Experience Sydney not just the downtown area but the beautiful surroundings; Sydney is the gateway to Hunter Valley, Port Stephens as well as Blue Mountains that’s less than a couple of hours drive away from the city centre.
I’ve long heard of the famous Blue Mountains so I extended the trip together with Willy and Duglass, our guide, and we drove out of Sydney city centre to the UNESCO World Heritage Area for an overnight stay.
Our first stop at Blue Mountains is Flat Rock. We had some crazy thought of sitting/standing near the cliff’s edge for cool (dangerous?) shots. Actually, I just wanted to find a spot to fake as if I was on the edge of falling but I really ended up sitting at the cliff’s edge. Then, there was a fly hovering around me so it intensified the whole situation when I was trying to shoo it away while maintaining my balance!
Please don’t try this.
Photos taken by HTC EVO 3D smartphone.
While Willy was taking shots of me, I photographed him as well.
Willy’s turn for some dangerous poses …
Duglass was also risking to take photos of Willy sitting on the cliff’s edge.
I fell off and Duglass came to my rescue. Would you believe this? I told you it’s risky.
The bluish hue at Blue Mountains is caused by the densely populated Eucalyptus trees that release droplets of oil into the atmosphere and produce a blue haze as a result of the reaction with sunlight. Hence, the name – Blue Mountains.
The Mercedes that we rented from Hertz car rental.
The Three Sisters
Perhaps the most prominent icon of the Blue Mountains among other scenic spots, the Three Sisters rock formation has a story to tell. It’s about three sisters who fell in love with three men of different tribe but they were forbidden to do so by tribal law. As a result, the men tried to capture the sisters and a tribal battle broke out. The three sisters were turned into stone by their family member to protect them but he was killed while fighting so no one could turn the sisters back to human.
Head down to the Scenic World at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains to experience a Scenic Walkway in a Jurassic rainforest; the Scenic Skyway to glide across the vast expanse of land with the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, mountains and valleys; the Scenic Cableway and Railway – the steepest aerial cable car in the southern hemisphere and the steepest incline railway in the world.
The Three Sisters in the background.
Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant
The Blue Mountains is not short of world class hotels and resorts. Nestled in the Jamison Valley at Echo Point, the award-winning Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant offers breathtaking vistas of the National Park from every room. We dropped by the hotel and had coffee-break in a relaxing afternoon under the azure sky.
The stylish restaurant of the boutique hotel and its surrounding gardens.
This is one of the best outdoor locations to chill out in the pristine environment with surrounding cliff drops and verdant green valleys. We just can’t ask for more!
I think in such a charming atmosphere, even the most camera shy person would want to pose for a shot. I’m not talking about Willy.
The magnificent backdrop of towering escarpments under a blanket of blue haze.
Sunset at Blue Mountains
We stayed out in the cold to catch the gorgeous sunset in the mountains. Bring a thick jacket if you want to do the same. I ran back to the car to pick up an extra jacket. We were literally freezing as the sun was going down the horizon.
With hood up over the head, Willy and Duglass were taking sunset shots.
Nature at its best.
The sunburst effect
The sun was disappearing soon …
While both Duglass and I dashed back to the car to stay out of the cold mountain air after sunset, Willy beckoned us to get out of the car for some twilight shots and suggested a photo like this with the reflection of trees on the car roof, taken with HTC EVO 3D smartphone while trying out the white balance setting to give a different sky colour.
Spotted another sunburst effect while driving along the road in the mountains.
For a delightful fine dining experience in a cosy yet casual ambience in the Blue Mountains, we had dinner at the award-winning Silks Brasserie located in the heart of historic Leura village. Tender and juicy scallops, salmon pan fried to perfection, lip-smacking good dessert for my sweet tooth and we had a chatty night sitting at a corner in the dining room.
Old Leura Diary
We put up a night in the Blue Mountains at Old Leura Diary. This is the most quirky accommodation I’ve ever stayed. The 4 star property comprises of 6 lodgings of unique character and size, and we stayed at the Moo Manor – very homey and roomy. It has a large kitchen (with a huge butcher table!), 2 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms, each has it’s own style with vintage furniture and decorations. There is a natural wood burning fireplace at a corner in the living room to keep warm.
The Moo Manor where we stayed.
The next morning, we joined Tim Tranter from Treadlightly EcoTours in a 4WD to catch sunrise with the “Three Sisters” and had breakfast in the meadow.
Stay tuned for more updates on our HTC Sydney Escapade! In the meantime, check out Asiaone microsite http://creative.asiaone.com/2011/IA/htc_IA111006/vote.html to pick your favourite photos taken by Willy, Alvin and I, cast your vote and win HTC EVO 3D phones worth S$895 each!