Blue Mountains

WP Blue mountains 01

We had a day’s outing to the Blue Mountains north of Sydney, at the beginning of our trip. The name refers
to the blue haze from oils exuded by eucalyptus trees. It might also refer to the colour of the blue gum trees.
The mountains were a barrier for the English settlers. Many explorers got lost in the valleys and died.
Only after an explorer took the advice of local Aborigines to follow a ridge line could the interior be settled.

WP Blue mountains 02

We had a very good guide, Jim from Boutique Tours Australia, who
drove us around, gave a lot of history and explaned what we saw.

WP Blue mountains 03

A first stop at a lookout point, 200 steps and 20 minutes. It was rainy in Sydney but the skies cleared during the day.

WP Blue mountains 04

The lookout point had a great view, and a wet bench.

WP Blue mountains 05

The view was spectacular.

WP Blue mountains 06

The lookout point had very good information stands. The group drinks morning coffee brought by Jim.

WP Blue mountains 07

Govett’s Leap Lookout. The cliff walls were insurmountable by the early explorers. It is easy to imagine getting lost.

WP Blue mountains 07b

Govett’s Leap Lookout.

WP Blue mountains 08

A signature tree. The signatures are made by insects eating under the bark.

WP Blue mountains 09

One of many bottle brush trees. This variety looked like corn cobs.

WP Blue mountains 10

There are 739 different species of eucalyptus, these naturally shred their bark.

WP Blue mountains 11

The Three Sisters Lookout, a popular place that includes a centre with shops and information about Aborigines.

WP Blue mountains 12

The Three Sisters, left centre, were not visible when we came because of low hanging clouds.

WP Blue mountains 13

After lunch when the clouds lifted, Jim was kind enough to bring us back for a second try.

WP Blue mountains 14

The Three Sisters were very impressive. There are people getting a closer look on the left.

WP Blue mountains 15

Waradah Cultural Centre is close to the Three Sisters.

WP Blue mountains 16

Aboriginal art for sale.

WP Blue mountains 17

And a large variety of didgeridoos in the shop.

WP Blue mountains 18

Thomas Dahlgren trying to blow a didgeridoo. It is very difficult.

WP Blue mountains 19

A short performance explained a few aspects about Aboriginal culture, here
how some sounds from a didgeridoo are associated with different animals.

WP Blue mountains 20

These three artists performed traditional Aboriginal dances and explained the meaning of different steps.

WP Blue mountains 45

At the Blue Mountain Conservation centre where we had lunch.

WP Blue mountains 21

Our final stop for the day was at Featherdale Wildlife Park which is a animal refuge and not at all a zoo.

WP Blue mountains 22

A special feature of this privately owned park is that many animals run around free – and they are used to humans.

WP Blue mountains 23

You could get very close to some of the animals, like this wallaby.

WP Blue mountains 24

The park had many koala bears, especially juveniles. All the koalas had names. Here are, from left,
Montgomery, Paddington and Blossom – but the order may be wrong since they all look alike.

WP Blue mountains 25

You could have your photo taken with a koala.

WP Blue mountains 26

Some of the animals were not quite as cuddly as the koalas or wallabys, like these heath goannas.

WP Blue mountains 27

The crocodile was not very cuddly either.

WP Blue mountains 28

A guide at the park explained that Tasmanian devils are not very cuddly either. Do not give them
a finger – they hang on until they break the bones. The Tasmanian devil’s large head and neck allow
it to generate among the strongest bites per unit body mass of any existing mammal land predator.

WP Blue mountains 29

Tasmanian devil females average four breeding seasons in their life
and give birth to 20 – 30 live young after three weeks’ gestation.

WP Blue mountains 30

The park includes a reptile pavilion.

WP Blue mountains 31

The echidna, an anteater, has spines like a porcupine, a beak like a bird, a pouch like a kangaroo, and lays eggs like a reptile.

WP Blue mountains 32

A wombat, which amazingly enough is awake. Those we saw mainly slept.

WP Blue mountains 35

There are many birds at the park, and there are good information signs.

WP Blue mountains 33

A golden pheasant, Chrysolophus pictus.

 WP Blue mountains 34

Blue billed duck, Oxyura australis

WP Blue mountains 36

Masked owl, Tyto novaehollandiae

WP Blue mountains 37

A long tailed grass finch, Poephilia acuticauda.

WP Blue mountains 38

Tawny frog mouth (owl), Podargus strigoides.

WP Blue mountains 39

The exit from the park through the gift shop.

WP Blue mountains 40

Heading back to Sidney. We saw traffic into Sydney stopped for miles when we
headed out in the morning. It seems Sydney is suffering from traffic constipation.

WP Blue mountains 41

Jim dropped us off by a ferry, which was a lot faster than by road. It gave us
an opportunity to see more of the city’s waterfront and more affluent housing.

WP Blue mountains 42

WP Blue mountains 43

The 45 minute ferry ride took us to the city center and offered a nice skyline view of the city.

WP Blue mountains 44

The ferry took us under the Sydney Bridge to Circular Quay.

%d bloggers like this: