Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, Australia: Pre-Birthday Hiking Shindig

I've lost that adventure feeling on a multitude of occasions during our round-the-world trip. It mostly occurred when we're shacked somewhere for a significant period of time. Especially in the course of winter. Such is the case whilst we were couchsurfing (or make that bedsurfing) in my mum-in-law's Sydney home. The hubby's visa application for U.S., the next country on our list, took forever. And we chose to let our arses stay put for we were unwilling to burn our funds on pricey Oz road trips.

We became slothful and stagnant.

The Three Sisters rock formation.

So to reignite the adventure flame, we plotted a two-day jaunt in New South Wales' Blue Mountains, a region famous for breathtaking highland vistas and scenic bushwalk trails. A vast part of it, the Greater Blue Mountains area, is a World Heritage Site. Inscribed so for the "outstanding universal value" of its eucalypt vegetation. It had been the home of the Gundangara people for several millenia.

Organic cafes and thrift shops lined up along Katoomba Street, Katoomba.

The main town where tourists usually start off their respective walkabouts is Katoomba, just an hour and a half drive from Sydney via private vehicle (a couple of hours by train). Despite its proximity to our hood, we opted for an overnight getaway instead of a quickie day trip. It was one of our rare splurge events. Like, yah know, my birthday. After a not-so-big-plus-terrifying-three-oh the previous year (I was then counting down the days 'til the delivery of our daughter), the hubby granted my wish to see Blue Mountains on day 71 of our family vagabonding.

Echo Point lookout.

At about two in the afternoon, we arrived at our booked accommodation, Katoomba Mountain Lodge. A beat up, borrowed car we named Gumby brought us there without any hassle. After checking in, we merely dumped our luggage in the cozy double room assigned to us then headed out for late lunch. Because it was my call, we had Chinese.

Paved trail to the Three Sisters.

With only a few hours left of sunshine, we hurriedly left our unfinished meals at a place called Three Sisters B.B.Q. Restaurant, and drove to Echo Point lookout under the direction of our moody yet trusty GPS device. It wasn't as packed as we expected, and searching for a nearby parking space didn't take long. We spent no time idling. We strode towards the lookout platform and skirted it for an unobstructed view of Jamison Valley.

Arch at the top of the Giant Stairway.

The postcardesque scene of a massive blue haze enveloping the sandstone plateaus made my heart... Cheesiness ahead... Skip a beat. Yes folks, it's called Blue Mountains for a very obvious reason. Its blue tinge is an outcome of mie scattering - an explanation of which may bore you out of your wits but just to give you an idea, it's got something to do with ultraviolet radiation and the abundancy of eucalypt trees in the area.

Giant Stairway steep descent.

It's a dream of mine to do bushwalking along Federal Pass, a trail on the base of the cliffs in the valley. Unfortunately, it was not the right time to fulfill such dream for we were lugging our eleven-month old crawler. So we decided to just do an easy hike to the Three Sister rock formation. From the lookout, we walked to the Information Centre and followed a paved path that led us to the arch atop the Giant Stairway. A sign bears a warning: VERY STEEP - STRONG WALKERS ONLY.

The only accessible sister.

Mind you, it ain't a joke. The stairway is insanely steep and dizzying. We reached one of the Three Sisters unscathed and were greeted by fellow hiking parents with two kids in tow, one of whom is tucked in a baby carrier. The mum happily offered to take a snapshot of us. After which they descended further and never returned. I wondered if they pushed on to accomplish the Federal Pass trek. You see, we aren't the only crazy 'rents on Earth.

Sorry adventure junkies, climbing and abseiling are not allowed.

Legend has it that three sisters of the Katoomba tribe were turned into stone by an elder to protect them from being captured by the three men of a neighboring tribe whom they fell in love with. Marriage between them was forbidden. Slumped on the bench, I thought, such dreary story behind a stunning rock formation.

The iconic Three Sisters is just one of the main attractions of Blue Mountains. And our hike that day's just half of my awesome birthday shindig. The next day on my actual 31st, we rode the steepest incline railway in the world and visited a toy with a vast collection of Barbie dolls (faint!). Now didn't I say it was awesome?


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Traveling Morion/Jeffrey Rilles said...
April 23, 2012 at 8:50 PM

NGANGA ako sa Three sisters Photos wew! mukhang feel ni Luna na magpakarga sa Giant stairway jejeje,,, luv the last two photographs:)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 23, 2012 at 8:53 PM

We thought it was pointless to bring her stroller... So ayun, kami ang napanganga sa pagkarga. LOL.

Mhe-anne Ojeda said...
April 23, 2012 at 8:58 PM

super love this post Gay dear - the pictures (lovely, full of life, moving!), the narration (witty, honest, flowing) and the information (educational, new, World Heritage Site!)- combined makes this post the Three Sisters Blue Mountains of blogging!! love it!

