep going down....

Once again the kids impressed us with their stamina, lack of complaining, and sense of adventure.  They made up roll-playing games, and we took turns making up silly verses to song Serenna created as we hiked.  
We rarely saw other people during the hike.
Jason between the Three Sisters rock formations.

And more bloody stairs.
The Blue Mountains were beautiful in all weathers.  I am constantly reminded of the diversity of landforms and habitats that Australia has to offer.

Next we drive back to Sydney, return the rental car and fly to Brisbane where at last I will see my sister Terri and brother in law Joe!!!   

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