(Part 1 of the Exciting New South Wales Series)
|Tourists from all over experience a different Australia with the Blue Mountains.|
I have to admit, scenic mountain ranges is not what comes to my mind when Australia is mentioned. Instead I have always pictured the great outback with a legion of Kangaroos and Wallabies hopping around, or maybe long stretches of sandy beaches with cute surfers bumming around. Blame it on Outback Steakhouse and Billabong ads. These are, after all, perceptions coming from me who also once thought that Japan is where inter-galactic monsters take residence when on earth and that everyone at Alaska lives in igloos (I was in pre-school, alright? I assure you I do not carry these views up to now).
But fortunately, a trip to Australia educated me to look past pop culture inferences and see beyond the obvious tourist path of hopping marsupials, and body beautiful beaches to witness the wonder that is The Blue Mountains.
According to that modern arsenal of knowledge that is Wikipedia, the Blue Mountains or the Greater Blue Mountains Area Heritage Site is a UNESCO World Heritage site that comprises of seven national parks and a conservation reserve. I did not get to go to all seven national parks, only one (The Blue Mountains National Park) and also the conservation reserve (Jenolan Caves) but from the few I have seen, it is amazing and I can’t wait to explore the other places on my next visit to Austalia.
So why is it called the Blue Mountains? Well duh. It looks like this:
The blue tinge is from the ultraviolet radiation scattered by particles within the atmosphere, or what is otherwise known as mie scattering. Apparently, the abundant Eucalyptus trees surrounding the area (and when you do inhale the air up there, it smells like eucalyptus! feels therapeutic!) produces volatile terpenoids which causes the mie scaterring. See how amazing it is? It brings out my inner geek!
To enjoy the sights of The Blue Mountains, I recommend you go to Scenic World in Katoomba, NSW. They have different kinds of rides you can take to view the amazing views the Blue Mountains has to offer. I took two rides: The Scenic railway and The scenic skyway. The scenic railway was highly recommended insisted to me by my aunt since for some reason she knew I was the “adventurous” type (photos in facebook of me surfing and getting on zip lines probably did it).
It is the steepest railway incline in the world and will take you through a cliff side tunnel and down into an ancient rainforest. I love it although I wished it went a lilttle bit faster which is just me, I love a good thrill. Nonetheless, the views made up for it. Wouldn’t it be nice if rollercoaster rides had rainforest views? So after a few photos on the stop, I went back in the railway to take me back, reverse-style, to the top where I started. The ride back to the top was more exciting for me as it has that similar feeling of the roller-coaster moment where you are descending in reverse, very slowly only to be swooshed back fast in. Except this time there is no imminent swooshing but just that endless anticipation of something going wrong and you’ll go downhill with no brakes on. This could make me vomit but it didn’t. I strongly believe the scent of eucalyptus wafting through the air helped (no wonder those Koalas are so chill).
Next ride was the Scenic Skyway which is basically a cable car that can fit about 20 people but more than a cable car it has an ElectroScenic glass floor where breathtaking views can be viewed as ou look down to the floor. Amazing. The ride will take you above ravines, dazzling waterfalls and ancient rainforests and will make one stop on a viewing deck where you can take photos of the beauty surrounding you. Definitely something worth coming back to.
|Do not mind me. I wanted to show the glass floor down at center. 🙂|
|Only one of the amazing views you get while riding the Skyway.|
|With the cable car operator. Nice guy. Only, no one asked him to be in this photo.|
You can check out the Scenic World website for more information including prices.