Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Blue Mountains

On the map it looks like a long and windy drive to the Blue Mountains. In fact it’s a really simple, one hour run along the M2 from Lane Cove to Katoomba, so leaving at 9am gave us a full day to take in the rugged beauty of this area.

We based ourselves at ‘Scenic World’. This is an apt, if unoriginal name. Scenic World boundaries the gorge with amazing views out to Echo Point, the Three Sisters and Orphan Rock. For $35 per person you have unlimited use of the cable car, gondola and scenic train (the steepest in the world, apparently).

I must admit I wasn’t looking forward to the day; my overwhelming fear of heights doesn’t really sit well with cable cars,  gondolas suspended over gorges, or trains that plummet at a 52 degree angle down the mountainside! However, I was determined to enjoy myself and with a bit of mindfulness and self talk, I managed the day quite well – I even did the train ride twice!

From the bottom of the train track there is a fantastic boardwalk that takes you right down into the valley and up again, past the old coal mines and through the rainforest. It’s quite stunning.

The view from the other side of the valley, at Echo Point, is equally stunning; Australia’s own Grand Canyon’ish’ view. At the end of a long day we didn’t do any walks from there but if you had a few days to spend in the mountains you would certainly walk out to the Three Sisters.

By the time we got back to Lane Cove there was just time to pick up food for dinner and admire the super moon leering down on us through the gum trees in the park.

This morning we woke up early with our friendly parakeets joined by a couple of kookaburras wanting to share our breakfast.

We have kids from our school riding at the National Interschools’ Equestrian Championships so we headed over to Hornsby for a quick look at the horses. What an amazing venue the Sydney Equestrian Centre is! Built for the 2000 Olympics, it covers many hectares with beautiful indoor and outdoor arenas, and a cross country course built into the natural bush, just metres from the Motorway. We were lucky enough to see Lizzy and Asha both ride clear rounds and place 3rd and 6th in today’s event. It was quite thrilling to hear them read out ‘respresenting Mortlake College’ twice in the one presentation ceremony!

From there it was back to the Macquarie Shopping Centre to pick me up a new iPhone. It’s hard to believe how quickly those two contract years come and go but Taine is now the happy recipient of my hand me down and I’m pretty happy with the improved camera and extra 64 gb of storage on my new 6s.

Back at the park we finally found time to venture into the national park. The path from the caravan park wends its way along the river and is populated with lots of little BBQ and picnic spots. We saw a variety of birds and several huge lizards who were very non plussed with our appearance. Taine and Geoff had a very quick swim ( the water was freezing) and then we enjoyed Lyle’s home cooked chicken casserole for dinner.

Unfortunately it will be time to go home tomorrow. I’d certainly come back to Lane Cove. You could easily spend a week here.

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