The final leg of my trip was in Sydney, one of my favourite cities to visit. Wanting to do something I hadn’t done before, and maybe not so achievable on a layover, myself and Katie (sadly it was back to work for Sophie) decided to head out to the Blue Mountains National Park to the small town of Katoomba just 2 hours by train out of Sydney Central Station.
I’d had a few friends visit the Blue Mountains who said it was worthwhile so I looked forward to our trip and being only $5.10 one way by train, it didn’t break the bank either! Arriving into the city just before lunch time, we had decided to pay for the Hop On Hop Off bus tour which took you to numerous different sites around the national park and different walking paths. There are walks for all abilities here whether you’re just wanting a more gentle stroll or walks for the more accomplished hiker. Some people even spend up to three days here completing all the walks. Our first stop was to Katoomba Falls for a walk that took us around an hour.
The landscape was incredibly undulating and had us walking up and down many steps, but also took us to the most breath taking views looking out into the valley of a lush green back drop that went on for miles and miles.
Jumping back on the bus we headed over to the Three Sisters. The Three Sisters is the Blue Mountains most remarkable land form with an unusual rock formation reaching 922, 918 and 906 metres respectively. According to aboriginal legend, the rocks represent three sisters who were turned to stone.
The Aboriginal dreamtime legend has it that three sisters, ‘Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and Gunnedoo’ lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe. These beautiful young ladies had fallen in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe, yet tribal law forbade them to marry. The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters causing a major tribal battle. As the lives of the three sisters were seriously in danger, a witchdoctor from the Katoomba tribe took it upon himself to turn the three sisters into stone to protect them from any harm. While he had intended to reverse the spell when the battle was over, the witchdoctor himself was killed. As only he could reverse the spell to return the ladies to their former beauty, the sisters remain in their magnificent rock formation as a reminder of this battle for generations to come.
After plenty of walking and also being absolutely freezing because we didn’t take into account that it’s winter in Sydney and that is does actually get cold, we took the bus over to the train station to head back to Sydney and meet Sophie after work. After changing and wrapping up in as many layers as possible after being used to the warmth of Queensland, we made our way back into the city for dinner at a cute Mexican place to fill up before exploring Vivid!
For those of you unfamiliar with Vivid it is s a 23 day festival of light, music and ideas. Vivid Sydney features many of the world’s most important creative industry forums, a mesmerising free public exhibition of outdoor lighting sculptures and installations and a cutting edge contemporary music program. Vivid Sydney is where art, technology and commerce intersect.
My friend Sophie works for American Express and we were able to go up to the AMEX Lounge in the Museum Of Contemporary Art for great views over the city to see the lights on the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. We sat outside under the heaters with some drinks taking in the views and the interesting music, it was a really great atmosphere and I’d never seen anything like it. A great idea to get people out into the centre during the winter.
And then before I knew it we were back home and in bed and I was catching the 6am flight out of Sydney to head back to Dubai and my holiday was over. I had such a great time exploring more of Australia, its a great country and I fall more and more in love with it every time I visit. To say these plans came together last minute, it was a pretty great holiday and I look forward to my next visit down under. Thank you for a great holiday as well Sophie and Katie, so great for all three of us to catch up together!