Just an hour away from Sydney lies one of Australia’s most visited areas of outstanding natural beauty: The Blue Mountains.
Following on from the Hunter Valley, we decided to take the scenic route to the Blue Mountains via the Putty Road. This is one of the oldest roads in Australia and has a reputation for being quite treacherous. The road passes between national park land and areas of wilderness with twists, turns and eye popping hairpin bends. Having researched the route first we were prepared for the terrain and found it quite exciting. The putty road takes almost twice as long as the highway but it is a much more enjoyable drive, through a beautiful part of the country. Val managed the roads really well and we all congratulated ourselves when we arrived in Katoomba.
We headed straight to Echo Point to view the Three Sisters rock formation and enjoy the views of the Jamieson Valley. We have seen some beautiful views during our time in Australia and this was one of the best, however it was also one of the busiest. All too often we have followed small roads to oddly named lookouts with views which span for miles across vast landscapes. These views are absorbed into our being as we breathe in soul filling, life affirming beauty, one gasp at a time. Unfortunately, the Blue Mountains close proximity to Sydney means it is the most accessible area for tourists to get their fix of natural beauty. The shear amount of people ‘enjoying’ the view with cameras, iphones and selfie sticks was somewhat off putting and the lookout became simply a photo opportunity for many, including us.
We visited the tourist information site and found out about a free camp near Blackheath so we set off to find it. We followed another twisting, turning, hairpin road for around 20 km’s and found a lovely spot by a river to camp for the night.
The following day we visited Scenic World, built around an old mine with a walkway, train, cable car and skyway offering unique views of the Jamieson Valley, Katoomba Falls and the Three Sisters. We rode the glass bottom skyway across a giant gorge before embarking on a cliff top walk back to Echo Point. Viewing the Three Sisters from the walk was much more enjoyable as it was a lot less busy than the main tourist pull of Echo Point.
Although it is a very busy area, the scenery in the Blue Mountains is breathtaking and with day trips from Sydney there is no excuse to miss ticking this off your bucket list.