When people think of Australia, they tend to picture the harsh deserts and dangerous animals, typically portrayed by most wildlife shows. I myself actually thought the same thing, until very recently, when I visited some of my friends that live there, in the state of New South Wales. I was taken to the Blue Mountains region of the state, and stayed with my family at the resort town of Katoomba. To my surprise, I discovered a wonderful country separate from the rest of the world, filled with breathtaking beauty, and extremely unique wildlife.
When I first arrived in Australia I expected to spend the entire time in Sydney, where my friends live. I knew that I would have a comfortable time, as Sydney is Australia’s largest city, and there is plenty to see and do, not to mention the shopping, 😉 Instead I was informed that we would actually be spending the week in the Blue Mountain town of Katoomba. Surprisingly these forest filled mountains, were only an hour away from Sydney, so we arrived relatively quickly.
The first thing I did when we reached our destination, was to visit the Three Sisters,
perhaps the most famous landmark of the entire Blue Mountains. They are an awe-inspiring sight, as they are three rocks positioned together, standing at a very imposing height. According to Aboriginal legend, they were actually three sisters set in stone by a witchdoctor to prevent any harm from befalling them.
After the Three Sisters, I took the Katoomba railway, to take in the sites of the forest. As it turns out, this particular rail line is actually the steepest in the world, and simply experiencing this oddity was a grand adventure on its own! After the railine, I decided that I wanted to be in the mountains some more, so I went on a tour of the area led by a Darug guide. The Darug people were native Aborigines that lived in the Blue Mountain area, so while on the tour we were schooled in the ancient Darug way of life, learning about how they lived comfortably on the mountains by themselves.
After hiking the trails for a while, we were taken to the Jenolan Caves, one of the oldest cave systems in the world. They are a huge source of pride for many Australians, and for good reason. The wildlife I saw there was like nothing I’d ever experienced, and the underground rivers were like something out of a fairy tale.
Overall Katoomba and the Blue Mountains changed the way I view Australia. No longer do I see it as a barren wasteland, but instead as an true paradise, made even more special by its separation from the rest of the world.