I’ll Be Touring ‘Round These Mountains

If you don’t go to the Blue Mountains when you’re in Sydney, who do you think you are? A tourist who just has no time to go because it takes two hours to drive there and it’s a whole day trip and you only heard about it recently?

Yeah, I thought so. (end sarcasm)

Honestly though, the Blue Mountains were an amazing experience and you should definitely do it.

Outfit | Food | Sites | People | Takeaway

The Outfit

The morning of the tour, I remember thinking that I wanted to dress comfortably enough for any amount of walking we did, but also not look like I wanted to dress comfortably enough for any amount of walking we did. Nailed it.

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The Food

A full day of touring should always start with a great breakfast. In fact, all days should start with a great breakfast.

Because I got to the city sooo early (I was being picked up by the bus at 8:20am and my train dropped me off at Central Station at 7:15am), I decided to walk the streets around the station until I found a place. This line of thinking brought me to a delicious cafe (as most lines of thought do) on the corner of Reservoir Street and Hands Lane. The place is called Single O: Surry Hills and they served me a delicious bowl of mixed grains topped with poached eggs, avocado, and other vegetables! Also the dressing was a balsamic coffee reduction, which just makes the whole plate seem ~fancy af~.

I paired the bowl with a flat white because when in Australia

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The Sites

Though the Blue Mountains are technically part of the Great Dividing Range (Oz’s largest mountain range), a lot of people identify them as a separate entity. However you understand them, they’re still such a great highlight of my Sydney trip!

We started the tour off at Kings Tableland (or Evan’s Lookout) for some ~great views~, then moved on to a hike of Wentworth Falls before stopping at the town of Leura for lunch.

After lunch, we continued on to Scenic World to delight in some “rides”. A trip to see an aboriginal carving and a ferry ride down Parramatta River complete the trip.

King’s Table

King’s Table is a lookout point at the Blue Mountains. No coach buses are allowed up the roads leading to the lookout (we were in a long van), so it was fairly empty. This was a good thing because the views of the mountains from that height were amazing. The atmospheric perspective (the reason why the mountains have a blue tinge the further they are; hence the name “Blue Mountains”) was super evident from this lookout. This had my art history senses tingling!

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Wentworth Falls

After a very short hike down one of the mountains, we came across another lookout that overlooked Wentworth Falls (which I didn’t get a picture of, stupid me) and the rest of the mountain range.

There were stairs and railings on the other side of the falls from us and they seemed to be leading to lookouts that were much closer (and therefore, better) to the falls. I am definitely gonna have to come back to the Blue Mountains to walk down those steps!

Not pictured: Wentworth Falls.
Not pictured: Wentworth Falls.

Scenic World

An amusement park/museum/educational centre of sorts, Scenic World was one of the coolest experiences I had on this tour.

The experience starts off by crossing the canyon inside a steel and glass box hanging by steel wires. I wish I were kidding. To add to the anxiety-factor, the portion of the floor that I was stepping on was glass so you could see straight through to the tree tops, 250 meters away.

After that, we were ushered through the gift shop into another cable car, this time without a glass floor but with a significant incline change and even more anxiety-inducing views (don’t be fooled, I had an absolute blast on both cable cars).

When we got off the second cable car, we were able to explore a bit of the canyon floor. The last “ride” at Scenic World consisted of a 310 meter drop (or in our case, backwards ascent) at 52°, making for a crazy railway ride!

Also, something about the Three Sisters.

I almost died at how high we were tbh
I almost died at how high we were tbh

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We all had a blast screaming and hollering on this ride
We all had a blast screaming and hollering on this ride

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These are v important.
These are v important.

Aboriginal Carving

Probably the most random stop, the driver stopped at a gravel parking lot, made everyone get off, and showed us a 500-year-old picture of a speared kangaroo carved into the stone. He explained that though the carving wasn’t a sacred spot, it was still important because it shows archaeologists how knowledge was passed down through the generations: through pictures and diagrams.

It's there, I promise
It’s there, I promise

The Ferry Ride

After arriving back in Sydney, the driver dropped us off at Sydney Olympic Park Ferry Wharf, where we boarded a ferry that was making its way down the Parramatta River. This was, by far, the best way to finish the tour! I got to experience riverside properties mansions castles, sailboats in their natural habitat, and the architectural and engineering wonders that are the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

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When the view is you
When the view is you

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I may have cried while taking this picture
I may have cried while taking this picture

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The People

The people I met on this tour made the trip way more fun and interesting!

As soon as I got on the bus, I made friends with the girl sitting next to me! She hailed from India and had just attended a conference in Melbourne; she decided the make the long journey worth it by exploring other cities, mainly Sydney. I also met an Italian couple on their honeymoon, who proceeded to invite me to the vineyard that they owned in the “heel” of Italy. A dad and daughter duo from Perth, as well as a mum on a “mommy-cation” from Jakarta, made me laugh so hard and gave me such great memories. Two more sets of honeymooners (lots of love on that bus) from Poland and Florida — some super super super great people — rounded out the group that I had met on the trip.

Hearing about everyone’s backgrounds, travel stories, and their thoughts on the tour was absolutely amazing; I am very glad I decided to do the tour, even though I risked being alone the entire time. I’ve added some of them on social media and I can’t wait to see where their travels take them next!

Also, with all the honeymooners and the dad and daughter duo, it honestly felt like I was on a really nice, relaxed episode of Amazing Race!

The Takeaways

  • Breakfast is important, so why not give it a nice upgrade by getting ~fancy~ with it?
  • Do things by yourself! I loved doing this tour by myself because it allowed me the opportunity to meet and connect with the others on my tour. I learned so much about their culture, their views, and their passions just based on this day trip alone!
  • Sometimes, you need to get out of the city to fully enjoy your stay there. The Blue Mountains are right at Sydney’s doorstep and it was great being able to experience them!
  • Simple tools and carvings educated generations and generations of aboriginals in Australia. How wonderful it is to be come from a species with such awe-inspiring innovation and brainpower.
  • Sailing looks bad-ass. Therefore, I need to learn how to sail.

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