Blue Mountains National Park is just a 90-minute drive out of Sydney, making it an ideal weekend excursion (thus why we went during the week). The National Park is a World Heritage site as of 2000, home to many birds, mammals, and amazing rock formations.
Where We Stayed
We were able to find a motel with a great rate, the Skyrider Motor Inn. It was quiet, comfortable, and affordable. The location was the only downside, it was slightly outside of the town, which meant we had to take our rental car to grab dinner every night. We picked this motel over others because it has working AC units and a pool. Of course, we brought rain with us, and didn’t use the pool. We used the AC in the evening to get our room comfortable to sleep in since it was a bit muggy.
How We Got There & Around
We took TigerAir from Melbourne to Sydney. TigerAir, like JetStar, has cheap and frequent flights all over Australia. Someone had mentioned to us that TigerAir has horrible customer service and a bad on time record. We didn’t find this to be the case for this flight. In fact, checking in was incredibly easy. The flight was a domestic flight, and we didn’t have to interact with any people. We did it on a kiosk, even checking in our own bags via a computerized conveyer belt. It was incredible. If only US travel can be this easy!
Once we arrived in Sydney, we picked up our car from Avis. We booked an economy car (the cheapest), and weren’t surprised to see we got a Fiat. I was excited. Two of our friends from home have one – Jason (an electric) and Rachael. There was a period of time when I was debating about getting one, so I thought that would be good for us. Little did we know, we received the junkiest Fiat in existence. It was a semi-automatic, with a terrible transmission (we read they can be a little finicky, but we suspect this high mileage one had been abused by many rental drivers). The shifting was a nightmare. The car itself was a base model, so didn’t have a whole lot of comfort.
The Blue Mountains area has lots of Hop on/Hop off buses we considered before renting the car, but, we ended up renting the car since we wanted flexibility with our sightseeing.
What We Did
We had big dreams of doing some long hikes while visiting the Blue Mountains National Park, however, once we saw the weather report on our drive there, we had to adjust those plans. Even when checking in, the Manager had said he was surprised we didn’t cancel as so many people had due to the bad weather. We were determined to make the best of it. We decided we didn’t want to do any long hiking in rain, you can say we have learned our lesson from Chile and New Zealand. The other issue was with the rain, came cloud cover which blocked us from seeing all the amazing sights. We decided instead to hit every viewpoint on the Blue Mountains Scenic Drive. Throughout the two days we were there, we would do the drive, and once the rain started, we would head back to the hotel to relax, read and blog. If the weather cleared up, we would head back in the car and continue where we left off. Some of the viewpoints had small hikes that we would do. Here are a few of the viewpoints we saw:
Eagle Hawk Lookout
Scenic World – We didn’t buy the tickets to use the train to the jungle or the sky tram. It was actually a lot cheaper than we anticipated. However, with the weather being unreliable we didn’t want to waste our money on a sight we might not be able to see. We did walk around and admire the views. We also saw a roller coaster there, that seems to be the topic of mystery to the locals and visitors.
Echo Park – it is here that offers the spectacular view of the famous Three Sisters rock formation. We ended up being here three times. The first time it started pouring. We waited in a nearby bar for some local wine, hoping to wait it out. The storm wasn’t letting up so we went back to the hotel. A few hours later the sky cleared up so we went back at sunset and took some fantastic photos. We didn’t have time to do the hikes, so we saved that for the next day. We walked to “Honeymoon Bridge”. It is here we could’ve done the Giant Stairway, we decided not to, since the weather was shaky and the idea of walking down and up steep, old, wet stairs didn’t seem fun. On the way to the bridge, we did see a Superb Lyrebird!
Sublime Point Lookout
Street Art Walk, Katoomba – the town of Katoomba had a street art display which we enjoyed!