I’m back from the beautiful Blue Mountains and I couldn’t be happier! Monday was an allllll day travel day to fly from the Top End down to Sydney and then hop a bus to the mountains located outside of a cool town named Katoomba. Thank goodness for cold weather, because Kakadu felt like Florida during the middle of the day and it wasn’t the reminder of home I was really looking forward to. Our hostel was the most charming one I have ever had the pleasure of living in and was filled with a large ballroom we had lecture in and a quaint historical feel. Lots of hikes were scheduled for us, so we spent all of our free time after getting back so late from our daily treks and explorations cooking spaghetti together, stretching our sore calves with some yoga, and binge watching Netflix movies in the coziest sofas you could imagine (it was the backpacker life of luxury).
Our first full day in the mountains, we had a lecture from two aboriginal descendants and got the opportunity to hear what they believe about European settlement and its impact on their culture. We even saw some boomerangs and attempted to play the didgeridoo! Then we had our first hike down into the valley of the mountain range (and back out again). The Blue Mountains is kind of like what I would imagine a mixture of the Grand Canyon and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina would look like because it had the eerie blue haze but with red and orange rock escarpments. *LOOK AT THE LINK BELOW FOR PICTURES! The first hour of our hike down into the forest was just stairs for an hour straight, and because they were wet from all the morning dew I of course had to fall… only because I was distracted by all the beautiful trees and waterfalls and nature and my heart was so filled with joy that I got too excited! On the way back out of the valley, the trail was filled with breathtaking views of a rock formation called the Three Sisters and we had a fun time taking the 21 flights of stairs up and out after we had already hiked 6 miles!
Wednesday morning we got up bright and early to go on another trail through the Blue Mountains where we went down into the canyon and through caves, under giant rock overhangs and waterfalls, and jumped along the canyon floor on little stepping stones. It was one of the coolest trails I’ve ever been on (which is saying something because I’ve been lucky enough to trek quite a few!) We stopped for yet another sandwich wrap lunch break (only the 3rd week in a row of this meal), but who can complain when you’ve got a front row seat to the valley view and fresh mountain air?! After we had stair- stepped and panted our way out of most of the valley, we took a somewhat illegal pitstop and wandered off the trail to a little rock bluff with a sheer drop off the side… of course I was loving it and we all took pictures of our victorious hiking poses. Our trail guide/ leader was fearing for her life in anticipation, but the view from the cliff was undeniably gorgeous and no one cared enough about safety to stay away from the ledge- oops its alright though no one died! After we finally got forced to leave, we hopped on the coach to our next stop- a wildlife refuge where we saw kangaroos, wallabies, emus, and quolls galore!
Next stop, SYDNEY!