Katoomba Scenic World And Jenolan Caves

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

KATOOMBA - Scenic World and Jenolan Caves

Date: 30th December 2015

My dear friend Michael Laurence - whom I met in Theatre in 1966 and who died earlier this year - lived in Leura and then in Katoomba. I suppose we never really explore what is on our doorstep and though I visited him several times we never did the Scenic World Experience or visited the Jenolan Caves.

Today my son and his girlfriend hired a car to take us and her parents up to Katoomba. Unfortunately half of Sydney had the same idea and the journey was very slow. By the time we arrived at Cliff Drive and Scenic World there were no more Rides available until 6.00 pm. The Scenic World experience comprises a Scenic Railway - the steepest passenger train in the world - a Scenic Skyway which is the highest cable car in Australia and a Scenic Cableway which is the biggest Cable Car in Australia and then on your own two feet you can walk for as long or as short a time as you wish in the temperate rainforest - and you've guessed it - the Walkway is the longest elevated boardwalk in Australia.

Well we weren't going to miss out so we booked tickets for 6.00 pm and having checked that we could get onto a tour we headed off for the Jenolan Caves. What a beautiful ride that was and we passed by a town called Oberon. Sadly we didn't have time to stop but I do remember being on tour with the Young Elizabethans taking potted Shakespeare to the Bush and we had an overnight stay in Oberon in the motel Titania. Up till that moment I'd never been so cold in my life. People don't think of Australia as being a cold place but, believe me, the Blue Mountains can get very very cold in Winter. We all went to our various beds wearing all our clothes and laying our top coats on top of the blankets - duvets were not around in those days.

We reached Jenolan and took nearly half an hour to park - needless to say in a Valley there's not much natural parking so the parking is on various levels going out of the Valley. We chose the long tour and though there was relatively little by way of what I call 'Live' Stalactites and Stalagmites - those still wet and glistening with crystal deposits - our guide was very good indeed and I learned things about the strata and crystal formation which I'd not known before. And I've visited many caves in France, New Zealand and elsewhere. I did mention the 'deadness' of the Stalactites etc and Nada said there was one cave, The Orient, which was filled with the shining and live examples. They can only take 25 at a time and the visit gets booked weeks in advance. Perhaps something for another visit. At the bottom of the Jenolan Caves there is a river with a constant temperature of 13 degrees. Last October in the Dordogne I visited another series of Caves with am underground river and there too was a constant water temperature of 13 degrees regardless of how cold or hot it was outside.

The road down into the Jenolan Valley and up out of it again is not very wide. A coach had got stuck and the traffic was held up for some considerable time. We were concerned that we wouldn't get back to Katoomba in time for our Scenic experience but Jonathan made it with a few minutes to spare. Again I will have to load photos into the picture gallery when I get back to the UK. We saw many interesting sights on our walk in the rainforest including the old Coal mine angd a beautiful metal sculpture of a pit pony, miner and coal hod. But one memory which I'd rather not have had was hearing a man tell a few visitors that some time ago some louts had spied a python in a tree, pelted it with stones, broke its back and killed it. I don't know what happened to these monsters but I sincerely hope they were caught and heavily penalised. Snakes are not my favourite creatures but if they are not harming you, don't harm them.

It was late by the time we left Katoomba and we hadn't had a meal all day. Jonathan's girlfriend had heard good reports of Leura Garage!!! - yes that is not a mis-type - and with little time to spare she booked it for us. It was indeed once a garage and is now regarded as an historic building. It has been turned into a very interesting eatery. All the artefacts of a working garage had been utilised and the place was decorated with exhausts and tyres - sounds awful but it was lovely and again I'll show you some photos when I return to the UK - I can see that I'll be spending days uploading them to the gallery. The food wouldn't win any prizes but it was interesting. You had to order a banquet for a minimum of 2 people and the waitress suggested that two banquets would be OK for the five of us. We had all manner of small platters and the main dishes were pizzas followed by a Coffee Mousee and some Carrot Cake to be shared between us - they'd run out of Eton Mess. The wine was more than acceptable and we were the last to leave.

Poor old Jonathan, as the driver, couldn't drink with us but got us safely back to Sydney around midnight.

Think I am going to have to divide up my blogs so that I can better illustrate each one.  What a choice but as I can only post one I suppose it has to be the renowned Three Sisters at Katoomba.  Legend tells that the three sisters were turned into stone to save them from marauding Aborigines.  Sadly the Medicine Man who cast the spell was killed in the battle so they were never able to escape from their Rocky incarcertation.

KATOOMBA - Scenic World and Jenolan Caves

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