One of Australia’s most unique and natural gems is the Blue Mountain range. The Blue Mountains are a magnificent National Park that spans 267,954 hectares (662,128) of land. It is home to a number of hiking trails, stunning landscapes, and the Three Sisters. The Blue Mountains have been a popular tourist destination for years, hosting around three million visitors per year.
The Blue Mountains are about an hour and a half from Sydney. The study abroad program booked a tour that took us on a roundtrip from Sydney to the Blue Mountains. We were taken on coach buses and the drive was a scenic one. As we left our modern comforts of Sydney you begin to see the rural countryside of Australia.
Our tour company guided us through two prominent locations within the National Park, The Three Sisters and Wentworth Falls. Our first stop was to view the Three Sisters Mountain Range. If you are unfamiliar with this notable mountain cluster, there is a folktale behind it. There are a number of versions of this story, but it is boiled down to one premise. A father turned his three daughters into stone to protect them from danger. The father was unfortunately killed after this transition and was never able to turn his daughters back to their original form. Therefor, the daughters have been stuck there, as stone, for hundreds of years.
From our location you had multiple viewing points of the three sister mountain range. For the adventurous explorers, was a short hike, which got you up close and personal with the Sisters. For the less daring, there was the multiple view point that provided an overall look of all Three Sisters. Along with this nature there was also an indoor area that contained a restaurant, restrooms, a store, and a theatrical performance covering the history of Australia.
Being that this trip was a, possible, once-in-a-lifetime journey, I was daring enough to hike down to view the mountain range up close. The hike was not to difficult besides some narrow steps. Several tourists that were afraid of heights had some trouble with this hike, so if that is something you struggle with, be advised. The hike was about an hour in total, this includes the return trip. If you have the time and guts to complete this venture, do it. It was an adventure that was definitely worth it. The views you get to experience are indescribable, while getting up close and personal with one of the “sisters.”
Preceding the short hike, our group went inside the building to view the theatrical demonstration of the history of the Australia. With the use of talented actors, we heard about the backstory of the “sisters,” the Aboriginal people, and how Australia came to be what it is today. The show is about 30 minutes and worth the time to view to become more knowledgable about the country you are visiting.
Before heading to the next part of our Blue Mountain exploration, we took one last look at the “sisters” by standing at the lookout I had mentioned earlier. In this area you will get to see all three mountain forms and it makes for phenomenal photos.
After getting situated back on our coach bus, we were headed to Wentworth Falls, another area of the vast Blue Mountains. At Wentworth Falls we were to eat lunch provided by our tour company and receive a guided hike down the trail that would lead us to the falls.
Our lunch included a chicken salad sandwich, a small apple pie, and a refreshment. The lunch was very tasty and paired well with the scenic outdoors.
Following the much needed lunch break, we broke off into two groups. The reason for this was because there were two trails that made a complete circle and some areas were too narrow for everyone to go together. Both groups were bound to cross paths during this hike.
Hiking to Wentworth Falls was one of the most exciting and unique adventures I have ever participated in. In total it took a little over an hour to go all way around, but was well worth it. I would say the hike is an intermediate one because there was some difficult terrain and it was fairly long. Be advised of this, although, I am sure your guide will let you know.
Our guide was very knowledgable and explained much of the Blue Mountains history, the animals that live within them, and some fun-facts. The waterfall is the halfway point between the trails. We stopped here for a bit just to take in the beauty of everything. Standing here, over a waterfall, is where I truly took in that I was in a far away land. An experience like this in indescribable and only one that can be told by going to experience it yourself. I could have stood there until the sunset just to see more of it’s beauty with cotton candy skies draped over it.
A trip to Australia is not truly complete without a visit to the Blue Mountains…and yes, they do look blue.
All Photos Taken By: Bismarie Plasencia