Vonn Angelie David said...
April 23, 2012 at 9:09 PM

whatta sight!!! breath-taking

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 23, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Awww... Thanks Ate Mhe-Anne!

Cha said...
April 23, 2012 at 9:26 PM

I love your pre-natal adventure Gay! Idol ka talaga! Paano mo kinaya baby mo bilib na talaga ako sa yo! But I find it horrible to be turned into a rock! But anyway the Three Sisters Blue Mountains is so beautiful. I can feel the fresh air in that area. And to traverse that steep climb is no joke. Looking at one of your pictures made me dizzy ha ha ha! Picture pa lang nalula na paano na sa actual baka magkanda hulog hulog ako sa hagdan at maluray luray ang katawan lupa ko. lol.

Rizalenio said...
April 23, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Kaya pala siya bumublue...ang bango siguro dyan coz of the abundance of eucalyptus trees. Winner ang mga sisters na yan! :)

Trip@dora said...
April 23, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Ang astig nung rock formation! haha. Love the pictures gay especially the funny faces.

Blanca said...
April 23, 2012 at 9:33 PM

Wow, beautiful. The legend of the three sisters of the Blue Mountain intrigued me.:)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 23, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Cha, LOL. Di pwede sa mga may fear of heights! Kakalula talaga.

Tripper10 : Tripsiders said...
April 23, 2012 at 9:55 PM

Grabe naman po.. Ang Ganda...:)
Siguro po sobrang GANDA ng Three Sisters noong Tao pa sila no? hehehe..


Mai Flores said...
April 23, 2012 at 10:06 PM

Hello Gay! When it's your birthday, your wishes should be granted! Hehe! Your celebration was an awesome one, especially that the Three Sisters Blue Mountains were perfectly in sight.. Would love to see these 'cursed sisters' should I fly off to Oz.. when kaya? Hehe.

enzo said...
April 23, 2012 at 10:18 PM

The view in here is simply breath taking! Did I read it right? As in you are in a quest to tour around the world! Oh my...not many people got the luck you have! Enjoy it!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 23, 2012 at 10:25 PM

You read it right, Enzo :) We're already back in Pinas... But itching to leave again to cover more countries.

Jojie said...
April 23, 2012 at 10:58 PM

I took 2 of my new friends here. I met them during a business venture. These guys were our employees at that time.

They have been wanting to visit and see Katoomba for a while but never got around to it until we met. Originally, they were going on a day tour which was apparently expensive. But since, I knew the place well enough because of my photography hobby.

Whilst we were there, I recall them saying there's really nothing so special about it. The first time I've been to this place was, when I was really young and being young you couldn't really appreciate it. Now that I am older, I can see the beauty, but still think it would be too pricey if I were to go on a tour :(

MaryJane Tauyan said...
April 23, 2012 at 11:03 PM

geez!! that looks so scary!! go for the baby though she managed to climb up there! haha! xx

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 23, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Are you looking into package tours Jojie? Coz that's definitely pricey. Try a DIY visit :) Shouldn't be too difficult to organize.

the she-wolf said...
April 24, 2012 at 1:32 AM

pre-birthday? i read in indian astrology that people born on april through june are travellers in their past lives. not sure if it's true but my dad, myself and most of the travelling junkies i know were april-june born people.

the she-wolf said...
April 24, 2012 at 1:40 AM

i had an oz suitor before who wanted to bring me to oz for a date. but being an indoor pampered princess back then (i was still studying), i dropped the offer. now looking at your photos, it looks like a missed opportunity! but then again, going there in the future will be more fulfilling now that i have work. australia is not my goal this year but definitely i will have to visit it someday.

msairrapingol said...
April 24, 2012 at 7:12 AM

nice photos.. and grabe parang napaka-refreshing ng place na yan.. pag dito sa manila, ndi na blue, green, brown makikita mo ehh.. puro gray and black because of pollution.

bayenmd said...
April 24, 2012 at 7:34 AM

ooohhh, beautiful rock formations there.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 24, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Airra, haha! So true. Would be lovely to live somewhere, someday with a a view like this.

yuuki said...
April 24, 2012 at 8:29 AM

sad story of the three sisters but the formation looks awesome!

can u feature the barbie collection too?

btw, belated hapi bday!

journeyingjames said...
April 24, 2012 at 9:09 AM

yung solo picture mo parang baguio lang. hahaha
nice name- 3 sisters.
nandyan ba sila solesiters kompanyera?

deobaraanmd said...
April 24, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Quite an engaging post Gay! Witty and Funny. The rock formations are stunning..It actually reminds of red rock canyon and the grand canyon.

and btw, Kudos to you for being such an adventurous mom! Luna is one lucky girl! :)

Batangala said...
April 24, 2012 at 10:06 AM

i miss the blue mountains. this is the first time we experienced snow although it was starting to melt. taking the blue mountains explorer bus, we explored both katoomba and leura. too bad that it was drizzling at the time that we have to skip some of the places worth visiting.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 24, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Yuuki, will definitely write about the Barbie collection!

