11 August 2006

Nice bush you got there ...

*PICTURE HEAVY ... If you don't have a fast Internet connection, blame your karma !!!*

After a cold, cold, night spent in near freezing temperatures in Katoomba, I woke up to a perfect day on Sunday !!! Yays !!! Finally, clear blue skies. Now, that's a Blue Mountains I can explore !!

I checked out, took some high energy breakfast, and off I went to my hikes !!

There are so many pictures to show you, I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking !!!! Click on the pictures to see a bigger picture.

The plan would be to do a loop - Start at the top of the Furber Steps, do the Prince Henry Cliff Walk to Echo Point, and beyond to Leura, then double back to Echo Point, take the Giant Staircase down to Dardanelles Pass, then to Federal Passs and back on Furber Steps to where I start. Should take around 4 hours or so.
Katoomba Cascades, the first of many little waterfalls, creeks, leaps and cascades.

Cliff View Lookout - has wheelchair access and also braille signs. And for those of us fortunate enough to be born with senses intact and complete - stunning views of the Jamieson Valley.

The Prince Henry Cliff Walk not only routes along the top of the southern cliffs of Blue Mountains - they have by far, the best views among all the other hikes in Blue Mountains.

The 3 Sisters. They're supposedly 3 beautiful sisters - Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo turned into rock. Inevitable reckons they look like brothers. Che-Cheh seconds. Moz thirds.

More 3 Sisters, as seen along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk. It's hard to explain to you the experience from lookouts here - the crisp winter air, the vertical drop just 1 feet in front of you, the 180 degree view of beautiful valleys. You just have to be there ...

Here's the start of the famous Giant Stairway ... 1000+ steps down from the side of the 1st sister all the way down to the valley below.

While taking my first step on the Giant Stairway, here's the view of the 1st Sister. The 2nd and 3rd sisters are blocked out. Notice how clear the sky is ... in comparison to the day before ..

For a person like me who's afraid of heights, it was really uncomfortable doing the Giant Stairway. Really. Just look at how steep these stairs are in some places. You had to walk them backwards in some places because it was just sooooOOOOoooo steep !!

If you had to walk up the Giant Stairway, the average person takes around 45 minutes - 1 hour. I highly recommend walking down.

At the bottom of the Giant Stairway, you reach the Dardanelles Pass, a walk in the forests. While the views are not as superlative as the ones along the Prince Henry Cliff Walks', it's well worth the walk - these are some of the oldests forests in the world. Only a few hundred kms from here, the Wollemi pines, trees that are 100 million years old are found, still alive and growing !

And ocassionally, you get some good view too. You'll pass under the 3 Sisters as well - don't forget to look under their skirts. And also see some very interesting plants.

After nearly 1 hour in the forest along the Dardanelles Pass, you reach Federal Pass, the main hiking route in the Jamieson Valley. For tired hikers, they can pay A$8 and take the Scenic Railway up instead of hiking. And further on, you can see remnants of giant boulders and rocks from the 1932 landslide.

The Federal Pass branches at many places, one of them, on the Furber Steps. Taking the Furber Steps does have some vantage points, like this one overlooking the Katoomba Falls.

And if you don't have strong legs and a stronger heart, don't attempt the Furber steps. Although it's nothing like the Giant Stairways, it's still just uphill all the way.

In some places, you walk along sheer cliffs, somewhat similar to Grand Canyon.

Witches Leap, a small waterfall which later joins several more waterways becoming the Katoomba Falls. Leap is the Scottish word meaning waterfall, and witches, well, see the face in the rock ?

Ah ... Orphan's Rock ... at last ... this is the last landmark before my hike ends. Notice how clear the day is compared to the day before?

More waterfalls. Don't sue me. I'm a sucker for waterfalls too. Just like I'm a sucker for girls with good bone structure, sunsets, fast cars, money, ice cream, durian and all things good in life.

And 3 hours after I started my hike, I was back where I started ... well ... either I walked too quickly and forgot to smell the roses, or the hiking guides I read are meant for slower people ..

Completely unnecessary and gratitious picture of my chicken and leek pie lunch. I'm just trying to make angeliu go nuts. And a delicious salad side with home made dressing. Slow Food 1, Fast Food 0.

I took one last look at the 3 Sisters, and moved along the Cliff Drive, heading to Blackheath for my other Blue Mountain hike before heading back to Sydney.

* Next post - Evans Lookout, Govett's Leap and the Bell Lines of Roads *


angel said...

*drooling* (cos not yet makan)
U hv been doing real good at making me 'go nuts', huh huh?? :P

No dessert?

And yeah, breath-taking sceneries...
*breath taken*

Amelia said...

Nice pix, Moz..

But, the title of your post had me in stitches.. hehe

moz monster said...

angel: No dessert, angel. Not a good idea to eat that much and then go hiking ...

amelia: *Acts innocent* .... *whistles, looks around* ...

Jemima said...

How come the pie looks a bit soggy? Too much sauce, is it?

Btw, nice scenery. :)

Laksa said...

oh, i thought this was gonna be one of those R-rated postings...hmmm, got misled by your title...

anyways, nice pics, makes me miss going hiking and bushwalking down under...

moz monster said...

jemima: Oh, it was just nice ... not quite as soggy as you thought it would have been. Besides, I like my pies soggy that way ...

laksa: Oh, laksa ... behave. *acts innocent*

Inevitable said...

No pictures of wild animal?

moz monster said...

inevitable: I'm hoping that you're not expecting Kangaroos and Koalas. I have some ducks and coockatoos and parrots, if you're interested. :-P

Fashionasia said...

I wish i had stayed over a night in katoomba. Was there a couple of hours thats all....u know la tourist schedule... Im sure hiking is really fun there...with the cool weather. oh i love winter in OZ!!!

moz monster said...

fashionasia: Well ... that's why I never ever follow a tour. I took a car and made my own schedule. If you ever get a chance, gimme a buzz, I'll be glad to share with you my maps, itenary, etc.

I hate the hot, humid weather in Malaysia, but I'm not too sure that the cold in Katoomba is my cup of tea either.

Fashionasia said...

I wore so many layers....was very well prepared for the winter!!
I was contemplating to go for Free&Easy but in the end settled for a Tour as I dont know anybody there....now that i've made some friends, perhaps next trip i can chart my own schedule. :>
ps. The apple(next post)looks divine. Must go n join a company with office in aussie liao!! hehe

moz monster said...

fashionasia: well ... in hiking the challenge is to make sure you don't sweat - because sweat in the winter makes you sick real soon.

anyways, i have a feeling i won't be doing another extended aussie trip like this one, so i'll just be thankful for my posting here ... =)

lemme know if you need some help charting schedules, in most of asia, i can help out !!

Che-Cheh said...

A ride on a small plane or hot air balloon looking down at the vast land will be priceless too.

moz monster said...

che-cheh: The small plane ride sounds really good ... maybe even a helicopter tour (which they do have).

However, ballons would be a bad idea, given the area has a lot of strong winds, and mountains.

But if you have the $$$ you should definately do the helitour. =)