Sydney is full of places for outdoor enthusiasts to discover and enjoy, one of the most prominent being the Blue Mountains. The famous range and its Three Sisters formation are known around the world and frequented by locals and visitors alike.
Now comes my confession: though I’m an avid outdoor fanatic and I’ve lived in Sydney for over two decades, I had never been to the Blue Mountains before. When a group of friends and I were talking about possibly taking a weekend staycation and one of them mentioned wanting to tour the Blue Mountains, I jumped at the opportunity.
The Three Sisters
We started out on a Friday morning and went to settle into the bed and breakfast suites we had reserved. I was finally going to see The Three Sisters in person, and couldn’t have been more excited. However, I was surprised that the experience surpassed my already lofty expectations. It’s hard to describe how I felt looking at sandstone peaks that had stood for thousands of years towering high above me.
We ran into another group of people touring the area, one of which was a professional tour guide taking a short vacation. My friends and I talked with them while taking a rest stop, and the guide told us all about the Aboriginal folklore surrounding the history of The Three Sisters.
It’s believed that there were three gorgeous sisters from one tribe who fell in love with three brothers from a different tribe. The ladies were forbidden to marry the brothers, so the men captured them. A terrible battle ensued and the sisters were turned to stone for their protection. It’s quite a tale, but definitely befitting of such a storied landmark. Gaining cultural tidbits like this definitely makes exploring the outdoors a richer, more fulfilling experience.
Our trek back down to our car was filled with laughter and sharing, and though we hated to leave The Three Sisters behind, we were famished and looking forward to some much-needed nourishment. There are an incredible number of restaurants and cafes in the area, but we chose to eat at a cozy spot in Katoomba before heading back to the bed and breakfast. Lesson number one: bring more than three trail mix bars and a quart of water along if you’re going to spend the day hiking in the Blue Mountain range.
Thank goodness one of my friends had more experience and sense and brought some spare food to share, or else I would’ve had to drag myself drown the mountain instead of walking. The views are out of this world, but it’s physically taxing and you need plenty of fuel to make it through.
Lesson number one: bring more than three trail mix bars and a half litre of water along if you’re going to spend the day hiking in the Blue Mountain range. Thank goodness one of my friends had more experience and sense and brought some spare food to share, or else I would’ve had to drag myself drown the mountain instead of walking. The views are out of this world, but it’s physically taxing and you need plenty of fuel to make it through.
Caving On The Fly
My group enjoyed a great rest Friday night and decided to spend the day touring the Jenolan Caves on Saturday. This is yet another site that was new to me, so I was anxious to go exploring. I took heed from my experience the previous day and packed a good sized picnic for all of us to share, we got our gear together, and then hit the road. “Magnificent”, “stunning”, and “breathtaking” don’t sufficiently describe how I felt after entering the caves. There were many other people taking tours that day, but I hardly noticed them because of the beauty of the formations.
We meandered our way through and had a blast along the way. If you’ve never been through a cave before, be careful which one you choose. The Jenolan Caves have many routes, and we went through Lucas Cave. It’s not for the faint of heart or novices, but it’s quite the challenge for anyone with spelunking experience.
After exiting the cave, we took a walk around Blue Lake to have our picnic lunch and I saw one of the highlights of our trip — an adorable platypus. The curious little guy waded around the water, and though he didn’t come too close to where we were, it was amazing to see one in person.
Yet Another Lesson
We all felt a world away from everything else while experiencing the natural wonders within the Jenolan Caves, but on this particular trip, it’s a good thing that we weren’t too far from civilization. We went back for our final night at our accommodation. The following morning one of my friends — the one who had driven us around — discovered he no longer had his car keys in his pocket. We searched high and low, but couldn’t find them. With no spare around, we had to call a car key cutting service to get us out of our bind. Lesson number two: great adventures require careful planning and a secure place for your keys!
After all the fun and craziness of the last couple of days, I was more than happy to settle back and relax in my own bed. Then again, it won’t be long till I get the itch for a new for more outdoor adventures with my friends and seeing what new experiences await us in the world. The hard-learned lessons were well worth all that I gained.