Blue Mountains National Park
On the way to the south in direction to Sydney, we make a stop at both cities Noosa and Brisbane; And before we dive into the metropolis Sydney, we breathe again some really good country air in the national parks of the Blue Mountains.
The Holiday Resort Noosa
Noosa is a very popular holiday resort for the Australians and Europeans at the east coast of Australia. Here, one can't miss the classy and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Noosa is located at very extended and fine-sanded sand beaches and offers a paradise specially to surfers. Here, one can also see a lot of kite surfers at the Mainbeach of Noosa.
Noosa belongs to the most scene-like and attractive resorts of Queensland, that is also very popular among the homosexuals, beside Sydney and Byron Bay. Fortunately, Noosa was spared from big concrete blocks, so that it is an idyllic small holiday resort with a Mediterranean flair. A very good place for relaxing and do some water sports.
The picture shows how inviting the beach of Noosa is. A nice and wide sand beach that goes very flatly into the sea so that it is simply a joy to sunbath.
The University City Brisbane
For me, Brisbane is actually the only place in Australia that I did not like at all, but I think this is a matter of taste or maybe it is the rain's fault that non-stop accompanied me during two days. Anyhow, I would not waste too much time in this city.
Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and a metropolis with an easy flair. Those who think this is an arrogant and hectic city are completely wrong. The city is mainly located at the Brisbane River that flows westwards into the Pacific. Moreover, Brisbane is the third biggest city of Australia. Here, one finds a colourful mix of cultural elements as concert halls, cinemas, theatres, coffee bars, gallerys, museums and locations with live music. Brisbane offers a view of numerous subtropical gardens as also panorama views from river boats. Here, there is something for everyone, and the best is to get informed on the sppot in the so-called visitor-centers.
The spotlight of Brisbane is the Queen St. Mall, the pedestrian area, that extends up to the Victoria Bridge, from which one gets to South Brisbane. For those who have between 2 and 4 days time in Brisbane, I recomend the following sightseeings.
In order to get used to the easy flair of the inhabitants, one should first get into the life in the pedestrian area, the Queen St. Mall. Those who are interested in the history of the city should go to the Brisbane City Hall or contemplate the contemporary art in the QUT Art Museum.
The only thing I liked of the city was the botanical garden that is very suitable for relaxing after a shopping tour. Brisbane is specially known for its excellent universities and language schools, which attract many europeans to make some language holidays there.
Blue Mountains - National parks close to the Metropolis Sydney
Those who want to escape from the summer heat should do a side trip to the Blue Mountains. The foothills of the Blue Mountains already begin at 65 km upcountry of the metropolis Sydney and offer an enchating view to he overwhelming landscapes marked by eucalyptus forests, canyons, excellent bush hiking paths and much more. A big part of the Blue Mountains is heavily fissured and up to date, it is only accessible on foot. The mountains of the Blue Mountains achieve a height up to 1100m. And z´between the metropolis Sydney and the Blue Mountain there are significant differences of climate.
For some of us rather unimaginable, but it is the reality: it can be really possible that tourists in Sydney suffer of the summer heat and sweat and the visitors in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains are cold. During the months from June to August, snowfalls in the area are not unusual, so that in this time, the inhabitants of the Blue Mountains celebrate christmas with all the typical decoration and banquet.
In the region of the Blue Mountains there are a lot of national parks, among other things the Blue Mountains National Park that offers an enchanting landscape with excellent bush hiking paths, petroglyphs of the aborigines and also an abundance of canyons and cliffs. This national Park is very suitable and popular specially for adrenalin-junkies.
Those who want to see the biggest jungle area of New South Wales, will be right in the Wollemi National Park that begins at the north of the Bells Line of Road. This park extends up to Demnan in the Hunter Valley. But the area is only very restrictively accessible and isolated.
Travelers that, beside a bush hiking, are also interested in stalactite caves, are perfectly right in the south-west of the Blue Mountains in the Kanangra Boyd National Park. It is either suitable for bush hiking as also for visiting the famous Jenolan Caves. From here, one gets over the crushed stone road to the breathtaking sandstone cliffs of the Kanangra Walls Plateau.
One best gets the complete information about the parks at the Antional&Wildlife Service Visitor Centre, that is located at approximately 10 km northwards of Katoomba. According to my opinion, the Blue Mountains do not become to be a real adventure until they are explored on foot and one chooses one of the many bush hiking tours offered that take one up to several days. Jamison Valley, that is located at the south of Katoomab and Grose Valley at the east of Blackheath as also the beautiful area of Glenbrook belong to the most popular hiking areas.
But it should be considered that it is a wild and unclear area in which one can quickly get lost. This is why one should previously get throroughly informed about the route and tell somebody what one plans to do. As the amazingly fast changes of the weather should not be underestimated and they can rapidly turn to be a life-threathening danger. Moreover, one should take enough potable water to the tour, as there are in dit many water flows in the areas, but most of the times,the water is very dirty and not suitable for drinking.
The biggest landscape- and view-attraction is the Echo Point in the proximity of Katoomba. Here, one has the best view to the Jamison Valley and to the famous and impressive rock formations of the Three Sisters. Those who want to experience the view from a height free of giddiness can go to the Echo Point at Scenic World. Here, there is the possibility to enjoy the view from two funiculars (skyway and flyway) or from a railway with a very strong downward slope.
Those who want to do a guided bush hiking tour through one of the national parks of the Blue Mountains should urgently check if there is a hint of a special fitness-requirement, as this is very important; We made a day tour that required some special fitness and I can only say that it was also really necesary, as the pace of the tour guides is not necessarily slow.
And the very steep paths downwards to the valley is also only suitable for fit hikers, the paths are slippery and unclear. One specially needs ankle boots, as here are also a lot of poisoned snakes that are not immediately recognizable due to their camouflage colours. The tour was, as many other things in Australia, a wonderful natural experience another must if one is in Down Under.
Our tour led through the valley. The tour started form the very top down to the bottom of the valley, through a 5 km long hiking track and then again through some steep staris upwards; after this, one knows in the evening the reason why one is so tired.
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Author: Simone Palm; Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz