Blue Mountains

Old Apr 4th, 2004, 01:45 AM
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Blue Mountains

Should we devote any time to the Blue Mountains at the expense of our 8 days in the Sydney area?
We are a young at heart retired couple. We have travelled extensively in the American continent and Western Europe. Now 1st time to Australia for 7 weeks. We like to see and hike in unique sceneries as well as stay in a city and get the feel of it. Our days allocation: 12 - Reef and North East, 10 - Adelaide through Melbourne, 8 - Tasmania, 4 each - Alice Springs and Darwin.
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Old Apr 4th, 2004, 03:29 AM
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Hi Saba,
With 8 days in Sydney it would be a real shame for you not to take at least 1 day out for the Blue Mountains, especially as you like to "hike in Unique sceneries". They don't come much more unique than the BM.
I think you should consider 2 days really as it a glorious place that needs time to really see it.
I am confident Alan will be along later to give some great information.
Sydney can probably be covered in 6 days depending of course what you like to see.
One consideration that Alan will no doubt mention is the weather. He told me it gets quite misty up there sometimes and the beautiful views especially from places like echo point can be restricted at these times.

Have fun and do try to get there its truly a fabulous place.

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Old Apr 4th, 2004, 07:03 AM
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Hi, Saba (and g'day, Mucky!)

Eight days is probably the right amount of time to see New York or Paris or Rome, but three or four days will have you pretty familiar with Sydney, which is relatively small and compact (the suburbs are vast, but there's nothing you'd want to see out there -- most of the tourist attractions in Sydney are compressed into a couuple of square miles). I would second Mucky's advice that you really must spend some time in the Mountains -- rather than a day trip, I'd opt for a two-day-one-night trip. What's more I'd do the same for Canberra. Both areas are, in my opinion, essential stops for anyone wanting to really get to know the east coast of Australia.

I think, also, that you are allowing an excessive amount of time to see the Melbourne-Adelaide stretch of coastline. Both those cities are probably worth two days of your time, and the connecting road a couple of days more. If you like "unique" scenery you may be wise to drive from Melbourne to Sydney (having covered the Great Ocean Road to get a feel of the coastline) but do it by the INLAND route so that you can sample Canberra on the way to Sydney. I love Sydney, but it is, nowadays, very tourist-oriented, and although that is, in itself, not a bad thing, it does take away some of the "down under charm" that it had, say, thirty years ago. For this you have to travel where few tourists have ever set foot, and that is the inland country towns -- not the "big star" areas like Alice Springs and Uluru, but the "regular" towns where the economy hangs on the surrounding farms and everybody knows everybody else's name and family history. Some of the country pubs you's stay in (and no booking is required, just pick the one that appeals when you get there) are worth the trip out here on their own. Many of these towns sprang up as a result of the gold rush in mid-nineteenth century, and the hotels date back to that era (so does the plumbing in some of them, but maybe you will think that's part of the adventure). With seven weeks you have an opportunity for experiences that the average two-weeker would envy; don't fail to take advantage of it.

Mucky's warning about the mist in the Mountains is well-founded, but this largely depends on the time of year you're going up there. Enshrouded in mist, the Blue Mountains has a special charm that some people, myself included, find quite magical, but it would be a shame if you went up there mainly to take scenic panorama photos and had to content yourself with postcards! If you're coming in our winter (June- August) you should NOT pre-book a coach tour (they won't care if you booked on a bad day or not), but instead ensure that you do the trip independently so that you can be spontaneous, depending on the weather on the morning of the trip.

Lastly, whatever time of year you are coming, can I extol the virtues of the Spit Bridge to Manly walk (about four hours) for one of your days in Sydney? This is the best walk in Sydney... I take it every year, and never fail to wonder at how lucky I am to live close enough to take a walk like this whenever I feel like it. Few people know about it, but I am sure the ones on this forum who HAVE taken it will support me in saying that it is a "must" if you have ample time (as you have) to explore Sydney. If you need more details, write back (or do a search above, as there's quite a bit of information on this forum already).

Have a great time in Oz!

Alan is offline  
Old Apr 4th, 2004, 05:40 PM
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I'll second (yet again) Alan's suggestion of a visit to both the Blue Mts and Canberra. If you decide to drive from Sydney to Melbourne via Canberra, though, and you have time, I'd recommend getting off the Hume Hwy after Canberra - it's the quickest route but is really dead boring. From Canberra you can go east to the New South Wales south coast via the towns of Bungendore (don't miss what is arguably the best woodwork gallery in Australia) and historic Braidwood, then follow the coast road (Princes Hwy) to Melbourne. Or you can head south via the Monaro Hwy to Cooma. From there you can continue south to Orbost (Victoria), or cut across to the coast via Bega. Either route would allow you to experience a variety of landscapes and small country towns. You'd need to allow 2-3 nights (including Canberra) en route, but I agree with Alan - you can safely chop a couple of days from your Sydney stay and several more from the Melbourne-Adelaide leg.

If you haven't had to drive on the left side of the road before it may take you a couple of days to start feeling comfortable, and it has to be said that a big city like Sydney is probably not the ideal place to learn -but what's life without a challenge or two?

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Old Apr 4th, 2004, 06:16 PM
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Oh - yes - definitely. The Blue Mts are wonderful. And if you are really lucky it will be misty; but it will clear just as you stop for your first walk along the cliff edge. "Like shangri-la" an English friend who I took up there, said. And do stay overnight, cos there's loads to do if you like walking and the next day could dawn to beautiful sunshine (it did for us!!).
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