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Sydney to Katoomba, October 2002

Submitted by admin on Thu, 03/08/2012 - 20:04

View over the Blue Mountains
My flight from Vanuatu arrived in the evening and I caught the airport bus to King's Cross. The trip took quite a while as the traffic was fairly heavy. King's Cross is probably not as a big a dump as its London namesake, but it is fairly seedy. It's also full of backpacker hostels and most importantly for me, close to all the major car hire rental offices. The hostel I stayed in was shabby, but it was only one night and I went to bed fairly early, forgoing the delights of the local night life.

The next morning I walked down to the Budget car hire office. I'd booked everything over the phone, so was handled quickly. Unfortunately the people in front of me hadn't and took ages. I'd hired the cheapest car they did. It was a 1.4 manual Renault Clio and cost under $50 a day. I hired it for 2 weeks, so was allowed to drop it off in Melbourne for no extra cost. It was the first time I'd hired a car in Australia for any length of time and I was looking forward to my road trip.

Waterfall in the Blue Mountains
The first problem was getting out of Sydney. You'd think that finding the Western Motorway wouldn't be too difficult, but the signs weren't very good and I ended up halfway out to Parramatta before finding the motorway. Still at least I was going in the right direction and I wasn't in any great hurry. My destination was the Blue Mountains. These imposing mountains prevented the expansion of the New South Wales colony for many years in the early days before a route was found through them. Today, much of them is national park with plenty of bush walks. I wasn't planning to do a great amount of walking.

My first stop was at Wentworth falls, which gave some spectacular views of a high waterfall. From there, I went onto Sublime Point and then came into the town of Katoomba. The most famous sight there is of the Three Sisters, but at the time they were redeveloping the visitor's area. There was nowhere to park and the whole place looked like a building site, so I had a quick look out of the car window and continued on my way. I went through Katoomba and onto Evan's Lookout. After Evan's Lookout, I went to Govetts Leap which gave some more spectacular views of the wooded valley below. I was pleased to see that there was no evidence of the 2001 bush fires in the area, though 2002 is looking to be even worse.

I then drove back to Katoomba to find the YHA. I found the signposting in Australian towns good. All the roads have visible names and there's usually signs to the YHA. The building itself is old Art Deco structure. It was clean, and they provided lockers for your luggage in the rooms which added a bit of security. That evening I had an indifferent Chinese meal and then went down the pub for a couple of drinks. It was quiet, but after Vanuatu, it seemed positively kicking.

The next morning, I set off via the back roads to Terrigal, a seaside town north of Sydney. I wound my way along some quite twisty roads through towns with familiar names like Windsor and Richmond before getting to Wisemans Ferry. Here, there is a barge ferry which is free and took me across the broad Hawkesbury river. I then drove on through Gosford, finally reaching my destination, Terrigal.

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