Blue Mountains Wonderland

I love good road trip and have really enjoyed visiting my own backed and state. A few sunny Sundays ago, I went to the Blue Mountains with some ladies I have only recently met virtually. We all belong to a community called @thetravelbootcamp . Janet from the group lives in Dubbo and reached out to see if I wanted to meet her up there, and of course I then reached out to a couple of other bootcamp buddies who live near me.

With alarms set for before sunrise, off we went and chatted the whole way up the freeway. Of course I love a chat, and got a little distracted & went the long way!

The three of us Sydney gals arrived before our meeting time, so went to see the Three Sisters at Katoomba, a World Heritage site. These rock formations in golden morning light are stunning as was the thick fog. Cameras at the ready we jagged a few happy snaps.

It doesn’t matter what time of day you visit the Three Sisters – its steeped in local indigenous history with a dreamtime story of how three sisters were turned into stone.

Off we headed to our meeting point with Janet, and actually saw her at a coffee shop so we stopped. There was a slight problem….. Janet’s car somehow locked itself with her keys inside! Road side assistance was called & just in case we couldn’t get the car opened, we drove into Katoomba and Janet bought some hiking boots. As I had a spare camera, nothing was going to spoil the day. While Janet bought shoes, we also found this cool street art just behind Katoomba Main Street.

Post breakfast, Janet’s car was unlocked we collected the gear, all jumped into my little Range Rover and drove out to find the pink flannel flowers we had read about in the newspaper, plus one of Janets friends who lives in the Blue Mountains gave her inside information of where to head. Before long we were on a one lane dirt road, that wound around the mountains.of course there was stopping as only I can do to get a quick shot of something! Look at this stunning rock face and the girls with their big gun lenses below.

The valley was covered in sunlight, and the devastation of the 2019 bush fires was evident. To see all the new foliage on trees and bushes as mother nature regenerates so many Australian natives after fires was just wonderful to see.

We arrived at Mt Hay Canyon and parked. Being in the Greater Blue Mountains National Park, a world Heritage area is a pretty amazing opportunity. Indigenous owned land, protected by National Parks and Wildlife, where you can see rock engravings and axe marks in rocks from over 15,000 years ago.

On arrival we discovered that this is an endangered hanging swamp with a canyon below, so it is a MUST to stay on the track. This is also home to some incredible ecology, of a sandstone plateau, that creates continuously wet areas that allows a peat moss to grow, and flora and fauna to blossom and live.

Gotta be honest, I’m more of a lifestyle photographer -I prefer taking photos of the people taking photos or hiking etc. but this incredible little adventure actually blew my mind! Not only is it home to endangered lizards, (we saw one and I aged 10 years), giant dragonflies which we didn’t see, plus It’s also home to Sydney crayfish (not yabbies) as they have spines along their claws that distinguished them. To see this swamp area living and breathing only 2 hours from Sydney was absolutely amazing.

The plateau is just fantastic, wet mossy areas and wildflowers blowing in the breeze as you wander along the track out to the edge of the plateau. The canyon tracks are below, and of course the green valleys and yellow sandstone cliffs, that the Blue Mountains are renowned for. It was very wet underfoot, we probably all should have had gumboots on, Janet definitely christened her new hiking shoes and before we knew it we were surrounded by a plateau of the prettiest pink flannel flowers all through the area!

Last seen blooming in the 1950’s, they only appear after intense smoke from bush fires and with just the right amount of water in the following summer….. As I mentioned the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper shared a story and I’m so grateful to have seen the story and travelled to see these flowers. Possibly only once in my life time.

They were everywhere. In the swampy water, under rocks and old gnarly wood and burnt stumps, it really was incredible to see.

The car park was quite full, when we arrived, however I think most people were there to go and do the canyon below. Not us little boot campers, we were all happy little pigs in swamp water taking photos and having a grand old time on sunny Sunday!

These sweet little flowers, look like tiny tulips before they open to reveal feather like white petals with cute little pom pom pistils in the centre. The back of the leaves are dark pink.

We climbed the summit for the view and I’m so glad we did. It was worth the steep little track to just sit and embrace the peace and quiet, to breath the cool mountain air and be in awe of what an incredible opportunity this day was. I’m so grateful for new friendships and knowledge from like minded buddies.

Janet, Morag and Nicole, I truly can’t wait until the next time we go on an adventure.

Big love Mrs W.

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