In the Blue Mountains

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Landing in Sydney was an unbelievable experience. Watching out of the window of the aircraft I felt like sitting in front of the tv. The combination of the harbour and the skyline of the CBD gives such a spectacular view.
However, getting off the plane we didn’t head into the city centre but waited for our new French friend, Marion who flew in from Melbourne just to have some more fun with us, and the three of us plus another backpacker Pernille from Denmark started a roadtrip right from the airport to the Blue Mountains National Park, which is only an hour-long drive from Sydney.
As we have all been travelling for a while and we do not have much time for planning everything out, all 4 of us were pretty clueless what exactly we wanted to do in the Blue Mountains. But what are the information centres there for, right?

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There are quite a few information centres along the great Western Hwy, but in case you need help regarding accommodation or you are confused about your itinerary I would especially recommend the one at Glenbrook, which is practically at the gate of the national park if you drive from Sydney westwards, so you can’t miss it.
We had not even booked any hostel before leaving Sydney so we definitely needed some instant help. Luckily we met Ben – an employee at the info point in Glenbrook – who made a couple of phone calls for us and within 20 minutes we had a great accommodation at a much better price than we had ever expected. (In the middle of a long weekend!) It was not a hostel but a pub with rooms upstairs; an old Victorian building called Imperial Hotel just 15 minutes away from Katoomba which is the official capital of the Blue Mountains.
Ben also helped us selecting the best lookout points to watch the sunrise from (the best one was definitely a lookout outside the village Blackheath just after another infopoint) and he suggested that we should go to the Jenolan Caves where if we are lucky we can see platypuses at the Blue Lake at around 3-4 pm after the majority of tourists have left.
The blue lake

The blue lake

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Unfortunately we were not so lucky, but the caves were definitely worth a visit as it is the world’s oldest cave, about 340 million years old. The coral fossils found there imply that it is even older, more about 430 years old.

The Blue lake where the platypuses are supposed to be is really blue – allegedly because of the high density of minerals.

Be careful with the Jenolan Caves Road though as the last 15 km heading to the caves is extremely narrow and windy! There is hardly enough space for two cars, not to mention tour buses…

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Three sisters

Three sisters

The Three Sisters, the most famous stone formation in the Blue Mountains National Park. The name’s origin goes back to the dreamtimes (aboriginal mythological stories). According to the story the leader of the Katoomba tribe was afraid so much that the enemy could take his 3 daughters off from him, he just turned them into stones, but before he had had to chance to break the spell, he was murdered, so the 3 “stoned” sisters are still standing above the huge eucalyptus forests of the Blue Mountains. As they are so popular, this is the most crowded spot of the whole national park. If you want to avoid the crowd visit the place early before the day-trippers arrive from Sydney.
You can visit the Blue Mountains for a day, it is definitely a lovely day-trip from Sydney, but if you enjoy hiking and love nature, I would definitely encourage you to not just rush over the main sights but stay at least for a night. Watch the sunset and the sunrise, wander around the several waterfalls, go down into the forests, and just “get lost” in the beauties this area is offerring. It is definitely worth it!

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