I caught a quick two hour train from Sydney to Katoomba and could not wait to see some mountains! After being in Australia for over 10 months I was craving some big beautiful mountains and long hard hikes to conquer. I got off the train and looked around and… nada… the skyline was as bare as the prairies and I was becoming highly suspicious. Little did I know Katoomba is on top of the mountain, hence, zero view of any peaks. I made my way to my hostel, dropped my bag and jogged over to Echo Point. Still seeing nothing towering over me in the distance I started to question what Australians really think mountains are. When I turned the corner and finally saw them I was completely blown away. It was one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. Okay, the Blue ‘Mountains’ are not mountains. But they are special. There was a perfect view of the Three Sisters, a rock formation with about 15 different legendary stories. I will tell the one I was told the most, therefore is the real one in my eyes.
There were three sisters, Meehni’, 'Wimlah' and Gunnedoo’ who lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe. They fell in love with three men from a neighbouring tribe (the Nepean tribe) however marriage was forbidden by tribal law. The brothers were not keen to accept this law and decided to use force to capture the three sisters. A major tribal battle ensued, and the sisters were turned to stone by an elder to protect them, unfortunately that elder was killed in battle and nobody else was able to bring them back.
I feel like he should have had some ‘reverse’ spell foot notes under a pillow or something… Anyways he didn’t and now they are still hanging out and are forever photographed by millions of tourists per year (over 1.9 million tourists to be more specific).
I was staying at the Flying Fox Backpackers and out of all the hostels I have ever stayed at in any of my travels this has to be my favourite. Like usual, it was clean and cute and had great facilities, but this hostels amazingness (good grammar Gab) didn't come from the amenities. It came from the people, the owner and the 'rule' (it sounds weird, let me explain). There was no T.V. and the owner had a strict rule of no electronics from 6-9 pm making people actually sit and converse... IMAGINE THAT... One night a writer was staying at the hostel, an actual writer, not just a girl with a laptop who thinks she's funny, and we all sat around and helped him with ideas for his next book. Another night we played board games and cooked dinner together. It was a beautiful place with beautiful people and real connections.
The first night, after coming in from the first of many Katoomba storms, I met up with Sally the New Zealander I met in Sydney and two guys she knew, Max from Germany and Ashwin from U.S.A. We got beers and pizza and had a fabulous night in front of the blazing fire with good music and even better company.
The next day Sally and I wanted to head over to Wentworth Falls which is one of the best renowned hikes in Katoomba. It was in Leura which was the next town over so we made out way to the train when we found it wasn't coming for another hour. We figured it would only take about an hour to walk there so we headed out. Cut to 2.5 hours later and we were hungry, thirsty, tired and still walking on pavement. We thought about hitch hiking but the only hitch hiking experience I have ever had turned me off a tad when the lady who picked me up yelled at me the entire time because and i quote "YOU KNOW IF I DIDN'T GRAB YOU A MAN WOULD AND THEN HE WOULD RAPE YOU..... RAPE..... YOU." I thought since I was about five years older now and with another woman and had hitch hiked in Kenya alone without dying I would be okay in Australia. We put out our thumbs and the first car who drove by stopped and drove us all the way. It was a 20 minute car ride past where we were down the highway and behind some random tennis courts which we would have had zero luck in finding ourselves.
The hike was absolutely breath taking! We were the only ones on the whole track. One thing that is unique about the Blue Mountains is that you start ever hike going down which is nice until you want to be finished and you have to drag your tired ass back up the mountain.
Once we got back up to the main road we started to walk about an hour in the wrong direction before realizing our mistake. I ran over to three guys in a trunk and asked if we could jump in the boot to get a ride to town. Instead of making us jump in the back two of the guys hopped out and waited on the curb while the driver took us on a tour of Leura and to the main town. We grabbed a half watermelon each and stuffed our faces on the side of the road before walking back for a group dinner at the hostel. Perfect way to end a perfect day.