A Blue Mountain Road Trip Along The Summit
While the Sydney area is most definitely a water city, you can head inland and get another view of this continent. About 90 minutes north of Sydney you can enjoy a Blue Mountain road trip.
David’s sister and brother-in-law were our tour guides for our trip north to the Blue Mountains. It is always great to have a local perspective and gain a much better understanding of the history of an area when you travel. This certainly made the list of key tips we had for visiting Australia!
We made a brief stop at Leura and were delighted to find a small farmer’s market. We wandered about looking at local delicacies. Tempted by the smoked prawns, we added in fresh bread for a snack later. David went in search of local chocolate but this time left empty handed.
Exiting the expressway we began our Blue Mountain road trip. You might wonder how over 11,400 square km of “green space” can be called the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains are densely populate by oil bearing Eucalyptus trees. The fine droplets of oil, when combined with dust particles and water vapour create rays of light which are blue in colour (knows as the “Rayleigh scattering”). While the sky was blue while we visited, you could always see this light mist as you looked out in the distance.
Our first stop was a Point Sublime for our first view of the mountains, the craggy red-shaded rock and the verdant forest in the valley.
The red rock reminded us a little of our recent trip to the Grand Canyon and the red rock that dominates the sheer walls. We had to admit though that the Grand Canyon visit left us a little jaded for any mountains and valleys that came after it.
We wandered around the paths getting views from different directions. If we looked far down, we could see climbers heading down the slopes. David’s sister and brother-in-law do a lot of hiking and could point out many of the trails that they had taken down to the valley floor.
If you looked far off in the distance, you could see the “Three Sisters”, the next stop on our Blue Mountain road trip. One of the legends about the Three Sisters suggest they were named for three beautiful sisters (Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo) who were turned to stone for their protection. They had fallen in love with three warriors from a neighbouring nation who wanted to take the maidens by force. Once the danger had passed, the only man who could turn them back to their natural form had been killed in the war, leaving them forever in stone.
Stopping at the very busy Queen Elizabeth Lookout, we went for a closer view of the Three Sisters. Tourist throngs crowded the railings to catch the iconic view of the three rock pillars.
If you looked out in the other direction, you could see more of the red rock and tree covered Jamison Valley floor.
From this location it is a short drive to Scenic World. From there you can choose to descend into the valley either on a cable car or on a railway on a 52º incline. We had a lot on our plan for the day so we passed on Scenic World. But this might be something to add to your list!
Govett’s Leap was the next stopping point on our Blue Mountain road trip to get yet another view of the Blue Mountains. You could see the “Bridal Veil” waterfall dropping from the top to the valley floor. At this time of year after a very dry summer, the flow was low. It would be quite more majestic to see it after a rainy period.
Leaving The Blue Mountains
Ready for a lunch stop, we considered stopping in the small towns but decided we would find a more rustic spot. We wound our way down onto the valley floor through a series of switchback roads. Through the trees we could catch glimpses of the Blue Mountains above us.
We followed the road to the end and found the Megalong Tea Rooms nestled into the trees beside a field of cows. Taking a table under the trees, we ordered a lunch and enjoyed the quiet of the valley.
Heading back up after lunch we finished off our Blue Mountain road trip at the Mount York Point. We learned a lot about Australian history and the attempts to get over the Blue Mountains. The site was filled with various monuments to the explorers who had opened up this region by building the first road over the mountains.
If you head to the edge of the cliff very carefully, you can see the valley far below.
Taking the more scenic route back we slowly came down from the heights and returned to Sydney. It was a great Blue Mountain road trip. If you are visiting, you should plan a trip up to this region to see a very different part of Australia.
Did you do a Blue Mountain road trip? Did you see blue?