Three Sisters & Scenic World
From Sydney we decided to rent a car for a week, as my parents were still in town and head to the Blue Mountains in Katoomba. We drove straight to the Three Sisters lookout point (Echo point) for our first few obligatory pictures and starting from here are also plenty of walking trails that you can follow. We chose a 2,5 hour walk categorized as HARD, we soon realized that the reason for this was that we had to descend what is called the Giant Stairway. More than 800 steep steps going down from the lookout point into the forest, I guess I don't need to tell you how glad I was that we didn't need to take these steps up?
The walk was beautiful yet after a couple of hours we were glad to reach the Scenic World railway, which happened to be the steepest railway in the world! Scenic World has 3 means of exploring the Blue Mountains National Park, with a railway, a skyway and a Cableway which you can take for as many times as you like for about 40 dollars (prices vary in weekends and weekdays) We embarked backwards in the benches of the railway and were quite stunned (read: scared shitless, in my case) when it departed. It goes actually very fast and you're being pulled up, the view is really cool and for the daredevils they have a special feature. You can choose the position of your bench, either you can put it on relax which will have you laid back a bit more, yet you can position it on 'normal' or on 'daredevil'. Even in the relaxed position I held on very tight to the handles when the railway was suddenly being pulled up through its steepest point, and completely in the dark, yet my no-fear-dad went for it!
Out of the three means of transport in Scenic World the Railway was definitely our favorite and after the tourist buses were gone we even took it two more times, up and down, simply for the fun of it :) Anyway it's gorgeous but the view on the three sisters is pretty much the same everywhere, only on the Skyway you'll also have a pretty cool view at a super high waterfall!
Because we wanted to allow ourselves and our legs a bit of rest before heading back to Sydney and because we'd also liked to discover the Jenolan caves the next day we booked ourselves a gorgeous room for the night. We stayed at the Kurrara Historic Guesthouse which has a 9 score on Booking.com, I couldn't recommend this place more to you guys. It is such a cute house with incredibly friendly people, soft beds and towels and a dvd-room with tons of dvd's and a nightcap on the house! Each room has its own dvd-player so you can also take some dvd's up to your room which we did to enjoy a lovely and relaxing end of this day. The breakfast was also an absolute delight as they had fresh croissants and homemade granola, oh and a whole collection of teas!
Oh and because we found it rather hard to find something cosy and good for dinner I consulted my good old friend Foursquare and we ended up at Leura Garage. Best food we all had in a while to be honest, it was reaaaaally good, especially after the tough walks that day, this was a well-deserved treat. The guys both had pizza and liked it better than the Italian restaurant in Sydney the day before, my mom and I both had pasta and it was all perfect!
The Jenolan Caves
The next day we drove off for a different kind of adventure, going underground. The road to the Jenolan Caves is absolutely stunning, yet get used to a lot of turns and ups and downs :) It's about 1,5h driving from Katoomba to the caves. We even saw a kangaroo chilling on a small space beside the road. He seemed quite used to people so we got to take some great pictures, how cool that my parents got to see one in the wild, I mean what Australian trip is complete without an kangaroo encounter right ;)
Upon arrival in the Jenolan caves area we noticed that this wasn't only a place for caves but also the Blue Lake, a small but gorgeous turquoise lake right next to the big drive-through cave. We booked ourselves in for the Orient cave tour. The Jenolan Caves are home to many different caves and they offer all sorts of tours yet every day tour is 45 dollars per person, per cave so if you're looking to see more than one cave it gets rather pricey. The Orient Cave tour started off with about 90 steps and a long dark hallway as the first part of the underground tour. Each hall of the cave is beautifully lighted and I often forgot that this actually was a creation of nature rather than some candle-grease stuck together. I had never seen a cave before, believe me if I say that our guide actually said: "oh you have some nice caves in Belgium!" and Arno and I were like: "Oh really?". Apparently some Dutch tourists had informed them that Belgium had some caves, yet I had never been to them so I was absolutely stunned with these artworks of nature! For those of you that have never visited a cave and are close, be sure to check them out. You'll have lots of options with variable levels of difficulty and number of steps ;) (As our legs were still shaky and sore from the Blue Mountains hike we chose one of the easiest ones)