Blue Mountains OZ Experience

by Melissa on February 23, 2011 · 2 comments

Hello, hello, hello!  Wow.  3 posts in one week, you readers are spoiled!  Anyways, I’m sitting here at my hostel in the Blue Mountains (the Katoomba YHA), waiting for it to be 4:00 so I can jump on the bus back to the big bad city (Sydney).  I came here on the Blue Mountains OZ Experience tour.  The Blue Mountains are an absolute gorgeous spot just a short 90min drive west of the Sydney CBD.  It’s a national park that is not so much mountains, but rather large sandstone plateaus that spans over 10000km².  Totally gorgeous and perfect for photo ops.  If you’ve got me on Facebook, check out my Blue Mountain album… got some pretty sweet shots. blue mountains

I decided to join the Blue Mountains Oz Experience bus to get here, as it provided a day tour on my first day — we did a couple really great hikes around the Blue Mountains — Wentworth Falls and The Three Sisters.  Our tour guide/bus driver, Jason, was really awesome — really knowledgeable about the area and about all of Australia, since he’s been a tour guide for 13 years.  He shared some aboriginal folklore about the Three Sisters.  We also made a short stop in Glenbrook to see wild kangaroos — we saw two males fighting with each other, which was really funny and cool to see.  Actually that stop was first, but yeah… same difference.  By the time we were dropped off at the YHA at 4:00pm I was really tuckered out, and pretty much was ready for bed right then and there.

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Yesterday, I had signed up for an abseiling and canyoning expedition with High’n’Wild – a local company here in town.  I woke up bright and early and made my way to their offices, signed my life away, got fitted for a wetsuit for later in the day and before I knew it we were in the bus off to our first site.  There were 9 of us in the group and 2 guides.  We learned the basics (which I had already learned while caving in New Zealand at the Waitomo Caves) on a 5m rock face.  After a few abseils, we moved onto the 15m abseil which had spectacular views of the Blue Mountains and the valley hundreds of meters below.  After flying down that cliff a couple times, again, we moved onto bigger and badder things… the 30m abseil.  This bad boy had about 5m where you were actually walking with your feet on the rock wall, then the overhang ended and you were simply sitting back and lowering yourself down for 25m!

After going down  that certain abseil twice, it was time to head to our second location close to Wentworth Falls to have lunch and then commence the 2nd portion of the afternoon where we got to do some canyoning.  We were jumping off rocks into water pools and streams that made their way through the deep canyon, as well as sliding down rocks into the water… and generally just navigating through the stream wearing silly wet suits with our harnesses and helmets on.  I’m sure it was very attractive.  Unfortunately we couldn’t bring cameras, so there are no pictures.  The very end of the canyon adventure included a 30m abseil down Empress Falls (GOOGLE IMAGE THAT! So beautiful!).  Since there was a lot of rain in the area as of late, the waterfall was pretty powerful, which makes it pretty difficult to abseil through — but makes it really challenging and fun.  All you can hear is the water pounding down on your helmet and you’re focusing on not losing your footing — all while slowly (or in my case… quickly) lowering yourself down on the rope.  One guy pretty much went down the entire way upside down! At the bottom is a deep pool of water and about 3 or 4m from the bottom we’re all given the option to push ourselves off the wall of the waterfall and let go of our ropes… thus falling back into the pool.  It was absolutely crazy and amazing.  I highly recommend to anyone who has any sense of adventure or love of the outdoors to definitely try the Empress Falls abseil and canyon expedition with High’n’Wild.  It was totally worth it.  The only bad part, for me anyways, was the walk up the 1000+ stairs to the car park.  My asthmatic lungs weren’t too happy.  But I reckon doing that a couple times per week would give you one hell of an ass!

hanging out

Today I just relaxed in Katoomba at the YHA, caught up on computer stuff and chatted with fellow travelers.  Met a Canadian guy who is heading off to NZ.  He collects old coins and money and stuff and I ended up selling him some Kiwi coins that I had laying around for a few old Canadian 1 and 2 dollar bills.  To my surprise, my tourguide from Monday- Jason – was there to pick us up at 4pm.   Originally on Monday, he had said he wasn’t doing the Blue Mountain tour on Wednesday, so I’d have another driver.  But I guess I’m just so darn charming, that he switched the days around just so he could drive me back.  Hahaha or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.  I sat up front and chatted with him for the two hour drive back into the city.  Also got talking to a great guy, DJ from the US.  We ended up going out to Chinatown for some good eats and had a great chat about traveling and such.

So now I’m back at the Sydney Central YHA for the night and off to the airport bright and early for my 8am flight to Perth.  West Coast here I come! 🙂  I seriously cannot wait!

Now Playing – Name by Goo Goo Dolls

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

C.W. Bush September 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm

The Blue Mountains is a really fun visit, but I've never had the chance to try abseiling. Might just need to tackle that sometime this year…

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Mellyboo September 23, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Chris, I'd totally do it again! 🙂 it was so much fun! 🙂

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