PART II: Leura, NSW, AUS.
Well, when we told people from Sydney that we were planning on spending 3 nights and 4 days in the Blue Mountains they said “good luck”. Apparently, there was no need to spend that much time here because a lot of the hikes and a lot of the watering holes are very similar so essentially once you see one, you see them all.
Let me just tell you, it’s worth it to stay longer. Maybe the people we talked too weren’t as outdoorsy as we are or maybe they don’t have an appreciation for small mountain towns and unique shops like we do but it was so much fun.
What we were really hoping for was that there would have been a day that was cloudy, cool and kind of rainy but nope. It was around 30ºC (~85ºF) for both of the full days that we were there with full sun. Our first thought – shit. We are already burnt and really just wanted some relaxing, cloudy days. The thing about dating my partner – he always wants to be outside doing something. That’s not a bad thing but I generally like to have chill days and am much better at doing nothing than he is. To my surprise, he actually wanted to have a chill day where we didn’t leave our cabin (which by the way was so awesome – I’ll talk more about that later).
We got to Leura, about a two-hour train ride west of Sydney, in the evening and went straight to our cabin and dropped our stuff off and then went grocery shopping. Our first night was quiet. We cooked a good meal and read and blogged. We came to the conclusion that we were going to hang in most of our first day and let our skin heal and let our legs rest.
We woke up, made breakfast and chilled. Ahh. So nice. Then it got to be about noon and Robbie (my partner) finished his book and started meandering around the cabin. I noticed he was getting a little restless…here we go. Now, we’ve been together going on a year and a half – I know what he can and cannot do and he CANNOT stay inside for a full day when it’s sunny as all get out outside. I knew this the night before so I was ready for this moment. We chatted for a bit and decided to hop into the quaint downtown area of Leura. It was very sweet. Local shops, cafes, antique stores and restaurants.
We eventually hopped on the train and headed to the next town of Katoomba! (It’s fun to say out loud). We knew this was the bigger town of the two and there were more restaurants and shops for us and some short hikes that we were interested in. Surprisingly, we liked Leura better than Katoomba. Kat (Kat = Katoomba because it’s more fun to say out loud than it is to type over and over again) was a little older and it was more touristy so slightly busier than we were hoping on a Monday afternoon. We continued down the main strip of Kat and went on down to the edge of Blue Mountain National Park chatting the whole way about random topics. Eventually, we got to a point where we could to a 10-20 minute roundtrip hike to see some pretty views and the Kat Cascades.
They were cute and it was fun to see. We followed the path to the lookout area and when I tell you this view was breathtaking, I literally mean we both gasped when we saw it.
There was so much vast beauty of the Blue Mountains – which oddly resembled the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to me with the exception of some minor differences. To make the view slightly more interesting, there was a huge cable car that traversed over the valley from one point to another.
As we took pictures and enjoyed the view, we saw that there was another lookout point that we could walk to and that’s exactly what we did. Walking up and down stairs covered by luscious green bush and trees and ferns, we made it to one of the stopping points for the cable car. This was part of Scenic World, a fun outdoor theme park of sorts. No roller coasters but cable cars and the option to hike with a guide and abseil (basically repel) the side of cliffs! We didn’t partake in the ultimate action because walking was giving us enough adventure for the day.
When we got to Scenic World, we realized we were on a trail that scaled the side of a cliff and that this trail continued on for kilometers and kilometers. (I’m trying to use the metric system so I learn it faster since the rest of the world uses it except for America and two other countries…silly). We kept walking to our next destination which brought us to the Three Sisters! A natural monument made up in the Blue Mountains. It was super cool to see but we left relatively quickly because it was a big tourist attraction and it was pretty busy.
We looked at a map and realized we were about halfway back to Leura at this point so we decided to just walk back to town on the cliffside trail. There was no boring part about it. We were walking up and down hills with hundreds of steps, through trees, through water, and through fern forests. We walked through the greenest green you’ve ever seen. (I’m a poet 😉 )
Pretty much every town in the Blue Mountains has waterfalls or cascades associated with them. We got to Leura falls and it was so stunning. The water wasn’t rapid, it was more of a calm stream with the perfect rain sounds coming off. We continued into the town and eventually made it back home from the day. Mind you, this was 5 HOURS LATER. So, our lazy, relaxing day turned into much more than that. Thanks, Robbie. But really, thanks, Robbie. It was so amazing and I wouldn’t have seen what I saw if it weren’t for his adventurous self.
