Monday, 23 January 2012

Blue Mountains: early morning cycle to 3 sisters

Mist clearing around skyway car.

Three Sisters on the edge of the Jamison Valley.

The 3 sisters, let's call them, Kylie, Danii and Barry - after Australia 3 most famous "women", although maybe instead of Danii we should have Priscilla? That will be two laydees and one queen of pop then.

I've just got back from early-ish cycle to the 3 sisters. As I cycled down and up Katoomba Street - it's a bit like one of those wavey slides you go down on a door mat - past some amazing whaffs from an invisible patisserie, towards Echo Point, it was clear that the valley was sitting beneath a heavy mist. The sun was starting to shine on the cable cars of the scenic skyway doing their early morning test runs. A couple of backpackers were having their breakfast  - yesterdays bread and half a jar of Nutella - on a bench in the viewing platform.
cycled as far as I could down the track to the start of the Giant’s Stairway and walked down the first section of it for “experienced walkers” to the first of the 3 sisters. Next to a bench under the overhang there’s a large copy of an Edwardian photo of 2 girls in long white dresses viewing the rocks.
The first sister; Kylie?

Under the first sister.

Will miss this bike in NZ.

Steepest railway in the world in Katoomba. Basically just feel like a vertical ride down a cliff face at 52 degrees.

The scenic skyway going over Katoomba Falls and forest. Floor of car becomes transparent as it goes off the edge.

Evidence of forest fire that was started deliberately October 2011. Apparently they just caught the chap responsible for it today!

The Blue Mountains: Pulpit Rock and Bushranger's Cave

Walking to the edge at Pulpit Rock.

A local recommendation, from a teenage lad we picked up on our drive back from the Ruined Castle walk, whose bike chain had broken, was to visit Pulpit Rock, near Mount Victoria.
The weather is absolute nuts here. One minute we've got the electric blankets on in the house and then it's a typical hot dry day. As we walked down the zig zag track to the Bushranger’s Cave: a huge red rock with no obvious entrance, the bush was alive with lizards the same colour as the fallen dusty gum leaves.
Digs found the entrance to the cave, slightly obscuerd by fallen boulders. Raz repeatedly warned us of rattle snakes and scorpions, and all I could say was with raised eyebrows was "127 hours". We'd walked this far we heaved ourseves up and I used my camera flash to explore the back of the cave.

Bushranger's Cave.

Entrance to the cave.

View of Jenolan Valley from inside the cave.

Magi pointed out that this view is seen through a dolphin shaped crack!

Painting boomerangs in the Katoomba Classroom.

The Blue Mountains: walk to Ruined Castle

We did a 5 hour walk along the old Federal Pass to the ruined castle today. This isn't a castle in the European sense; more of a rocky outcrop that is like a sandstone version of Haytor. I picked off a couple of leeches, one was as big as a slug. Digs, who thought he had escaped them, got back, took his shoes and socks off to dicover that two of them had been silently sucking away at his foot and lower leg without him noticing and blood was soaking through his socks. 
I got a call from someone from South Australia today and had another paypal scammer on the emails when we got back to the house trying to buy our campervan.
The hallmarks of the scam are that they always want to sort out the cash transfer without even coming to see the van. They also have various excuses for not being able to have phone contact. This one went by name of “Flora Schulze”, and she works on ships off the coast as a welfare office (always give slightly too much information), and is wanting to buy it for her dad’s 50th birthday surprise as a rennovation project. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to bits Flora! I replied with a short email saying that it was “amusing, but not very convincing”.


The boys at the Runied Castle lookout.

The Blue Mountains: Katoomba

This man was from the York Penninsular in the far north of Queensland, via Oxford, and had a nice BBC accent.

Just hanging out.

Always somewhere for a nap.

Our 1910 house in Katoomba.

The Blue Mountains: Katoomba skate park

Before we hit the blue gum trees, red rocks and wilderness, we've been spending a lot of time in various skateparks recently, so I thought you'd like to see one side of Katoomba that's not in the Lonely Planet Guide.

This railway line goes from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, mostly transporting open trucks of coal.