SYDNEY| Blue Mountains Day Tour

 

One of the absolute must tours when visiting Sydney is a trip to Blue Mountains.  For us, an organised excursion worked out to be more economical than planning the trip ourselves.  The full day itinerary included:

  • Scenic World Blue Mountains
  • Echo Point
  • Featherdale Wildlife Park
  • Parramatta River cruise

Up early, we just about managed to grab a doughnut from a nearby vendor before boarding the coach which was dispatched to our hotel; and once the last passenger embarked, we were jetting across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the fully-loaded double-decker bus.

Blue Mountains

The journey to Blue Mountains National Park is about a 90 minute drive west of Sydney CBD.  As you exit the city and get closer to the park, you can expect to see abundant greenery and rolling hills on either side.  With the valley chasing past, the drive to Scenic World in Katoomba felt like no time at all.

Scenic World lies near to the border of the National Park and provides wonderful views of Blue Mountains, the Three Sisters and Jamison Valley.  There are numerous walks and rides available to get the most picturesque experience of the park.  Some of the attractions include the Skyway, Cableway, Walkway and Railway.

It’s a great alternative to the bustling city and one can get a true feel for Australia’s natural habitat.  There is also a canteen overlooking the valley so you don’t have to worry about meals.  We spent about 2 hours at Scenic World, which I felt was slightly rushed, particularly seeing as the park was busy.  Nevertheless, we managed to try out each ride once and walk through a small section of the forest.

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Figure 1: View of the Blue Mountains and the Three Sisters from Scenic World

Echo Point 

After a fun-filled morning at Scenic World, we were bussed to Echo Point.  The Echo Point lookout provides breath-taking views of the valley, Blue Mountains and the Three Sisters.  There are also a few pathways which can be followed into the valley, and toward the valley floor.

Up the road from the lookout point is the Waradah Aboriginal Centre where we enjoyed a traditional aboriginal show.  The show takes an educational point of view and provides explanations of each aboriginal word, dance and didgeridoo note performed.  The show is informative and reasonably entertaining, albeit quite brief.

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Figure 2: Performers at Waradah Aboriginal Centre

Featherdale Wildlife Park

After the show, we piled back into the bus and trekked eastward towards Featherdale Wildlife Park in Doonside.  The park is home to a variety of indigenous species of mammals, birds and reptiles.  Little ones will love cuddling the koalas and walking amongst the wallabies.  You can also get up close and personal with Australia’s more dangerous wildlife such as the saltwater crocodile and Tasmanian devil; or catch a glimpse of the cassowary and the emu.  There is also an expansive gift store to stock up on souvenirs for yourself, friends and family.

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Figure 3: Various wildlife at Featherdale Wildlife Park

Parramatta River Cruise

Our tour ended on a magical note with a cruise down the Parramatta River.  We embarked at the Sydney Olympic Park ferry wharf and welcomed a glass of wine before reserving our spot on the ferry’s deck.  As we sailed along the river we were greeted by the sunset and the lights from homes scattered along the riverbanks.  To add to the whimsy, our ferry ride coincided with the testing of Sydney Vivid – a light, music and projections display which adorns the city each year.  The skyline, Harbour Bridge and Opera House were illuminated by a spectrum of colours; which was the perfect culmination to our last night in Sydney.

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Figure 4: Sydney CBD illuminated for Sydney Vivid

 

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