After spending a day in Sydney centre and harbour area, we decided that there really wasn't anything that we "just had to do" in Sydney. So we headed west.
It's so easy to see why the early explorers were hampered by the Blue Mountains escarpment. It really would have been a massive barrier to overcome.
To be honest the first impressions of the Blue Mountains area was not great. There is road works going on all over the place, so the noise of machinery is everywhere. The tourist dollar is obviously the main income source, with every opportunity taken to sell you something. Once upon a time there would have been individual villages along the ridge line, but now they just merge one into the next.
Top - The famous Three Sisters in Katoomba was interesting, but the enjoyment was definitely impacted by the loads of tourists. Yes I get the irony of this comment. I was one too, but it is really hard to appreciated the wonders of nature when all you can here is human chatter, calling out, buses, cars etc.
Bottom - This is what was directly behind me when I turned around from taking the top shot, and this was late in the day!
So with some trepidation, we continued along the escarpment to our accommodation in the "village" of Blackheath. It was a last minute booking made through Wotif that we made before leaving Sydney, and was a total unknown.
What a find! Mounts Boutique Hotel is a small private hotel, with the most comfortable bed I've every slept in. The people were really friendly and couldn't do enough to make us comfortable. We also ate at the Italian restaurant that is part of the hotel, and both really enjoyed our meals. In fact we were so happy to stay here, that we booked in for an extra night. The photos below give you an idea of the feel of the hotel, our room, and the garden. There is also a park right beside with a playground for the kids.
Once we had booked into the hotel, we went exploring Blackheath. So glad we did. The day had started off with us feeling a little less than impressed with the Blue Mountains area, but after taking a walk around Blackheath, we started to warm to the area. Unlike Katoomba and some of the other "villages" closer to Sydney, Blackheath had the feeling of being a real community rather than just a "tourist destination".
We wandered through Victory Theatre Antiques. It's a great idea, where lots of different antique dealers have a "shop" in the old theatre.
Left - There is something for everyone. Maybe it is the age we are, but we both found things that we new from our childhood.
Right - I thought of Claire over at Sweet Birdy Love when I came across this nifty use of old blankets. I did have to look twice though when I read the price tag. Would you believe $65 for the cushion!
Before heading back to the hotel for the evening, Mr noticed a sign to Govetts Leap, so not knowing what to expect we turned off. So glad we did. We were the only ones there, and it was really beautiful to have the light of the setting sun hitting the rock face.
So after what started out as a day of being less than impressed by the Blue Mountains region, we had changed our mind. I think it's all about taking the time to get away from the main tourist attractions, and just explore a little.