as the places that is interesting and, most importantly, that is realistic to be visited during a day trip from Sydney. And taking into account the fact that I had two free days in a major Australian metropolis before the cruise, the first day I decided to devote to the major Sydney attractions and to the spending of the New Year, and for the second day, I planned the Blue Mountains.
You can visit the Blue Mountains on your own (a lot of buses and trains go there from the railway station and Circular Quay), but it's still better to take a one-day sightseeing tour. I purchased the one-day tour, which, in addition to the Blue Mountains, included a trip to the Jenolan Caves, another interesting sight of New South Wales.
The Blue Mountains are located approximately 100 kilometers west of Sydney, there's about an hour's drive on the high-speed West Highway to their tourist "capital", the small town of Katoomba.
Here are some good pictures of the road.
Soon, the bus veered off the highway and after several minutes, it was already prowling streets of Katoomba - the "capital" of the
, located on the border of the Jamison Valley.
From a distance, the Blue Mountains, being hazy, look like an old canvas on which the artist put too much blue paint. In fact, the blue haze is the vapor of eucalyptus oil, exhaled by a thick forest. Despite the fact that the Blue Mountains are only slightly higher than 900 meters (maximum height is 984 meters), they used to be an insurmountable barrier for the first settlers of Australia. It was so until the researchers found a passage through the mountains and flat grazing lands on the other side of the ridge in 1813. The railway was built in 1868, it made the mountains much more accessible, and in the beginning of the XX century, the Blue Mountains have become one of the most popular and favorite tourist destinations in the vicinity of Sydney.
The bus stops at the tourist center, where most of the trips in the mountains begin - there are a lot of routes of various difficulty and length. But our day trip is the sightseeing one, so we'll just take a ride on the cable car across the gorge and will spend an hour on its opposite slope.
We are crossing the gorge... Here are the Blue Mountains in all their glory!
Against the background of mighty slopes, the car looks really tiny!
A trip over the abyss takes about five minutes. And we have an hour of free time - on January 1, there is nothing better than a morning walk in nature!
The sun, the dry hot air, and heady sweet scent of eucalyptus forest!
Looking at this picture, it becomes immediately clear why the mountain are called the Blue...
Nearby, in the little wood, there is a mischievous river, bubbling over rocks in small waterfalls.
Here they are - those eucalyptus leaves, of which our mothers used to prepare inhalations in case of the cold. But those leaves were dried, and these are alive, they emit an indescribable odour!
The car of the cableway is soaring over the abyss...
It's time to go back to the other side of the gorge - there is the tourist center and the bus waiting for us. On the way, you can admire one more time this babbling river.
And here are views through the window of the car crossing the gorge. Below us, that river rushes down to the bottom of the gorge with a snow-white ribbon of a waterfall!
Spending the last ten minutes before the departure of the bus on a sandwich with a cup of strong espresso, we sat on our seats and continued the route. The next point of our journey are the Jenolan Caves located 80 kilometers from Katoomba on the side road leading to the south-west.
I'm watching through the window typical countryside of New South Wales.
And here's an unplanned stop - the bus broke down. Yes, it happens periodically everywhere, including Australia. Taking into account the fact that there are a lot of tourist buses moving around the Sydney suburbs, the driver offered to everyone (especially to those who were in a hurry) to get on another tourist bus, which was in 10 minutes behind us. The others could stay in our bus and wait till it would be repaired. I was not in a hurry, I didn't want to bustle and ride other buses, and as for me, the key to successful travel - it is to relax and take enjoyment in everything. And this emergency stop had its absolute beauty - we stuck in a very beautiful place, surrounded by the endless fields and hills covered with curly trees. It's hot outside - it's so nice to sun in such beauty! : D
Half an hour later, the breakdown was repaired, and people that stayed in our bus continued their journey. We are climbing up the mountain road.