Just an hour outside of the sprawling metropolis of Sydney, Australia, one can escape for the day or a few and become absorbed in Australia's rich history while taking a trek into the panoramic Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains get their name from the blueish hue which veils the mountains year round. This is caused by oils emitted from the leaves of the Eucalyptus tree which grows in the area. The oils combine with airborne dust particles and water vapors to create the mist which gives the mountains their blue appearance. For those seeking a taste of an authentic Australian outdoor experience, these mountains are a must-do, with various trekking options for day trippers and serious campers alike. One of the most popular day trails is the Great Staircase, this trek begins with stunning panoramic view of the Jameson Valley and legendary rock formation known as The Three Sister. The story of the Three Sisters stems from an Aboriginal legend which tells of a witchdoctors spell which cast three sisters from the Katoomba tribe into stone to protect them from a war between tribes caused by their love for three brothers in a rival tribe. As the legend goes the witchdoctor dies in battle, thus leaving the three sisters in their stone form for all eternity. When gazing over the looming blue hills and fiery red rock, the legend almost materializes before your eyes and you feel drawn into the rich history of the land. As you descend down the steep metal staircase you suddenly find yourself in the belly of a majestic green jungle, surrounded by Eucalyptus trees and Gumtree giants. Follow this trail with a guided tour and you have a chance to learn about the regions diverse flora and fauna and learn about the unusual rock formations. There are many trails throughout this region and each offers different sights at different difficulty levels ranging from easy to very hard. The Staircase Trail is a medium trek at 6 kilometers circuit. As you begin your ascent you pass the beautiful Katoomba Falls, depending on the season and rainfall this part of the trail may become very muddy and may even be closed so always check before heading out. For those who choose to tread off the beaten path at their own risk can explore the area surrounding the falls and discover secret caves and moss covered niches in the rock. The mist from the falls and the slanting rays of light through the canopy can give the falls an enchanted feel and offers some truly unique photo opportunities. The trek upwards can be a test of will but luckily there is a cable car suspended on the worlds steepest railway which, for a few bucks, can give you a lift back to the top while offering some stunning views on the way. Just be careful you don't miss the last ride up or you'll be trekking it in the dark. Once you've arrived safely (and somewhat exhausted if you opted for the stairs up) to the top, you can enjoy a short and easy trail along the cliff edge back to the lookout where you began your venture. Here you can enjoy a refreshing beverage and meal while looking over the breath-taking landscape of the legendary Blue Mountains.
The Blue Mountains are a year round destination offering something different in each season. Spring offers a myriad of colors in the blooming flora, Summer can be a refreshing break in the crisp mountain air while the Autumn sun has the red cliffs glowing in fiery hues. Winter can be cooler but is also less busy which can be great for those wishing to have the trails all to themselves and really feel immersed in the mysticism of the Aboriginal lands. What sort of experience you are after will determine the best time to visit the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains Visitors Center offers any information you may need from trail information and maps and guided tours to camping permits. If you wish to bushwalk or camp you will require a permit, it is advisable to attain these few weeks prior to arrival. The region offers many outdoor and high adrenalin activities such as mountain-climbing, kayaking, mountain biking and caving. Information about these and others can be found through the Blue Mountains website.
Odds n 'Ends
Afhangende van of jy kies 'n maklike dag roete of 'n meer ernstige paar dae onderneming te doen is daar verskeie dinge om te oorweeg voordat hulle vertrek. Dress gemaklik en dra gepaste skoene. Dress volgens weerstoestande en lae is altyd goed as toestande kan verander terwyl hy op die roete. Bring water! Jy kan water koop teen die besoekers sentrum, na dat jy so bietjie op jou eie. Insect afweerder is 'n moet, asook sonskerm en Sondag beskermende klere, veral in die lente en somer maande. Gelukkig as jy iets, die plaaslike gemeente van Katoomba, vernoem na die legendariese stam vergeet het, het 'n verskeidenheid van buitemuurse toerusting winkels en insiggewende locals om jou te help en stuur jou op jou pad goed voorberei.
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