The Blue Mountains
Monday, July 27, 2009
We get picked up this morning by our guide from Australian Wild Escapes, John:
John turned out to be a fantastic guide and along the way, pointed out that these red poles in the road with the little tassles were actually a public work of art that reflected the history of the Light Horse Army Rigiment that had fought overseas. Apparently due to Australias strict quarantine reguations, the solders were not allowed to bring their horses back with them when they returned and this disheartened many of them.
We arrive later in the day at the Blue Mountains National Park and pull into a small area of the woods where we are greeted by Kangaroos in the wild. There was this bus load of tourists off to the side looking in the trees at birds and they had no clue that these kangaroos were right there. John of course knew the animals and their habits as well as other opportunities for us we were soon to learn. One of those areas was Kings Table Land and had breathtaking views of the entire area and sheer drop offs. While in the woods, John told us about the Scribbly Gum Tree that has insect carved designs in its bark that truly look like little scribbles. While up on the rocks, John showed us how the Aborigines used the water holes in the stone to create the colors for their art works and body paint.
Later we came into the quaint town of Leura famous for its quaint shops and its famous candy store. This is known as the gem of the Blue Mountains and its name means, "Volcanic". We then saw these huge stone outcrops known as The Three Sisters, based on a story about three sisters who violated the rules against marrying outside of the tribe. This great spirit cast a spell and Kedumba turned the three sisters into stone.
Next we had lunch at the Jemby Rinjah Eco Lodge and we had the place all to ourselves! We had a great steak dinner, delicious salad, cheese platter and desert. After lunch, we went for a walk around the grounds and John got some bird seed out. He showed us how to have the wild parrots (the jemby rinjah) eat right out of our hands. Their bright green, blue and red colors were flashing all over the place.
Our last stop for the day was the Red Hands Cave, where the Aborigines created stencils of their hands over 1,600 years ago yet they looked as though they had just been done. Due to vandalism at the site, they constructed a fiberglass barrier but we were able to get some very good shots above and below the enclosure, thanks to our tall guide John! As we departed at sunset, he also explained the importance of getting out of there before nightfall. Apparently the kangaroos have terrible vision but great hearing and they come out in huge numbers on the roads at night!