Worn out and tired, we cooked dinner and actually relaxed. It was a good night. We talked before bed and decided that we actually wanted to have a lazy day the next day. Thinking to myself that that was BS. It was. Not only did we not have a lazy day, but we also invited a friend we knew from Sydney to come for the day to adventure with us. We got to an agreement that instead of doing a 5-hour hike we would do a shorter and less intense hike. I have no idea how but Robbie found a hike that was so far off the beaten path that there were no directions for it. There were barely any signs and every article we read (which there were about 4) said “good luck finding it – it’s a local spot and we want to keep it that way”). They dangled just enough information in each article for us to piece together what we were supposed to do. Sounds adventurous right? Yeah, that’s what I was thinking too. Too adventurous but I’m not one to say no.
The picture above shows a lot of the trees around this area. Their bark peels in such a cool way it’s like a snake shedding its skin. They were everywhere and I couldn’t help to think that it would be easy to weave this bark into something cool. I’m not gifted enough to take that on but it’s a good idea.
Let me go ahead and tell you about this hike…
We had to get off the train at some very random station where no one was. We walked down a small back road and into a small residential area. Robbie told us to look for a grave. “???” Yes, an actual grave. That grave signified someone who was exploring the area called Caley’s Repulse. Either way, that’s where we had to turn. We found it and the sign pointed in between two homes that were separated by high grass and the tiniest trail you’ve ever seen. We followed the trail and found the one other sign there that directed us to our destination and to my surprise we found we wanted to end up!
We made it to a super discrete watering hole with a 5-8 meter high waterfall that you could jump off. There was also a fun rope swing attached to a tree that you could swing off of. It was a little sketchy though. The water was pretty brown and the dark, deep spots looked super ominous and spooky. There were so many tadpoles swimming around and small insects like you would expect in a swampy atmosphere – yuck. For some reason, I was the one who had to do everything first. I hesitantly swung on the rope swing and it was so much fun haha. I honestly forgot how awesome rope swings were. Then I VERY hesitantly jumped off the waterfall, which no one else did! It was fun and exhilarating. I watched the video of me jumped and I flailed like a little girl haha. This place looked like snakes would be there but we hadn’t seen any type of dangerous looking animal (with the exception of spiders) this whole trip. Thank god. Then Robbie yelled, “what’s that!?”. We looked in the water and it looked like a little turtle head sticking out of the water. Aww.
Nope, it was a snake! AHHHH. I freaked. I knew this place had dangerous snakes and I knew they could swim. It was only a matter of time before we saw one and it just so happens we were sharing a watering hole with them. Son of a bitch. We left pretty quickly after that and started our trek back up the valley wall. It was gorgeous and again, so green!
Although there was a snake, it really was such a fun day. We explored a spot that I assume not even many locals know about and we got to do it all alone. It was an awesome adventure day which was capped off by a nice sunset.
We ate dinner and went back to our cabin to relax for the rest of the night. A nice calm evening after yet another adventurous day.
Let me quickly tell you about this cabin. It was so cool. It was solely made out of straw and clay. I’m sure there’s a name for this type of structure but I can think of it right now. There were two separate floors. The bottom floor was where the living room and kitchen were and the top level was where the bathroom and bedroom were. There was a bonus loft with a bed and reading nook as well which was a fun addition to the whole place. It was very comfy and extremely well decorated with a nice balance of rustic, natural decor and modern amenities.
(insert french door picture here)
We finished our trip to the Blue Mountains and of course, the day we leave is the day where it was cloudy, rainy and an all-around perfect lazy day. Eyeroll.
Can you believe I started this blog with the fact that we were going to have lazy days!? HA. Jokes on me I guess but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Thanks for reading.
I’ll be in touch!