sydney-blue mountains

Mar 21st, 2010, 03:49 PM
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sydney-blue mountains

My husband and I arrive in Sydney next week at 7:15 AM from the USA (our first trip to Australia). Instead of immediately going at a break neck speed seeing all Sydney has to offer, we are thinking about taking the train to the Blue Mountains and relaxing for 2 nights/days and then tackling Sydney for 3/days/nights. The Blue Mountain area is listed as one of the 1000 places to see before you die and the fall colors should be perfect this time of year. My question is whether we should only do a day trip (taking the train) to the Blue Mountains and spending all 5 nights in Sydney. Any thoughts on this will be much appreciated.
Roadster is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 09:57 PM
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You may be disappointed if you are going to the Blue Mountains for autumn colour. Not only are the majority of the trees Australian Eucalypts, it's probably a couple of weeks too early for those trees that do turn [ie the exotic ones] - but I'm happy to be corrected! That said, it would be a nice restful start. With that in mind, I would stay two nights and then approach Sydney in a revived state.
Suelynne is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 01:21 AM
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Who writes these guides I wonder? I like the Blue Mountains a lot but it wouldn't be in my top 1000 places to see before you die.

It's hard to know how to advise you without knowing your interests. If you are really keen walkers, then the Blue Mountains is very good for bushwalking and 2 days out of your 5 might be in order. On the other hand, if you are also going to Tasmania, then I would suggest spending all 5 days in Sydney.
Susan7 is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 06:12 AM
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We are not going to Tasmania and we do like to walk. I know I will love Sydney, but I am more into nature than big city. That's why I thought 3 nights would be enough and we could relax in the Blue Mountains before. We are spending 5 days in the Sydney area, 4 days in the Cairns area (Daintree, Cape Tribulation, Reef), 2 days Uluru, and 4 days in the Melbourne area, taking 2 days to drive the Great Ocean Road. Then back to USA. Any more advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
Roadster is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 02:07 PM
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Hi Roadster,

Although there won’t be ‘autumn colours’ as most of the bush vegetation is eucalypt, you will love the Blue Mountains – think it’s a great idea to recoup there after your long flight, and then hit the sights of the big city. Your itinerary looks great!

There was a recent thread here which might help you with a few links to info on the Blue Mountains:

My suggestion, as you’re staying two nights, would be to consider renting a self-contained cottage and a car, so that you can make the most of the magnificent scenery, bush walks and lookouts at your own pace.

You can check s-c accommodation at a site I use often:

Happy planning
FurryTiles is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 03:41 PM
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I think a few days in & around the Blue Mountains would be a great way to start your Australian trip. There's such a variety of things to do & see - or not, as the whim strikes. The air up there is so fresh & pure, I couldn't imagine a better tonic for jetlag. Some very good restaurants, too.

A car will allow you greater flexibility & access to the various places of interest. And, it's an easy and pleasant drive from Sydney. You could either take the F4 (Great Western Highway) or Bells Line of Road. Or one up, the other coming back. If you take the Bells Line of Road, Mount Victoria and the Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens are well worth a visit.

For a good cheap car rental firm, you might try Bayswater Car Rentals. They're in William Street (Kings Cross), with easy access to either of the roads to the Blue Mountains, and you avoid the airport fees.

A side trip to Jenolan Caves might appeal to you.

Remembering that next week leads into Easter, you might consider booking some accommodation shortly - or be a bit flexible in your choices if you wing it. It's an area which is extremely well catered for in terms of accommodation options & you should find something to suit you without too much trouble.

If you like walking, this might be of interest
Bokhara2 is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 10:34 PM
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I don't think I would recommend the drive up to Katomba [or wherever] if jetlagged. The train-ride is lovely and very relaxing if you take an Intercity - they go from Central Sataion to Lithgow, on the other side of the Mountains. Can you hire a car in Katoomba? I don't see any point having a car in Sydney. And if you enjoy walking you don't really need a car in the Mountains either.
Suelynne is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 05:43 AM
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Thanks for all of the input. Since we will be jetlagged, we have decided to take the train to Katoomba and stay 2 nights. It looks like there are lots of places to hike that don't require a car. It will also leave us time to just relax. Found a great spot overlooking the Jamison Valley and the 3 Sisters. Plan on eating the second night at Darley's because they are not open on Monday. Any suggestions for our first night dinner?
Roadster is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 08:54 PM
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If you are into wildlife, include the Atherton Tablelands in your north Queensland itinerary.
AlanJG is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 02:51 AM
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Sorry, I can't help you with restaurants, but I'll try and remember to ask a friend - a local - tomorrow!
Suelynne is offline  
Mar 26th, 2010, 09:11 AM
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My Sydneysider and Brissy friends and I ate lunch at a local pub in Mt Victoria. I don't know how far that is from where you are going to be staying in Katoomba (since I'm not from OZ). This pub was right on the main road through the town, and is (was) also a hotel. Quaint! Unique! Plus, the pumpkin soup was excellent that day.

