Blue Mountains

New South Wales



Blue Mountain National Park

"Peter arranged for us to take an ecotour with a great tour company called Wildframe. We rendezvoused (is that a word?) with the van, driven by a hearty and attractive woman named Toni, in the morning and, after two more stops to pick up the other tourists, drove the several hours out to the Blue Mountains region. The others on the van were a mix of British, German, Swedish, and Indian. We were the only Yanks. There were 3 other men and about 14 women, which really wasn't such a bad thing.

"Once we got out there, Toni and about eight of the others split off to go on a strenuous hike down into one of the canyons there. Interestingly, there was only one man and all the others were women, so no wimps on this trip! The rest of us came under the care of John, a zoologist, who took us to several incredible lookouts. We were supposed to go on a bit of a hike, but when we got to the trailhead, a ranger said it was closed due to a controlled burn below. John was somewhat irked, because he had checked that morning and been told that trail was open, but there was no arguing, so we went to a different lookout.

"Fire is a common occurrence in the area, some "controlled" (which John growled always seemed to go out of control anyway), some naturally occurring, and some, like in California, set by truly sick people for who knows what reasons. In any event, large areas get burned on a regular basis, however, since it is pretty much a rainforest environment, they tend to grow back quickly, with significant regeneration happening within six months or so." - Larry the O mlog

The O Bros at Anvil Rock

Located at the end of Hat Hill Road in the Gross Valley, Anvil Rock boasts spectacular views.

Steve O and Larry the O at Anvil Rock (with view)
Steve O and Larry the O at Anvil Rock (closeup)
Steve O at Anvil Rock


The Gross Valley from Anvil Rock

The effort to create Blue Mountains National Park began in 1932 in the Gross Valley, when a bushwalkers club raised enough money to buy out the lease for land containing fabulous stands of Blue Gum (Eucalyptus) trees. In addition to these trees, the Gross Valley wilderness is known for its spectacular bird population. As you can see, it's a very steep descent to the valley, but backpacking tours are available.

Gross Valley scenic view
Gross Valley scenic view

Other Views from Anvil Rock

Wind-Eroded Rock

View from Anvil Rock with our group
View from Anvil Rock
Wind-eroded rock, near Anvil Rock

The Kanimba Valley

Kanimba Valley scenic view
Kanimba Valley scenic view
Kanimba Valley scenic view
Kanimba Valley scenic view

The Megalong Valley

Like many parts of the Blue Mountain region, the Megalong Valley is named after an Aboriginal word: Megalong means "valley below the cliffs." The Megalong Valley is primarily a farming community for the locals but also is known for some of the best horseback riding in Australia. (We did not get that opportunity.) Thomas Jones was believed to be the first European visitor to the area, entering the Megalong Valley via Cox's River in 1818 in order to explore the natural vegetation. He obviously came to the right place; the valley is gorgeous!

In the third photo from the left, Larry (R) chats with John, our guide. The shelter at the overview (far right) contains a table and benches.

Megalong Valley scenic overview
Megalong Valley scenic overview
Larry the O with guide John at Megalong Valley scenic overview
Shelter at scenic overview, Megalong Valley

The Hydro Majestic Hotel

The Hydro Majestic Hotel, located in the town of Medlow Bath, perches at the edge of an excarpment overlooking the Megalong Valley. The building is a historic treasure, with distinctive architecture, and back "in the day" was a popular retreat for the wealthy aristocracy of Sydney. It is now part of the Hydro Majestic Hotel chain.

At left is a view from the rear of the hotel. At center, Peter Freedman photographed Larry (L) and me in front of the hotel. At far right, Larry and Peter (R) enjoy the view, taken from the same vantage point as the photo at far left.

View from the rear of the HydroMajestic Hotel
Steve O and Larry the O in front of the HydroMajestic Hotel
Larry the O and Peter Freeman behind the HydroMajestic Hotel

Katoomba and the Jamison Valley

The Jamison Valley stretches north to south from just outside of Katoomba to Cox's River and is approximately 12 km long. Like the rest of the Blue Mountains region - and much of the Sydney area, for that matter - it is mostly sandstone, with steep cliffs. A layer of shale is deeper in the soil, and as the softer shale eroded, it collapsed and brought the sandstone down with it, creating the Jamison Valley and other valleys of this region.

Katoomba Scenic Railway

Located at Scenic World, the world's steepest inclined railway descends 415 meters at a maximum grade of 52 degrees! Every 10 minutes it carries 84 passengers to an old coal mine and 2 km (about 1.24 miles) hiking boardwalk in the ancient Jamison Valley rainforest. We returned to the top via a cable car, the steepest in Australia.

Katoomba Scenic Railway

Jamison Valley Rainforest

Walking in this rainforest is like taking a trip back to the Jurassic Period - minus the dinosaurs, of course! Large ferns are everywhere. Most of the Jamison Valley is characterized by dense eucalyptus forest, with only a few pockets of rainforest.

Jamison Valley Rainforest
Jamison Valley Rainforest
Jamison Valley Rainforest


Sulpher Crested Cockatoo

The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Cacatua galerita, is a type of parrot that is common in woodland and forest areas along the eastern and northern coast of Australia. They are quite noisy, and in the wild are wary and difficult to approach. Nevertheless, they have adapted to urban areas and are said to make very good pets, with excellent talking ability. They live up to 80 years.

Sulpher-Crested Cockatoo

Boomerang Throwing

"After lunch, Toni took over the whole group again and drove us to a ballfield where we each took a shot at throwing a boomerang. Getting really good undoubtedly takes practice, but it actually turned out to be not so difficult getting the basic throw happening." - Larry the O mlog

Larry tried his luck first (L and C); then I gave it a go (R).

Larry the O throws a boomerang
Larry the O throws a boomerang
Steve O throws a boomerang

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