Katoomba Scenic World Part II: Talk about a Walkabout!

Echo Point...point...point...point..

Echo Point…point…point…point..

As Rachel and I disembarked from the Scenic World Skyway, we then headed off into the depths of the Australian bush.  After checking out a map of the surrounding areas, we started uphill on what we thought was the correct path down to The Three Sisters rock formation.  Instead, we began a slightly exhausting climb up a public street, and almost into a nearby residential area.  Once we realized that we were nowhere near the mountain path, we turned around, but not before having a good laugh!  Of course, deep down, I was a little bit tired from that uphill trot.  Little did I know that I would eventually learn the meaning of the word “tired”!

Decending into the Jamison Valley

Decending into the Jamison Valley

Once we located the proper footpath, our bush walk began!  The path was a combination of stone rectangles, carved steps, and a plain dirt path.  It felt pretty easy at first, because since we were going downhill, it wasn’t a rather arduous endeavor.  In any case, I was too distracted by gorgeous scenery.  To me, there is nothing more romantic than a walk through the Australian bush.  The idea of a bushwalk conjures up images of an adventurous, yet curious wanderer, surrounded by a chorus of Australian avian wildlife, the many friendly marsupials, the valley of trees left and right, and natural formations that hold a sacred spot in Aboriginal lore.  There’s also the image of the walkabout, a ritual made famous by the Aborigines when someone ventures off into the Australian wilderness, in an attempt to “find oneself” or to better understand nature.  Of course, we didn’t ride in the pouch of a red kangaroo (“hippity-hoppity, thumpity-thump, when you come with us you’ll know!”  “Hippity-hoppity, thumpity-thump, that’s the way it goes!”).  If you got that reference, than you are a giant, Australian, nerd!  But getting back to my bush walk with Rachel, I listened carefully for any sounds in the tree tops; a laugh from a kookaburra or a warble from a budgie.  Instead, I just heard the cool breeze waft through the branches.  Rachel even got a shot of me, just inches from the edge of a small cliff!  Don’t worry, I didn’t fall!

Jamison Valley

Jamison Valley

"Talkabout a Walkabout!"

“Talkabout a Walkabout!”

The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters

After a short climb uphill, Rachel and I finally came to a close up of The Three Sisters.  This is probably the most iconic, and most famous rock formation in the Blue Mountains.  They are, as the name would suggest, three vertical rock towers, all in a neat little row, towering above the Jamison Valley.  In Aboriginal lore, the commonly told legend of the Three Sisters is that three sisters (Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo) lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe.  They fell in love with three men from a neighboring tribe (the Nepean tribe), but marriage was forbidden by tribal law.  The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so 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, but he was killed in the fighting and no one else could turn them back.  This legend is claimed to be an Indigenous Australian Dreamtime legend.  To this day, people from all over Australia and the world come to this part of the Blue Mountains to pay a visit to the three stone ladies of the Blue Mountains.  Their heights names are Meehni (922 m), Wimlah (918 m), and Gunnedoo (906 m).

Meehni

Meehni

Wimlah

Wimlah

Gunnedoo

Gunnedoo

From nearby Echo Point, a bushwalking trail leads to the Three Sisters and down to the valley floor via more than 800 well-maintained steel and stone steps called “The Giant Stairway”.  This was the most difficult part of the bushwalk.  How difficult was this part of the trek?  Let’s just say I would rather climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, twice!  The steps at certain points were so steep; it was as if they were teetering around a 60 degree angle!  I was holding on to the steel railing for dear life!  I was doing everything I could to catch up to Rachel, hoping that I wasn’t going to be stranded in the middle of the bush.  Eventually, I caught up with her at the middle of the Meehni rock formation.  I got to walk under it, and even touch the rather smooth formation; it was a pretty awesome experience!

"Stairway to Heaven..."

“Stairway to Heaven…”

Just under the summit of Meehni of the Three Sisters

Just under the summit of Meehni of the Three Sisters

Then began the arduous climb back up!  Since each step was pretty high above the next, and was angled pretty steep, each step felt like I was getting the wind knocked out of me!  I know, I know, I gotta lose weight!  So shut up!  Anyway, I kept looking up, hoping I was getting closer and closer to the summit.  I couldn’t believe that The Amazing Race has never visited this part of Australia before; a climbing challenge along this steep path is just begging to be aired soon!  Finally, I was able to catch up to Rachel and we made back up to the beginning of the path.  Despite me having to catch up to my breath, I had seen the bush up close and personal, not to mention having met the three most beautiful ladies in Katoomba.  But now, I had to get back to my beautiful tour guide from Schofields.  It was time to hop aboard the steepest railway in the world…

Rachel: Bushwalker Extraordinaire!

Rachel: Bushwalker Extraordinaire!

 

 

About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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