*Flashback ... in the previous post, Moz was getting drenched out and heavy fog prevented full viewing of the many Blue Mountains attractions ... but things were about to get a little better as Moz approached the iconic Echo Point, location of the rock formation known as the 3 Sisters*
So, I went driving around Cliff Drive, and reached Echo Point. Echo Point is one stop along the Cliff Drive, and it's really one of my must-go place.
Echo Point is like the Mecca of tourism in Blue Mountains. Busloads of tourists from all over turn up here. Ripped off tourists hop off here, take some photos with the 3 Sisters in the background, then get shepparded to Scenic World to take a few rides. And that's probably Blue Mountains for the folks who have a day or half day trips ...
Anyways, even at Echo Point, the weather wasn't all that good. But the fog had cleared eventually, and there were many clear views of the 3 Sisters.
There's a few versions of the 3 Sisters stories (also known as dreamings) as told by the Aborigines people in Australia. Apparently, the 3 Sisters were turned into stone by some witch doctor to protect them from members of an opposing tribe. Different versions give different reasons for their need for protection. But making a long story short, the witch doctor himself was killed, and thus, the 3 Sisters have remained as stones boulders ever since.
But for nature lovers, Echo Point is more than just the 3 Sisters. It's a place full of lookouts and bushwalking trails. And some of these lookouts are spectacular vantage points, a piece of rock jutting out of a vertical cliff. And there's probably 300 meters of air between some of the lookouts and the hard ground below.
Just a short walk from Echo Point, you join part of the Prince Henry Clifftop Walk. This is a series of hikes that goes around the top of the cliff stretching from Katoomba cascades all the way to Leura, passing Scenic World, Echo Point and on to Leura.
However, with my growling stomach protesting, and the rain falling again, I just took a short hike from Echo Point down to the 3 Sisters. You can actually walk right up to the 1st Sister, not at the top, but into a small depression in the rock face.
Once back in the car, my mind drifted to lunch ... which was at a nice little cafe in Katoomba. Here's to salivate angeliu.
Chicken braised in a base of organic herbs and spices. Blue Mountain is a place which is a hot-pot of the slow food movement. Slow Food is really what it is - the opposite of Fast Food - food for the enjoyment and health of people. This dish I had is all organic ... and washed down in wine and spring water ... it was good fuel for the rest of the day.
After lunch, I checked into the hotel. And admired the rented car ... at AUD120 for 3 days, inclusive of all the insurance, it was a good bargain, eh? Visitors to Australia might want to look up this site if they want to get a good deal with rentals. Anyways, after unpacking my bags in the room, I took off again to Katoomba, just 5 minutes by car.
After that, it was to Scenic World. Scenic World is another tourist magnet. Here, on the tops of the cliffs, visitors gets to take 3 rides - the scenic railway, which goes over 400 meters down the cliff in less than 2 minute, the Scenic Cableway and Skyway.
I absolutely had to do the Railway, the drop was scary the first 10 seconds, but after that, you're really descending into a tunnel in the cliff, and there's just darkness almost the entire way down. A bit of a letdown, but still, a good experience nevertheless.
Once down on the valley, I took the forest boardwalk, a well laid out, maintained and informative hike along boardwalks in the forest to the Skyway, which took me back up to the cliff top.
I was sort of disappointed ... but then again, the whole day had rained out and the fog was lifting, yes, but it was still freezing cold ... I couldn't feel my fingers half the time.
I drove a short way to Katoomba Falls lookout, where I went out to Reid's Plateau and got a view of the little relative of the 3 Sisters, the Orphan Rock, and Katoomba Falls.
I was really game to go on and explore more, but the cold, and the winds were really wearing me down ... with signs that fog was going to descend again, I decided to call it a day ... before I get frostbite. And there's a frozen nose to thaw out as well ....
* Next post ... Prince Henry Clifftop Walk, The Giant Staircase, Federal Pass - and good weather, at last !!! *