Go visit Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mts, if you can. The caves are really beautiful! Our group did the River Cave (a strenuous trek) and the Oriental Cave (less strenuous). Both were awesome. We stayed at the Caves House hotel, which dates back to the 1920s (and still retains much of its furniture and decor from that time ..which is also quaint). Creaky floors, antique furniture, but a pleasantly modern bathroom!

simpsonc510 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2010, 12:02 AM
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Mt Victoria is about 25 minutes from Katoomba by road, and is on the trainline, but while I've stayed there many times I'm not sure it's worth visiting for the pumpkin soup. It is an historic old town, much smaller than Katoomba, but not a scenic place. If you like walking and want to see some different but spectacular scenery you could catch the train to Blackheath [between Katoomba and Mt Vic] and walk to Govett's Leap, overlooking the Grose Valley. Blackheath itself has some great cafes, art galleries, bookshops and an antique barn.
Jenolan Caves is/are [ie the caves are great] but quite a long way. I guess you would have to go by coach, and it would probably take the whole day.

Sorry, I didn't ask about Monday night restaurants in Katoomba. We've usually had a Chinese meal in the main street.
Suelynne is offline  
Mar 27th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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I'm not from Australia, so I guess I don't really know how far one place is from another without consulting a map, which I did not do before naming the places I just visited a couple of weeks ago. Sorry if they are quite far away...
simpsonc510 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2010, 05:13 PM
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You can buy a 3 day Blue Mountains ExplorerLink ticket (A$71) which includes return rail travel to the Blue Mountains, anywhere between Wentworth Falls and Zig Zag stations over three days, and unlimited access on the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus over three days.

With this, you could perhaps visit the historic Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath.

Trains leave Central Station at 7.21, 8.24, 9.09, 10.09 and 11.09 on weekdays. It takes about 2 hours to get to Katoomba.

Trains only stop at ZigZag Station on request.

A favourite Blue Mountains walk is from Echo Point, near the Three Sisters. Go to the left to the Giant Stairway, down to the Valley floor, then a lovely walk along the valley to the touristy part, where there is a boardwalk. Come back up another stairway, or better still, up the Scenic Railway (once used to haul coal from a mine there) and you can walk back to Echo Point along the top of the Escarpment.

I also love the view from Govett's Leap, near Blackheath. (In my youth, I camped in the Blue Gum Forest at the bottom) Not sure if the bus goes there, and it is a fair way to walk. (8.2km one way on Google Maps, Blackheath to "Perry's Lookdown")
Jenolan Caves is special too, but would best be done by car - perhaps a hire car or local tour on the last day.
Carrabella is offline  
Apr 7th, 2010, 04:44 AM
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Hi Carol, wonder if the 'pub' you refer to in Mt Victoria is the Victoria & Albert Guesthouse?

DH and son stayed there a few years ago and loved it, and indeed raved about the ’traditional’ food – hopefully it’s still as good now as it was then. Although I see from their menu they now include roasted rabbit, so there’s a slight ‘continental’ influence.
FurryTiles is offline  
Apr 7th, 2010, 04:08 PM
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"I see from their menu they now include roasted rabbit, so there’s a slight ‘continental’ influence."

My traditional-cooking mum would have been surprised to discover that she was under the influence of the Europeans. But in all honesty Australians generally didn't know how to cook rabbit and it usually emerged from the oven in a dry, stringy condition.

One of the best I had was the simplest, cooked by an Italian friend - the jointed rabbit went into a pot with a bottle of white wine and a whole garlic bulb and was simmered until the wine had nearly evaporated, whereupon another bottle of white went in. When that wine had reduced to a sauce, that was it.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Apr 7th, 2010, 09:47 PM
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True Neil, rabbit as table food rather than farmers’ pest – especially popular in the dire food shortage during the Great Depression years – could be considered part of traditional Aussie tucker, but I certainly recall the aversion during my upbringing in rural Queensland to rabbit being eaten by humans, no doubt influenced by the 1950/60s rabbit plague – the repulsive idea of eating this cursed vermin was even greater than the notion of eating horsemeat.

But my Mum (European descent) too made excellent rabbit stew when she could finagle fresh rabbit (shot by a local farmer) who imposed a ‘don’t tell anyone’ clause in the exchange.

The best rabbit dish I ever had was on the Maltese island of Gozo last year, at a delightful guesthouse in Marsalforn – and the recipe remains a jealously-guarded (Italian-descent) family secret!
FurryTiles is offline  

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