Monday, 7 December 2015

Day Tour to the Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains was one of the must-visits when I started planning for my trip to Australia. Reason is simply because it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and I have a bucket list to accomplish.

We had booked a day tour to the Blue Mountains with Oz Trails. The tour costs AUD75/pax and we paid extra AUD35/pax for a trip (optional) to Scenic World.

Our guide, Adam picked us up promptly at 7.45am from the entrance of Holiday Inn Potts Point in Sydney which is a stones throw from Kanga Guesthouse where we were staying.

After picking us up, Adam went on to pick up 25 more travellers from various locations around the city. Since we were the first passengers on board, we had to sit in the bus for about 1.5 hours more before we started driving out of the city and into the Blue Mountains. Not happy.

Along the way, Adam stopped at a park where we were served refreshments while Adam collected AUD35 from each person for the Scenic World trip. This visit is optional. Anyone who don't wish to visit Scenic World may wait in the bus.

After completing the paperwork and collection of Scenic World entrance fee, we headed to our first pit stop to see an aboriginal rock engravings of a kangaroo.

Can you see the outline of the kangaroo?

Next stop was Wentworth Falls which has a nice lookout point ...

... where you can see this view: 


At Wenworth Falls there are also a few trails like the Princes Rock Track which is relatively easy to do:  

I like that the signboards gives an indication of the length of the trek, level of difficulty and what to expect. I've yet to see a trek in Malaysia with such signboards. 

I was tempted to do one of the trails at Wentworth Falls. But being in a tour group, it was impossible to do so as we had to keep to a schedule. 

After Wentworth Falls we stopped for lunch at a small town called Leura:

Most people think that the Blue Mountains is only about mountains. But in fact it comprises 7 valleys with many small towns too, one of which is Leura.

Since we were on a budget, I had pre-packed sandwiches at Kanga Guesthouse where we were staying. I bought a latte from one of the cafes in Leura and found a nice spot to tuck into our food.

When we visited Australia in August/September, the exchange rate was RM3.07 = AUD1.00. So everything was damn expensive after conversion.

After lunch we headed to Scenic World.

The sky was so blue!

Scenic World comprises of 4 different rides, i.e. Scenic Railway, Scenic Skyway, Scenic Cableway and Scenic Walkway.

Each ride has a different type of cable car. For example, this is how the Scenic Cableway cable car looks like: 

On the Scenic Skyway, we could see waterfalls like this:

Don't know what is the name of this waterfall. I'm guessing it's Wentworth Falls.

And the infamous Three Sisters:

The Three Sisters are Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo. You can read about their legend here.

At the Scenic Cableway Bottom Station, we walked into the temperate rainforest to see what the place had to offer.

Stay on the boardwalk at the Scenic Walkway.

There were interesting bits of information about the flora and fauna like this:

After finishing Scenic World, we hopped onto the bus and headed back to Sydney.

Along the way, Adam stopped at the Olympian Rock in Leura for another view of the Blue Mountains.

The lookout point is located behind this house:

This house must be worth millions since it has an absolutely gorgeous view of the Blue Mountains.

After walking for about 10 minutes, we reached the lookout point ...

... for this amazing view:

On our way back to Sydney, Adam passed the Sydney Olympic Village for the last pit stop at the ANZ Stadium:

Sydney hosted the 2000 Summer Olympics. Despite being 15 years old, this place looks brand new. Goes to show what proper maintenance can do to preserve a building.

Then Adam brought us to a jetty which is located near the Sydney Olympic Village. Here we were given tickets for a river cruise:

The interiors of the ferry were clean and comfortable. They had wifi on board too, and with a good reception at that. I quickly took the opportunity to log on and check my WhatsApp messages.

Announcements were made in from time to time on the ETA, safety aspects, and other important information pertaining to the river cruise. The crew also patrolled the ferry every other minute to make sure everyone and everything was alright. Very professional.

Whilst almost everyone stayed inside the ferry because it was chilly outside, we went to the back to watch the sunset:

After approximately 45 minutes, the ferry arrived back in Sydney and dropped us off at Circular Quay. And that was the end of the day tour.

If anyone were to ask me to rate the Blue Mountains on a scale of 1 - 10, with 10 being the best, I would give it an average score of 5 - 6. Reason is because the Blue Mountains is nothing to shout about. And I'm saying this after seeing the beautiful mountain ranges in Nepal. I guess this is one of the disadvantages of travelling too much. Once you've seen a gorgeous mountain, you tend to compare it with all mountains after that. And that diminishes your ability to appreciate a new mountain and its uniqueness.

The other 'painful' part about this day tour was the cost. We paid a total of AUD75 + AUD35 = AUD110 which was approximately RM337.70 per person for the whole day tour. I found that exhorbitant! And moreover paying that much for an experience that I didn't really enjoy. But then again this is Sydney, one of the most expensive cities in the world.

The only good thing that came out of visiting the Blue Mountains is that I've managed to tick off another UNESCO World Heritage Site from my list.


Jipp Jippsy said...

Breath-taking. I regret missing the Blue Mountains last time. But I wonder why there isn't many people around when you were there? Was it a low season?

Julie Lim said...

It was the first week of spring at that time. So it was still quite chilly. Maybe that's most people would prefer to remain indoors.

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