All those months ago in our little flat in Greenwich we began planning our trip. The end goal for the medium term was to make it to Sydney. Karen had been to Australia in 2006 on a backpacking trip with two friends so she would be our guide when we made it Down Under. As John rattled off place-names along the east coast, Karen would enthusiastically reply…
“Been there..done that..will show you around”
That is until I brought up the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. The silence in the room was deafening.Clearing his throat, John tried again…
“I think the Blue Mountains sounds cool. We can spend a weekend up there like you did last time, right Karen?”
Sheepishly Karen looked up at John and began her confession.
“When I said we did everything, I meant we did most things. We didn’t make it to the Blue Mountains!”
Fast forward to April 2015 and Karen would no longer be able to claim ignorance. We would be spending Easter in the Blue Mountains!!
The only problem was…the weather. It was pishing it down! We arrived around 4pm on the saturday and explored the towns of Katoomba and Leura in the rain to acquaint ourselves. Katoomba is the larger of the two and is where most of the action is with streets full of restaurants, pubs and some shops. Leura is a little bit more picturesque and has one main tree lined boulevard with craft and linen shops and teahouses.
We spent the first evening back at the B&B and snuggled into it’s own private cinema. Armed with tea and biscuits we watched Russel Crowe’s The Water Diviner – a bit ironic as Water was the last thing we needed. Oh well better luck the next day.
The next day was worse… (weather wise)!
We tried to see the Blue Mountains but it just wasn’t working. This next picture pretty much sums up our feeling on things…
So it was time for Plan B – Indoor activities. Luckily Katoomba has a few of these and one in particular that was a good call.First up was a cup of hot tea and some chocolate envy at the Blue Mountains Chocolate Company
We had been in Australia for quite some time now but had been limited in our exposure to Aboriginal Culture up to this time. At Echo Point is the Waradah Cultural Centre. This was an art/gallery and cultural show combined and reminded us a lot of the Kathakali Shows we saw in Kerala. We found this very interesting and insightful and is well worth the visit.
As we waited for the bus we spotted these guys milling about the square..
That Sunday night we went to Leura for dinner and had a good grumble about the trip so far. It had been good but not great thanks to the rain. We had an open day the next day and prayed for sunshine! To pick ourselves up we watched the finale of Breaking Bad – but unfortunately someone, cough *Karen* cough cough! was a bit disappointed with it. God we really need sunshine for our last day!
We awoke that Monday morning to birdsong and as John walked gingerly over to the window he said a final novena for good news. As he pulled back the curtains the rays of sunshine suddenly entered the room like an invader. It was going to be a busy day!
Breakfast was enjoyed – but wolfed down as we dashed for the first bus down to Scenic World – armed with an unlimited ride pass and a sense of purpose. As we were a bit johnny-on-the-spot with our arrival there were hardly any queues as we jumped on the Scenic Railway (the world’s steepest apparently!) and descended into the Jamison Valley below.
The next few hours were spent walking the Forest walkways, going up and down the various cable cars and enjoying some amazing views on the valleys below and the mountains beyond. John Junior had really lost his fear of heights that day.
Because breakfast had been huge, we opted for a light lunch and this gave us ample time to get some treks in. We started heading towards the Leura Cascades before doubling back and seeing the Three Sisters at Echo Point. What a difference a day makes – on Sunday it was deserted and misty and today it was sunny,clear and rammed with other tourists.
With darkness falling and daylight failing we headed back to Katoomba and picked up our bags. The choice was an early dinner there or a much later dinner back in Sydney. We chose wisely and found a Malaysian Bakery that made really good roti canai and some tasty Penang curry. As we got on the train to Sydney we noticed some interesting street art in the tunnel.
Bye-bye Blue Mountains – It was emotional but see you for Christmas in July!