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Katoomba revisited

Lynette here. This morning I woke up and peeked out the window and guess what? It wasn't raining and I could sort of see a tree line out in the distance! Instead of going to the caves like we were going to do today since it was forcasted that it was going to rain again today, Dave and I decided to head to the Three Sister's lookout (check out the picture of the Three Sisters in the next blog entry) for a possible view of the blue mountains which we had yet to see. My hopes sunk however as we started the 25 minute walk to the lookout because it was really foggy. It wasn't raining but you couldn't see the mountains at all. When we arrived at the Three Sister's lookout all we could see was fog - no views, no blue mountains, nothing. We went to the Information booth and I overheard the Information person telling a couple that the fog comes and goes and also overheard her telling them some good hiking trails to do when it is misty and foggy. Dave and I decided to do one of the hiking trails that was a few miles long and had a moderate difficulty level and we both were so glad we did. The walk was magnificent and we saw some amazing waterfalls and rock formations along the way. At the end of the walk we heard some people cheering and clapping and we look up and see them on a look out platform taking pictures. Dave knew right away that the fog must have lifted - so he goes running like a bat out of hell up the trail towards the lookout platform and sure enough he was right, the fog had lifted and we had our first view of the blue mountains including the Three Sisters. We clapped and yelled too since it was looking like we were not going to get to view them due to the weather. But the fog does move quickly and not a few minutes later you could see the fog decending again on the mountains. The lookout point we were at was actually at the base of the scenic railway - which is the steepest railway in the world. Coal was once mined in this area so this railway transported the coal and the people down the side of the cliff. Now, you can take the scenic railway back to the top of the mountain which is what Dave and I did since we didn't want to walk all the way to the top. The scenic railway was extremely steep - basically the track looked completely vertical at some points. We made it safely to the top and then spent some time hanging out in the scenic world gift shop and had lunch at their cafe and then the fog lifted again and again we had awesome views of the entire blue mountain area. This was turning out to be a mighty fine day.

After awhile we decided to move on and visit another nearby town called Leura. We were told that we could catch a cheap bus fare outside of this one building so we waited for about 20 minutes and finally a bus pulled up but he told us that he couldn't take us it was the next one. So, we waited and saw the next bus and asked the driver if he could take us the the nearby town of Leura and he said no he only goes to Katoomba. Dave and I were like, what? the last bus driver said that the next bus would take us to Leura. The bus driver took pity on us and said he would take us as far as Katoomba town center where we could catch a train to Leura. We said ok and went to pay for the ride and he told us not to worry about it, which was extremely cool of him. The bus takes off and makes its first stop at the Three Sisters Look out. This is where Dave and I had started out in the morning where the views were nonexistent because of the fog but now they were glorious. Dave and I got off the bus and the driver said that he had to stay there for 5 minutes so we could take our pictures and he would wait for us. Again, a totally cool move by this driver that picked us up for free. However, once we saw these views we decided to stay there for awhile and forgo the trip to Leura and do another shorter hike to the actual Three Sisters rock formations. Dave runs back and tells the driver that we are going to stay and he tells Dave, well I might see you two again. Dave and I then take the 30 minute hike to the Three Sister rock formations. There was a bridge that you could walk over and actually sit under one of the rock outcroppings of one of the three sisters. The steps down to this were extremely steep - they are called the giant stairway and go not only to the three sisters but all the way down the side of the cliff.

We are so happy how this day turned out and feel very fortunate to have actually seen views of the blue mountains. They are called the blue mountains because the bluish tint the Eucalyptus trees produce and they really do look blue in the distance. We finally decide to head back to our hostel which is about a 25 minute walk up hill and as we are about 5 minutes into the walk, sure enough, a bus stops on the side of the road and it is the bus driver from before asking us if we want a lift into town. We of course say sure and again he doesn't charge us anything! Not only did he give us a lift into town - he ends up dropping us off right across the street from the hostel we are staying at. It was just the perfect ending of an absolutely great day.

Tomorrow it is expected to rain, again, so we are planning on going to the caves that we were going to go today which should also be awesome.

One of things about Australia is how old it is. We were told that when the Grand Canyon was a stream, the blue mountains were ancient. Also, in the mid 1990's some bushwalkers by pure chance came across about 40 trees from dinosaur days that were thought to be extinct. They said that the likely hood of them finding these trees is like the likely hood of someone finding a small dinosaur still alive. The location of these trees is a strictly guarded secret. They also said that there are parts of the blue mountains where humans still have never walked.

We have one more day in Katoomba and then we are back to Sydney to pick up our Indian Visas. Let's hope they let us into their country. Then we fly to Alice Springs which is the closest town to Uluru (Ayers Rock). Deciding on how to get to Uluru has been a chore. The travel agent where we bought our Nepal tickets from told us that it is cheaper for Australians to fly to Fiji then to visit Uluru. It basically is in the middle of Australia which means it is in the middle of no where since the middle of Australia is basically all outback. It is over a 3 hour plane ride from Sydney to Alice Springs and Uluru is another 5 hour bus ride. But, this is something that neither Dave nor I could leave Australia and not see and everything thing that I have read and heard indicates it is worth every ounce of effort to see and that you will not be disappointed.

Take care and until next time.

Posted by schuckley 01:00

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