Monday, December 31, 2012

Scenic World

Before we left our cottage at Blackheath, we drove down the road to check out Govett's Leap. To the left you can see the waterfalls (formerly known as Bridal Veil Falls). Crossed the railway, and followed Shipley Road all the way to Hargraves Lookout overlooking Megalong Valley. There's a Swedish couple having their wedding there, so we didn't stay long. Next stop, Katoomba.

Been to Echo Point a few times already, but the Three Sisters never disappoint. For something different, we decided to check out Scenic World after lunch. Special mention goes to Unique Patisserie along Katoomba Street for its yummy Singaporean/Malaysian dishes and pastries/desserts.

Scenic World boasts of three rides - Cableway, Railway, and Skyway. With a $21 Valley Return pass, you can take the railway down the valley, take one of the many trails towards the cableway station, then take the cablecar ride up back to Scenic World. For $7 more, you can get the Scenic Pass, which gives you a two-way ride on the Skyway across the Jamison Valley.

Of the three rides, I liked the Skyway best. The 72-person cabin offers 360-degree views of the Jamison Valley. The glass bottom section clears up in transit, so you can see down into the valley, too. As for the Scenic Railway, it's said to be the steepest cable-driven railway in the road at 52 degrees. The ride is too short, though, only 415 meters in incline distance.

Another interesting trivia I read somewhere - the souvenir shop is the largest in NSW.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mount Tomah Botanic Garden

Late start for the day as it was foggy and drizzling. A blessing in disguise as who would want to explore an open garden under full sunlight? Hopped on the free shuttle the moment we got to Mount Tomah Botanic Garden. This gave us a chance to see most of the gardens and decide which ones are worth exploring further. For lunch, your one and only option is Restaurant Tomah. A bit pricey, but excellent food. As the restaurant is perched on a ridge, it offers magnificent views of the Blue Mountains.

Next stop is Mount Wilson. We bypassed Cathedral of Ferns and went straight for Du Faurs Rocks Lookout. Parked at the fire station and hiked the 500-meter dirt road to the lookout. Not what I would call a proper lookout. No signs or barriers - just a rocky outcrop and a huge drop below. Not even sure how stable the "platform" is. Should be strong enough for at least five adults, as nothing happened when we took our group photo. From here, you can see across the valley towards Bell. On the left, you can see Chinaman's Hat, a rock formation which looks like its namesake.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Return to Jenolan Caves

Last time I visited Jenolan Caves was more than five year ago. Five years later, everything is pretty much the same as I remembered it. I don't know, maybe for a World Heritage Area, that's a good thing maybe?

Jenolan Caves Road is still as long and winding and undulating as before. The last few kilometers are still quite narrow and treacherous, barely enough for two cars to pass each other. Parking is a problem, too. We got there a little before lunchtime, and the lower first and second carparks are already full. The third carpark we encountered was also full. Lucky for us, a ranger opened the gates to an adjoining one, which can take on about twenty more cars. I'd hate to be that 21st car.

The Caves House is pretty much the same as I remembered it, as is the ticket office. The big signboard across the street with the giant location map and the list of caves and their viewing times and availability is still the same one. The caves, I'm sure, they're still the same.

Once you're done with your cave(s) of choice, don't forget the free self-guided tour of Nettle Cave and the Devil's Coach House Cave. These are just outside the Grand Arch. Pick up your multilanguage Acoutiguide audio device from the ticket office.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Wiggles' Celebration Concert

All good things must come to an end, even for the Wiggles. After more than 20 years of being in the business, the original cast of the Wiggles (except for Anthony) is handing over the reins to a new generation of kiddie entertainers. In this farewell concert, the much-loved Wiggles perform the old favourites one last time for their fans - young and old alike.

The concert was supposed to start at 1:30pm, but it was delayed a bit. People were lining up to buy merchandise, to have their pictures taken with the Big Red Car, to check in the prams, to buy coffee and foodstuffs, etc. The Allphones Arena was packed, although surprisingly it wasn't full-house. My kid is not a die-hard Wiggles fan, but he eventually warmed up. The Wiggles members were introduced one by one, then Captain Feathersword, Wags, Henry, and Dorothy. The new cast also got to strut their stuff.

My only gripe was that I left the DSLR at home. Unlike other concerts, the Wiggles were encouraging everyone to take pictures and videos. I had to make do with the SGS for videos and the Atrix for photos.