Sydney is always one of my favorite cities. Cutting-edge infrastructure, advanced development, beautiful harbor, amazing beaches, friendly people, and nice weather. It’s constantly at the top of any list of the most livable cities in the world. Above it all, I love Sydney the most of how the city and nature intertwined and embrace each other nicely – the city is surrounded by green and the country made a great effort to preserve and protect the natural environment. Furthermore, the country has a great collection of marsupial animals (animals that are mostly endemic to Australasia), and oh, how adorable are the Koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, Tasmanian devils – and much more. So, there was a day we embraced nature visiting the Blue Mountains and the Featherdale Wildlife Park which allow us to appreciate the incredible fauna and flora in the city’s suburb.
We took a boutique luxury tour with Blue Diamond and departed from Sydney early in the morning; Passed Richmond, we enjoyed an intimate breakfast with freshly baked Scones with jam & tea overlooking the Blue Mountain National Park. After that, we visited the Scenic World (A combination of fun rides and scenic trail in the Blue Mountains) and secret viewpoints with breathtaking views of the Jamison Valley. We went to the wildlife park after lunch and had so much fun with the Koalas and baby wallabies!
A little bit about the Blue Mountains…
The Blue Mountains is a mountain range located in New South Wales, Australia, and it’s a popular attraction for tourists in Sydney. Although to me, the scenery is not the most jaw-dropping sight as compared with other famous scenic sites in the world, the mountain has its own specialty and a coal mining history that hold dear to the native Australian. Today, the Blue Mountain is part of the Greater Blue Mountains Area which covers 10,300 sq.km of a forested landscape on a sandstone plateau. Visiting spots include the Cahill’s Lookout to the iconic Three Sisters (and do you know in fact there were seven?), Empress Falls, Fuber Steps, National Pass walking track, Golden Stairs and more.
Chief town Katoomba is a good starting point for a day tour in the Blue Mountains. There’s basically where the Scenic World is, and that’s what we did. Before boarding the fun rides we drove to the Cahill’s Lookout, a little bit earlier than the crowd came in, and had a great overview of the Jamison Valley. There, it was the best time in the morning to view the “blue haze”.
Now, why… the mountains are blue?
Well, it was not exactly that the trees are blue in the Blue Mountains. Yet, when we were on the lookout, it really seemed that the entire valley was covered with a blue tinge!
I did just look it up online, but try not to be so “scientific” (which I am not… remotely possible to), I am sticking with my guide’s “layman” version: It was because the Valley has an abundance eucalyptus (a tree mainly native to Australia and it’s the major food source of Koalas), which emits large quantities of Terpenoid (a hydrocarbon), caused an optical phenomenon (umm, like a rainbow) when sunlight hits the valley. Only in this case lights with shorter wavelengths are reflected (you know it, the blue), and that’s why the Blue Mountains look “blue-greyish” from a distance. By the way – the scientist called the phenomenon Mie scattering.
Scenic World Blue Mountains Australia
Call it “touristy” but the Scenic World is a way for tourists to experience the Blue Mountains from above and below. We chose the “Unlimited Discovery Pass” which allowed us to assess to fours “ways” of the Scenic World has to offer: Scenic Skyway, Railway, Walkway, and Cable Way.
Starting with the Scenic Skyway, a glass floor cable car that glides through the forest while the Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters, and Jamison Valley are in view. Next, the Scenic Railway is the steepest passenger railway in the world! With a 52-degree incline, we were literally lying down on our seats as it slid down the cliffs, and we could see the view of the valley through the glass roof of the carriages. The railway that we were riding was a redesigned version for tourists, yet the railway was first used in the late 19th century. It was part of the transport system of the Katoomba Coal Mine in 1880 of which coal was transported in skips carrying half a ton of coal from the mine to the mountains via the incline railway.
Followed by the Scenic Walkway, a leisure hiking trail through the trees where we had some encounters with the birds and squirrels under the shade of eucalyptus (Mountain Blue Gum) which is over 100 years old. They are easily recognizable with the white and smooth shaft and they sprouted son after the coal mine was abandoned in 1895. We could see large sandstone rocks that fell from the cliffs approximately 10,000 years ago, too!
The end of the walkway connected with the Scenic Cableway, which brought us back to the Scenic World entrance and we head to the lookout for the Three Sisters!
Featherdale Wildlife Park
For those who are fans of cute animals, I think you would love the park. It was on the way from the Blue Mountains back to the city center, and we had an intimate experience with a lot of Marsupials and barnyard animals without a crowd. They have a lot of Koalas (which it was so fun just looking at them), we took pictures with Koala and feed the baby Wallabies with hay in a cone! I learn a lot about the behavior of habits of these animals and I enjoyed the park very much!
The Katoomba Falls from the Scenic Skyway and the voice of Koalas…