Blue Mountains, is an attraction tourists will visit as they travel in Sydney. There are also some day tours that depature from Sydney in the early morning and come back in the late night, but I don't like to join such tours unless I could not handle the transportation such as the tour of great ocean road in Melbourne.
Therefore, I arrange one and half days staying at Katoomba and come back to Sydney in the early evening or night on the second day. I think I could look around here freely, and maybe have a long walk with many beautiful scenes.
In the very early morning today, I store my luggages in the Sydney hostel and go with my backpack and camara bag. Because I'm not familiar with the oubound train, I stay at the wrong platform until 10 minutes before the departure time.
At 6:30, the train to Katoomba departs from the 12th platform.
By the way, the Contry Link, an intercity train, looks much better than the train I take, so I take the picture before my train departs.
Arriving at Katooba, the weather is much colder than Sydney. Of course! It's the mountain area and the steep ascents and descents make working harder obviously.
But I have to say that I love this temperature. It may be about 11 or 12 degree.
Though I don't wear the coat and feel a little cold, walking for a few minutes will make my body hot. Thus, the cold air, the low temperature, is quite good for me. Nothing is better than that!
When I check in the Katoomba YHA, the first thing I want to do is to join the Jenolan caves tour today. Besides, there is a information board that could show you the times for sunrise and sunset. Jenolan caves and watching the sunrise and sunset are both the must-do things when you visit here.
The YHA staff could book the cave tour for me and give you a discount for 10 AUD, and the bus will also pick you up in front of the YHA.
Today, I join the tour for visiting Lucas cave and Orient cave. No matter which caves you visit, the return time is the same. So, why not enjoy your day a lot?
By the way, the departure time is about 9:20 in winter, so you should not arrive at Katoomba too late, or you have to arrange the tour tomorrow.
Before getting on the bus, I also look around the hostel. There is a locker room in the back of the reading room. The size of these lockers is medium that you may not store your big luggages inside the locker. Your room also provides free lockers for you that is also medium in size. That is why I only bring my backpack and camara bag here. Because there is no restrction on the check-in time, you just put your stuffs in the locker of your room.
The bus from Katoomba to Jenolan takes about one and half hours.
You may look at the map and know the relation of these places. We stop at Govetts Leap Lookout of Blackheath for a while.
If it's the first time you visit the blue mountains, it's really nice to take photos in the sunny day. The wide big green valley accompanies the blue sky and clouds with different shapes is a very beautiful scene.
If you miss this place, other places around the valley, such as Echo Point and the walking tracks nearby, will show you the same scenery.
Before the Jenolan tourists center, the bus will pass a big cave slowly. It's saied that the number of caves found is up to 400, and ten of these caves are what we visit here. (Lucas, Imperial, Dimond, Chifley, Orient, Temple of Baal, River, Cerberus, Jubilee, Ribbon)
All the guided tours are managed by the professional guides of this center. Except for the cave tours, they also provide some special tours just like the ghost tour, theme tour and adventure tour. So, it means that the bus, the tour company, you join is only responsible for the transportation and the tickets.
However, the schedule for each cave is at specific time, thus, you could only choose some of these cave tours unless you drive by yourself and stay here for at last one day.
The most popular tours should be Lucas and Orient caves, but adventure tour with suit and helmet would be very exciting as you explore the dark cave.
My first tour at 11:30 is the Lucas cave tour. The meeting point is close to the big cave where the bus passed before.
Lucas cave is the biggest and widest cave of all. As we walk toward the underground via the stairs, the scene inside is very special. It looks like a space with manu chambers and tunnels, but they are not human-made.
There are many stalactite in different shapes, and the guide will stop at these introducing points that you could rest for a while if you are not good at the stairs.
According to the information on the web, Lucas cave was found by George Whiting and Nicholas Irwin in 1860. Then, John Lucas pushed to have this cave preserved in 1866. Due to his effort, this cave is named after his name, Lucas.
Cathedral Chamber is the most distinctive area in Lucas case, I think.
