Sunday, 3 February 2013

There are 900 steps down – but you can take the cable car back up.

More serendipity*.

We arrived in Leura in a torrential downpour, so bad we were soaked as soon as we opened our car door.  Visibility was about the same as a severely foggy English day.  We’d had a bit of a job finding our accommodation because we couldn't see it. 
We’d woken up to glorious sunshine and had breakfast by the pool of our b&b.  We took the journey to Leura slowly, stopping off to look at the fantastic views.   We took a trail that promised a viewpoint in 1km.  The clouds were coming down, but it was still fantastic. 
There are many views like this in the Blue Mountains

We got a little lost on the way back, but managed to find the car just as we felt the first drop of rain.  Then the clouds descended, visibility disappeared and we were very glad we hadn’t been left out on the unguarded clifftops in the fog.
By the time we arrived in Leura, the rain was coming down like a power shower.  The temperature dropped and we had to dig out our few pieces of warm clothes.  But we found a great Italian restaurant (recommended by the checkout guy in Aldi) that was BYO (bring your own) and enjoyed our bottle of McLeish estate cabernet sauvignon.

The next day dawn grey and miserable as an English summer.  We went to a couple of chilly lookouts, but couldn’t see a lot.

The Blue Mountains under the clouds

The scenic route became a route.  No scenery at all, not even the mountains under clouds.  So, back to our accommodation for a rethink.  We found the Scenic World website, which offers various options of cable cars and stuff, plus a path down into the rainforest, which can be enjoyed whatever the weather.

So that’s what we did.

The walk down from the station at the top to the bottom - Scenic World, Leura
 The trail down took about an hour and involved 900 steps in various guises from log treads, steep stone steps to narrow metal stairwells.  Then there were the straight bits under overhangs, where you had to duck under the dripping water.  Plus several stops where you could take in the breathtaking scenery.

There were no clouds down here.  It was the most amazing walk I’ve ever been on.  And when we got to bottom, we met all those who’d come down on the cable, who went on the walkways down there and got the cable back up.  I don’t think they have any idea what they missed.  Even though the walkways were great.


So, we decided it would be fun to walk back up – another hour, another 900 steps.  Funnily enough, we hadn’t met a single person coming up as we were going down, but we met a few going down a we came up. 

And when we got up, we weren’t feeling a bit cold, the weather had cleared and we managed a few more look-outs, before heading to a lovely independent wine shop, where we bought a bottle of Opportunist Semillon blanc, which was delicious with our smoked salmon salad, plus a bottle of Tamburlaine Malbec, which was lovely drunk on its own in Sydney’s Hyde Park.

OK, the wine would have been bought anyway.  But the fabulous walk, with those gushing waterfalls, would not have happened without the inclement weather.

And it was clearer next morning, we got some more viewing in before we set off for Sydney, seeing what we’d missed under the clouds the previous day.

The three sisters - one of the iconic images of the Blue Mountains

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