Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Three Sisters

When traveling to Australia's Blue Mountains, there are so many things to do that seeing an ancient rock formation may be the last thing on your to-do list. But there is a reason the Three Sisters is featured on every

Blue Mountains tour in Australia. This particular rock formation holds a special place in the history of Australia and is part of a breathtaking view that you will have to see to believe. Here are just a few reasons to make the Three Sisters a priority on your Blue Mountains vacation.

History: The Aboriginal culture of early Australia was formed by "dreamtime legends," passed down through the generations. There are many legends surrounding the Three Sisters. One legend was that there were three sisters that three men wanted to marry but were not allowed by tribal law. Not wanting to accept this law, they kidnapped the three sisters and started a tribal war. One of their tribesmen turned the Sisters to stone but was later killed in battle. With no one able to reverse the spell, the sisters remained encased in rock for eternity. The alternative legend is that their father, to protect them from the Bunyip monster, turned the three sisters to stone. He was unable to reverse the spell. These legends helped shape the history of this region and connected the native people to the land they called home.

Geology: The Three Sisters were carved into the cliffs at Echo Point over thousands of years. The wind, rain and rivers running through the Jamison Valley are composed of soft sandstone that has been slowly eroded over time. These three towering cliffs of the Blue Mountains are the product of natural erosion but have come to connect the cliffs and breathtaking views to the people.

Natural Beauty: Thought to be one of the most beautiful views in all of Australia, the Three Sisters overlooks the Jamison Valley, one of the most scenic natural river valleys on the continent. From nearby Echo Point, a bushwalking trail leads to the Three Sisters and down to the valley floor via more than 800 well-maintained steel and stone steps called "The Giant Stairway". Then a 1.5-hour walk on The Federal Pass trail leads to the base of Katoomba Falls, a gorgeous, palatial waterfall surrounded by the forests in the valley. This nature walk is not to be missed on any Blue Mountains trip.

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 9, 2011

Featherdale Wildlife Park Introduces Children To New Species

One of the biggest draws to Australia is the wildlife. The land down under is an animal lover's paradise, offering endangered species and iconic animals you can't see anywhere else. Of course there is the Koala and the Kangaroo but the Australian outback—especially the Blue Mountains region—offers a glimpse at some rare wildlife even your local zoo can't bring you.

Wombats: Wombats are small, rodent-like creatures native to the mountainous regions of Australia like the Blue Mountains. They are known for their ability to burrow long, underground tunnel systems with their front teeth and powerful claws. Like kangaroos, these marsupials have pouches but theirs are backwards facing so that their young are not covered in dirt as they dig.

Dingos: Famous for more than just eating Lindy Chamberlain's baby, dingos are one of the older species in Australia, thought to have arrived with people from Southeast Asia. Dingos have lived largely away from people as wild dogs, more akin to wolves in their pack mentality. As the continent's largest terrestrial predator, they play an important role in Australia's ecosystem, keeping Blue Mountain small animal populations in check. If you come across one on your Blue Mountains tour, you needn't fear as these creatures steer clear of humans as much as possible.

Tasmanian Devils: Known most for their cartoon depiction in cartoons as wild, snarling tornados of laughter, Tasmanian Devils are not without their quirks. About the size of a small dog and known to frequent mountainous areas you are likely to see along your Blue Mountains trip, these large marsupials are known for their stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odor, extremely loud and disturbing screech, keen sense of smell, and ferocity when feeding. Come to think of it, that cartoon may not be far off.

Labels: , ,