Sunday, April 20, 2008

THE BLUE MOUNTAINS

We headed out for a weekend trip to the Blue Mountains. It was a much needed break from life and stresses of work for Kev. We headed out on Thursday afternoon and drove an hour and a half to get there. A friend of mine told the kids that they needed to look at the for the Blue Mountains before we got there and they would look blue otherwise when you get there they are not blue at all. However, it was a rainy and cloudy day so we couldn't even see them until we were there. By the time we got to the top of the Blue Mountains there was nothing but fog and rain. We could barely see in front of us. I was worried about the weekend ahead. After finding the condo we were renting for a few nights in Katoomba, and unpacking the car, we sat down to decide what to do next. Due to the rain and fog our choices were limited. We went over to the movie place where they had a six story high screen (very similar to IMAX) and watched a movie about the Blue Mountains. We learned that there is a species of pine tree in the Blue Mountains that has been around since the dinosaurs and saw people repelling into canyons full of water

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SIDE NOTE: about the condo. It was a two bedroom place and it was well maintained although old. However, we got a kick out of the couches. I kept telling Kev that I thought they belong in Florida - must have been the colors or something. They were a bit stained and I was afraid to sit on them for a while. I was most excited because it had central heating - the condo was probably warmed than our home in the city. Central heating is so lovely!

After the movie we found a little pizza place for dinner. The kids had a fun time because they gave them dough while we were waiting to roll out and make into any shape they wanted. They later cooked them and the kids got to eat them. I thought it was a fantastic idea. However, have to admit that the pizza wasn't that great. We also found a grocery store to stock up on lunch and snacks for the next day.

On Friday we woke up to a surprise from Madi. She is probably going to hate me when she gets older for telling you all this, but here it goes. She apparently had a dream during the night that she was at the beach and in the ocean. She had to go to the bathroom and decided she could just go in the ocean. I bet you can guess the rest. Luckily there was a washer and dryer in the place so we got the sheets cleaned for the night.

We also woke up to more fog. Our plans were to go and see the 3 SISTERS - a bit hard when the fog is blocking the view. This picture is from the look out point...now you can see what we saw. We actually had a bit of a laugh about it.
A little bit of fog didn't stop us though. We decided to hike through the bush anyway. There was a hike starting at the 3 sisters, down some steep stairs, on a loop around the bottom of the valley, back up the other side, and then a hike back on the cliff top back to the 3 sisters. We decided to try it out. The lady at the information desk told us it would take about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. We had borrowed a baby backpack from my friend Jackie (thanks so much!) and Rylee had it easy. We decided to give it a go! Wondering if we were a bit crazy!


So we started down the GIANT STAIRWAY around the 3 sisters. Construction began on the giant stairway in 1909 and was completed in 1932. The stairs are chipped away from the rock (except where they have been repaired first by wood and then by steel). It is about 900 steps and is really steep leading to the valley floor. Madi started counting, but lost count at 30 because she said we started talking and she couldn't count with all of the noise. The kids really liked this part. They had to pay attention to what they were doing and where they were placing their feet, but they did so well. At the half way point when Madi saw the sign she said if you just go half way down the rest is easy. It was true actually the second half seemed easier to all of us - maybe we were just used to walking down the stone steps. The farther we went down the more the fog lifted we walked right through the clouds - it was so cool!



Here is a picture of Rylee by the time we got to the bottom - really she did have it easy.


At the end of the Giant Stairway we were at the bottom of the valley and hiked through the rain forest and also saw a portion of Katoomba Falls. We had a break about half way and got Rylee out of the backpack for a little stretch and a bottle. Got some cute pictures as well. Cooper kept making me laugh. He would tell us that he was out of energy and was very dramatic about it and then two seconds later he would be running down the path and juming over rocks. My favorite part was a walking with Cooper (Madi and Kev were far ahead of us) holding his hand and discussing where different animals lived - he thought that elephants lived in Utah (so look out next time you are hiking around the Unitas). It was just one of those quite moments of talking with your child - I love those.

We made it over to the other side of the valley and to the part Cooper had been looking forward to. The SCENIC RAILWAY, the steepest railway in the world. They weren't kidding about that. Cooper and Madi chose to sit on the front seat. I seriously thought at one point that we were in trouble if the cable broke - visions ran through my head.

At the top we decided to stop by a cafe and eat some lunch. The kids had done so well and we still had to hike across the cliff tops to get back to the car. We then decided to take the SKYWAY over the valley and above Katoomba falls. I wasn't too sure about this due to my fear of heights and the fact that it said the floor of the cart was glass. However, it was said to save 10 minutes of walking so we decided to give it a try. Only the middle part of the cart floor was glass and it was all foggy so that wasn't a big issue. I then just looked out and not down. I survived the ride across the valley. We saw some great sights of Jamison Valley and Katoomba Falls. We even saw the 3 sisters for the first time! Can you see them?


We then walked a short 20 minutes across the cliff tops back to point A. By this time the fog had cleared and we had a good look at the 3 sisters.


When all was said and done our 2 1/2 to 3 hour trip actually took us 5 hours from point A to point B. We had promised the kids that if they were good without any complaining we would buy them something small from the souvenir shop. We did have a bit of complaining, but not much, so we let them choose. We ended up with two kangaroos that sing "Waltzing Matilda".


We went back to the condo for a while to give Rylee a real nap and for us to rest as well. I just knew I was going to be sore the next day. We then walked down the street a bit from our condo to the Chocolate shop and had some real hot chocolate. It was so yummy!


The next morning we woke up to more rain and fog - not the best weekend for the Blue Mountains I guess. After checking out we went over to a TRAIN AND TOY MUSEUM in the little town just under Katoomba called LEURA. We had a fun time walking through the museum and seeing all the collections. Madi loved the Barbie collection and Cooper loved the trains - although he was disappointed that he couldn't touch any of them. We also walked through the gardens and across the street to an amphitheater with a great view!
After this we did a little browsing through the cutesie little shops in Leura. We went to a toy shop and a candy shop - both high on the list for the kids. However, they said it was boring to walk around and just look. Not much window shopping for me. We then headed home after a busy, but fun, few days!

5 comments:

Mari said...

Looks like you had an amazing trip despite the weather! You managed to pack a lot into a few days.

sirpa said...

Wow, the Blue Mountains is really awesome. I liked it too. We've done that track too, but the other way around. We took the scenic railway down and the giant stairs up. Actually the first time we went to three sisters Adiel insisted on climbing down the giant stairs. We weren't too excited since we knew that the scenic railway had stopped operating for that day and they only way back up was the stairway and we kept telling Adiel that there's no way we would carry him up and he would have to climb up those stairs on his own.

He said he could do it so we did it. On our way down I kept telling him, that we can turn back any time and it's okay, and it's gonna be a long climb up, but he really managed to do it! So next time we knew he'd be fine so we did the track that way when my dad was visiting.

Janae and Travis said...

Wow It looks like you had a ton of fun!

Dera said...

Keep finding all of the fun spots to take us when we come to visit. Looks like a really fun place.

The Carlson's said...

love that you guys take so many trips, it is fun to see what you get to see. Looks way fun