James, haha! Sole Sisters not turned into stone. They're very much alive and globetrotting!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 24, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Deo, I'd love to see the Grand Canyon someday!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 24, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Kuya Noel, didn't get to explore much of Leura too. Will visit again someday.

Gemma|My Dailies said...
April 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

beautiful, breath taking, amazing wonders of nature! This reminds me of the Lookout Mountain in Tennessee and the rock formations in Mesa Verde, Colorado!... ganda!

Francis Balgos said...
April 24, 2012 at 1:58 PM

the three sisters is a taker alone!
sometimes you have to know your own limits.. harhar!
Ganda ng rock formations! :)

Tin | The Average Jane said...
April 24, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Wow! Really beutiful! =)

ardee sean said...
April 24, 2012 at 3:04 PM

crazy!! crazy!! parang natakot ako dun sa last two pictures... hindi ko ata kakayanin ung heights jan.. anyways, hope you get to the peak on your bday.. and always :P

markpogi said...
April 24, 2012 at 7:02 PM

I got immediately sold on your first and last photo. It felt like I'm in heaven already. :D

joei ♥ said...
April 25, 2012 at 1:30 AM

Wow! Happy birthday in advance! :)

Noks Sosa I said...
April 25, 2012 at 1:56 AM

That was heaven. Very breath taking. I want to visit the Three Sisters too.

Malditang "Kura"cha said...
April 25, 2012 at 8:23 AM

super nice. bakit ba nauuso ang lulaan lately. hihihi! At talagang lumevel up ang buong family. Literal na literal. lol!

thanks for taking us there. Kahit sa picture lang. Scary talaga pag may baby kasama.

shawi | cheap travel for women said...
April 25, 2012 at 10:47 AM

i can relate sa iyong adventure burnout. ang solusyon pala ay mag-adventure lang ulit. haha.

glad you had an awesome three O celebration ;)

julai said...
April 26, 2012 at 4:14 AM

Hello Miss Gay,

belated happy birthday! Bonggacious ever ang ceelbration birthday mo! At ang ganda ng scene and the photos are amazing.

God bless always and keep safe.

Mary @ The World Is A Book said...
April 26, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Beautiful post as always, Gay! Thank you for taking me back to this awesome place. We spent part of our honeymoon in Sydney 11 years ago and made it to the Blue Mountains. We were those tourists! The way the light played out on the Three Sisters was stunning. The cable car ride was a bit scary though.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 26, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Thanks Mary! Are you pertaining to the cable car ride in Scenic World? That's quite fun!

April 26, 2012 at 10:26 PM

wow super ganda ng bukid!! :) D pako ever ngsawa sa bukid kahit tga bukidnon ako. it still fascinates me! And hi cute luna!!! :D

AJ said...
April 27, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Oh ok, I can't take my mom on this trip then. We're planning pa naman a trip Down Under. Seems like it will not include the Blue Mtns. Unless there are cable cars to whisk her up the summit?

Hmmm, would really love to know about the UV light effect on eucalyptus trees. Pls consider your nerdy readers next time, hihihihi.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 27, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Haha! Nerdy readers get a PM :) Anyhoo, you can definitely take her there! A bus can whisk her to the view point. There are cable rides too, but has a different view of the valley. Scenic nonetheless.

soloflightEd said...
April 28, 2012 at 8:22 AM

I can feel you when it comes to being lazy. Our one month in Siem Reap, medyo kain-tulog-trabaho yung routine namin. Hibernation mode kasi, hehe. buti na lang the hostel had a free bike so yun yung exercise ko most of the time.

Ian | Going Places said...
April 28, 2012 at 11:58 AM

I didn't thought that the Blue Mountains is almost 2 hour away only from Sydney. I hope to visit this place once I had a chance to see Sydney again... Happy Birthday! May all your bithday wishes come true!

Aleah | said...
April 28, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Wow, love love it! I would want to rappel from there too! Too bad it's not allowed? See you here in Manila!! Hopefully with the baby doll too!

Riz said...
April 29, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Stunning View! Panalo tlaga yang three sisters rock formation! :) Awwww karga2 din si Luna, naiimagine q palang ang pagod pero super worth it. picture palang the best na anu pa kaya sa personal.

This is WOW!

Christian | Lakad Pilipinas said...
May 2, 2012 at 3:59 PM

nakakalula ang view! at kasama nyo pa talaga ang kiddo nyo! astig!

Ken Agsaway said...
May 3, 2012 at 8:07 AM

bata pa lang traveler na!
ganda ng lugar!

Dylan said...
May 4, 2012 at 4:19 PM

wow... the view!
I want to go there as well. :)

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