Monday, 5 September 2011

Oz: Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are about a two-hour drive from Sydney.  Although it is accessible by train, bus and guided tour, we decided renting a car for the day was the most expedient.  It took a while to get used to driving in Sydney because, apart from driving on the "wrong" side of the road, one also had to get used to the narrow driving lanes, both in town and on the highway.  For us, this was the "rehearsal" for our extended driving tour in New Zealand.  Katoomba is the nearest town but we headed straight for Echo Point from where you can see the panorama with the Three Sisters in the foreground.  There are many hiking trails in the area, including a short one to the Three Sisters.  Scenic World is a park in the area with two cable cars.  It is a little touristy but a walk in the tropical forest is worth the price of entry as the trails are well-marked and points of interest clearly explained.

I was struck by the resemblance between this landscape and some of what we saw in China when we were in the Zhangjiajie National Park in Hunan Province.  I have included two photos below for comparison.

Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia

Zhangjiajie, China

Zhangjiajie, China

Blue Mountains, NSW

And doesn't this remind you of the Grand Canyon?

Pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos sharing a meal and the great view from their vantage point

The Three Sisters are over 3000 feet above sea level, but below it, is a tropical forest.

You can see the canopy from above.

The canopy from below.

It is a steep dive for the cable car

Giant Eucalyptus tree in the park

Giant termite mound, apparently home to a million termites.   According to the signage, surrounding it for hundreds of metres is a network of tunnels that the termites used to bring food back to the nest.

View of waterfall from the cable car

The Three Sisters at dusk

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