It’s the last full day in the Blue Mountains, NSW. Tomorrow it’s back to the business side of the Tour, so it’s off to Sydney.
But first, Monday. It started off as a sunny morning but cloud cover was never far away. But undeterred we ventured out into the great outdoors, as it’s only a gap between work assignments, we made sure we took advantage of the opportunity presented to us. First on the agenda we thought a trip to Wentworth falls would be a good choice, we weren’t wrong. What an utterly beautiful place, great walks, which have many wheelchair accessible areas, lookout posts to view astonishingly beautiful views, and breathtaking drop offs. With the Valley floor over a thousand metres below. Who’s scared of heights, yep me. Don’t laugh, I was hanging over railings, straining to see more. Just don’t seem to be able to get enough of these wonderful Mountains. I have found them challenging, relaxing, and engaging, but have mostly become utterly enthralled by the area. So much to see, so many paths to be walked, so much to engage one’s mind. Sign posts, encouraging you to see what’s around the next corner, what’s over the next rise in the path. Interesting plaques giving information, about explorers, botanists, and anthropologists, who have passed this way. Darwin was here, I wonder if the Blue Mountains engaged him as much as it has me.
The National parks commission, and Blue Mountain council have jointly done an excellent job of making the park, both family friendly, and maintained the integrigity of the area. There are great picnic areas, with tables and shelters, to shade one from the sun, or the rain. A great touch is, there are gas barbecues in the shelters, one only has to press a button wait for the grill to heat, and get cooking. and its free. Talking of free, the vast majority of car parks around the national park are free. Something we Brits aren’t used to.
To Tuesday, a chilly morning, and it SNOWED, something the locals are not used to, apparently it is an extremely rare occurrence. Undeterred we set out for another day of exploration, this time to the Jenolan Caves. it was a fair drive of around 78km, from the hotel to the cave system, but I can assure you it was worth the effort. On arrival, we were surprised to find the buildigs were in a decidedly Swiss, or Bavarian style. very picturesque, as it turns out. and they served the most devine hot chocolate, just to take the edge off the cold. We sought out the ticket office, which was closed, as the staff couldn’t get in. I did, so I was a little surprised they hadn’t. We were directed to the Guides office where I was greeted by a very gregarious charcter by the name of Gordon, who incindently was on national TV, this very evening, talking about the caves. Well tickets bought It was onwards and downwards. The cave system was discovered in the late 1800’s, and were opened to the Public in 1917, after some tunnels were dug out by hand to provide easier access, for the public. The Guide was a chirpy guy, called Stu. his banter was terrible but his knowledge of the caves was very interesting, and well presented. the Particular cave system we visited was called the “Orient”, we were skillfully guided through each cavern by Stu, who never stopped chatting and he pointed out so many interesting features, off the rock formations. I felt fully engaged, and somewhat astonished by the sheer scale and beauty of the caves. Pictures to follow. The caves are the Oldest date stamped caves, in the world at some 340 million years old. The tour took around Two hours, and was quite arduos in Places. But well worth the effort.
After leaving the Caves we explored the area around the village, which revealed a beautiful blue river, and lake, another “WOW” moment, among a million others. I love this place. Its beauty, and grandeur, are a wonder to behold. I may never return, but I will certainly never forget. The blue mountains of New South wales, are in my memory forever.