After touring the Hunter Valley we turned south, away from the floods in Queensland, towards the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.Our first stop was the tourist hub of Katoomba to get some info and bearings, and to take in the view of the range from the Echo Point lookout.We had great weather and the panorama was pretty incredible; there was a definite blue hue to the forests too, from the eucalyptus oil in the air, which we were lucky to see really.We decided to stay up the road in a little place called Blackheath, and this time we opted for a cabin, mainly to keep Andrew happy.Blackheath was nothing special, but it did make a good base to tour the area from.
In the morning we went to a restored steam railway (geeks! - no wait, come on it's apparently one of the steepest railways in the world or something like that) on the side of a mountain, called the Zig Zag railway.Well, it was nice definitely, and we had fun. Andrew was especially excited to see the Thomas the Tank Engine special arrive on the platform when we got there, and there was a real-life Fat Controller and everything!The general ambience in the carriages was cool though, and it really transported you back in time; plus the view of locomotive going through the tunnel was totally spooky and unexpected, with ghostly flame-like patterns swirling around the tunnel roof and we passed through - watch the video.Anyway, after that we went back to Katoomba and did a short trek from Echo Point around the 'Three Sisters' rock formations, and into the valley of the Blue Mountains, before taking the crazy, near-vertical rail cart shooting back up to the top.This was all very nice and we went out for a commendable meal in a restaurant in Blackheath afterwards too.
The adventure into the Blue Mountains National Park began in earnest though the next day, when we left in the morning for Oberon and then heading south past tiny Shooter's Hill, before taking a turn east back into the centre of the national park, along the dusty mountain track to the tiny ex-silver mining town of Yerranderie.The mines had their time around the turn of the century but had long since closed, the town having fallen into disrepair until a private individual bought the whole place and started to restore it.There is a full-time care-taker living in one of the restored miner's houses, but otherwise the place is totally dead and in pretty much the same state as the day it was abandoned.We had a walk round and visited the mines and generally checked the place out, but this really only took about an hour, after which we took refuge in the tent from these big horrible biting horsefly things that were constantly landing on us.In the evening though all was tranquil.There were families of kangaroos bouncing around our camp site, and Andrew obviously managed to locate all of the Sydney Funnel Web Spiders in the immediate vicinity, one of which we got a good photo of.We also saw a big monitor lizard (not sure what they are called in Oz), who wandered straight past us before disguising himself very effectively as a tree root.We cooked a full meal on an open fire, which I was very proud of, and sank a few bottles of wine before crashing out for the night.In the morning, after Andrew announcing that he had not slept a wink because of 'things moving outside', we left for the New South Wales coast.