10 August 2006

Blue Mountains ... Echo Point & Scenic World

*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 ...

The 3 Sisters, Blue Mountains' #1 attraction. See all the fog in the background? 30 minutes before this picture was taken, it was a whiteout !!! I had to wait patiently for the fog to lift ... And notice a little bridge connecting into the 1st sister, on the left of the picture?

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.

This picture shows the steep cliffs on which Prince Henry Clifftop walk is routed on. It's 1000 meters of vertical drop in some places ....

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.

The view from the 3 Sisters. It's a little depression in the rock on the 1st sister which you can visit. The staircase is part of the Giant Staircase ... 1000 steps taking you from the cliff top to the bottom of the valley.

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.

Toyota Corolla 1.8 Hatchback Auto ... quite a nice car, and new as well ... for A$120, it's a damn good bargain, I think. I got to keep the car for 3 days.

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.

The scenic railway from the bottom. It's steep alright, but unless you sit right at the front, half the fun is gone .... you really just see other people's head ... or the roof.

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.

A really cold, hard, look at Orphan's Rock from Reid's Plateau, one of the lookouts near Katoomba Falls. My butt was frozen and all I could think of was to take a few more pictures, in case the bad light made some pics turn out bad.

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 ....

Katoomba Falls, one of the numerous waterfalls dotting the Blue Mountains hikes. Apparently, in summer and spring, after really heavy rain, this would be one of the heaviest waterfalls around.

* Next post ... Prince Henry Clifftop Walk, The Giant Staircase, Federal Pass - and good weather, at last !!! *


Jemima said...

Despite being freezing cold & also the fog, I'm sure you enjoyed yourself totally.

Your photos says it all.

Btw, you're not a 100% organic food person, are you? ;)

moz monster said...

jemima: The cold froze my enthuasiasm, really ... on one hand, I was ready to explore and just hike my heart out, on the other hand, I litterally couldn't feel my fingers half the time.

And no ... not 100% organic food person. Not even 10% organic food person ... I eat what's available to me. I'm not really choosy that way ...

Inevitable said...

Car rental in Malaysia will set you about 100RM a day and somemore, it will be local car. So 3 days, AS120 for a Corolla is definitely a good deal...

Btw, that 3 sisters, look more like 3 brothers to me if you know what I means ... *grin*

Fashionasia said...

eh!! i was there like...2 weeks ago...but thankfully it was a really sunny day in mid winter! so it wasnt THAT cold and we totally enjoyed the breath of fresh air.
Did u take the skytrain?!? The view on the other side was awesome.

Che-Cheh said...

Yeah Inevitable, 3 brothers...hehe

moz monster said...

inevitable: You see brothers in everything, don't you??

fashionasia: Well ... the very next day, the weather turned and I got a clear blue sky day ... !!! How about that?

Yeah ... I walked to the otherside instead - I agree it's beautiful ... but it was even better at some of the lookouts along the Cliff Walk .... !!!

che-cheh: You too, che-cheh? What has inevitable done to you??

angel said...

The drumstick looks yummy!
Ei? Why i always look at the food pics only wan?? :P

angel said...

Oh, and the 3 Sisters look like 3 Braders becos of the batang look?

moz monster said...

angel: I think you should start making a food blog lah, you.

Eh ... what has inevitable done to you and che-cheh??