It was named for the looks is very similar to the inside oth the cathedral. With some lights, this chamber is sometimes used for concerts or weddings. There is a Youtube movie about the concert in this chamber.
Alothough you may find some information and know about the names of different areas, it's not so easy to realize where we are now, expect for the famous areas such as Cathedral Chamber. This is also the same with the pictures I take.
Besides, my English is not very good, therefore, I don't know lots about the terms about the formations in the cave. When the guides speak Englis in non-American accent, I always could not understand all of what they speak.
However, imagination is much important than everything. You may not know each detail, but you could look through your eyes and give them the names on your own.
The main point of watching the stalactite is to observe the shapes and colors, not to know their names given by someone.
At the end of the cave is a section of the underground river. It looks like a small pound, but you could watch more by joing other tour. I think it would be very charming to watch the whole underground river.
About 1:00, we finish the tour in Lucas cave. Before joining another tour in Orient cave, I have some food in the restaurant.
Orient cave, if compared with Lucas cave, is much easier and fit for the family. This cave was found by James Carvosso Wiburd in 1904, and is considered the most beautiful cave. However, you could not watch the underground river in this cave.
Before the new tunnel to the Orient cave was built, the route to the Orient cave starts from Lucas cave and pass through the River cave which is located under the Orient cave. Today, we could easily vist the Orient cave via the tunnel.
Though I say the tour in Orient cave is much easier, it doesn't mean that this cave is not so good as Lucas or other cave. Actually, I think the variaty of the formations in Orient cave is really wondeful. Some of the formation is white in color and is crystal-clear if you put the light behind them. Besides, they may have different shapes that you don't see as you visit Lucas cave. So, it is important to look around the cave and notice each (small) formation that might be very beautiful and special to you.
Among these formations, the most impressive and special scene to me is the group of stalactite below.
These natural formations form a complex structure, just like a mix of old buildings or towers in the lost underground empire. With some lights behind, it's really an art of the nature.
Because these stalactite are so many and different in shape, it's very interesting as we follow the introduction from our guide. By the way, our guide in this tour is a little similar to Mr.Boll, a cartoon man of the tea product in Taiwan. He has a moustache, and wears an exploere-like hamlet and a suit.
Before finishing the visit, our Mr.Boll gives us a question:
Do you know which cartoon character the small column looks like?
The answer is....... Snoopy.
You may wonder whether there is another interesting formation. Yes, I see the head of Medusa!
About 3 o'clock, the Orient cave tour is finished. I think that it's really great to join these cave tours. Lucas and Orient caves are both worthy of visiting.
While waiting for the return, I find some red parrots around the restaurant.
Oh, it's the first time that I see the wild parrots. They are so cute!
The bus arrived at Katoomba around 5 o'clock, I still have twenty minutes to walk to the Echo Point and watch the sunset of Three Sisters. Though the distance is about 2 km, most of the roads are steep descents. I walk at a fast pace towards the Echo Point and arrive there before the sunset.
Maybe it's the winter, there are only a few of people waiting here. It's quite comfortable to take a rest in front of the valley scenery. I think it would be great if there is a foot spa here, and maybe, someone serves me a cup of Japanese green tea.
Finishing all the things today, I walk slowly back to the YHA. The steep descents I came from become the steep ascents that I could not walk at a easy pace. It's much close to climbing the mountain!
Although I could see the stars in the night and I have my tripod with me, the lights along the street are too bright that I don't think it's proper to take the photo of stars.
After a hard walking to the YHA, I buy some ingredients at the supermarkey bearby.
My friend syas that you should try the steak in Australia. Therefore, I cook the beaf steak and vegetable soup with spagetti falvored with red curry.
I'm proud of cooking the steak, and the beaf is really very tasty as my friend told me.
As for the strange soup, the red curry is also a nice flavor when you stay in the cold area. You could put some noodle or spagetti, some choy or broccoli. That is enough for a dinner and is very easy-cooking.
What would I do tomorrow?
I look at the collected information while I have my meal on the table.
Except for the sunrise, Leura Cascades and the tracks seem to be a good option.
I'm quite looking forward the trip tomorrow.