Tag: Adventure Tours

Tag: Adventure Tours
Well wanderers, Downunder I learnt that the blue haze comes from something called ‘Rayleigh Scattering’ a phenomenon investigated by Lord Rayleigh that causes rays of light that impinge on small particles to scatter in various directions. As the atmosphere is laden with dust and water particles, the eyes receive a blue, scattered reflection of the distant object (mountains in this case), and therefore! Are the mountains blue 😀.

Sydney is a huge tourist destination with gorgeous beaches, several major landmarks, gardens, parks, art galleries and more. Some of its most popular claims to fame are the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and Bondi beach, which are all beautiful and definitely worth visiting. However, the swarms of tourists in Sydney can be overwhelming. Also, I’m a bit of an adventure junkie, so when I travel I jump at any chance to get out of the city and go for a hike, swim in a secluded location, or do something a little more physically challenging than posing for a photo with a statue.

A slightly less well known destination outside of Sydney is the Blue Mountains. One of my friends here told me about them because she was able to visit them with her aunt who lives in the area, and she said it was a great experience. I figured it’d be fun to go hiking and see some wilderness and get out of the city for the day, so I started looking into making the trip.

There are a few ways to get to the Blue Mountains. You can drive if you’re comfortable with renting a car, you can take trains or buses to several different towns in the mountains, or you can book a tour with a guide. Considering I still almost get hit every time I have to cross the road because I can’t remember to look right and then left, I didn’t think driving was a great idea. I also didn’t want to waste time wandering around trying to figure out where to go and which trails to take and end up missing things, so I decided to book a tour, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made since I got to Sydney.

I booked with Barefoot Downunder, which is a boutique tour company owned by a husband and wife who live in Sydney, and to be honest, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. The owner, Adam, was actually our tour guide. He picked me up about a block from my hostel, and after picking up the rest of the passengers for the day, we set off for the Blue Mountains. During the drive there, Adam had us all introduce ourselves and get to know each other a little, and gave us a laundry list of things to do and see throughout Australia that would save us from overpaying for regular tourist traps.

The drive to the mountains was about an hour and a half, but it was full of information, and it was great to see some Australian countryside and learn a little about the towns we passed along the way. The hike itself was definitely not for beginners. Adam takes a much longer route than other tour companies, which we know because we saw other groups only go about half the distance we did, but it’s because he wants his customers to get their money’s worth.

blue mountains tours
You get to climb down these,
blue mountains tour tripadvisor
hop across these
blue mountains tour tripadvisor
and see a dozen of these!

Instead of going straight down to the biggest waterfall and back up, he took us on a two and half hour loop that starts with a descent through the forest into a canyon, passes by at least a twelve waterfalls, and ends with a steep climb up a stairway built into the side of a mountain. It was both invigorating and exhausting. The scenery was incomparable to anything else I’ve seen here, but by the time we got back to the top my legs I almost couldn’t walk to the bus.

blue mountains tour tripadvisor
The views are amazing,
best blue mountains tour
and the waterfalls never end,
best blue mountains tour
there’s another one around every corner, *

 

best blue mountains tour
but they keep you going… *
* PHOTOS BY POOJA JARADI
best blue mountains tour
until you have to climb these

The tour didn’t end there though. After the hike, we had lunch at a great café in Leura, where everyone with the tour got 10% off their meal, then we visited the Three Sisters, and  went to Lincoln’s Rock to hang our feet over the edge of the world.

best blue mountains tour
The three sisters
best blue mountains tour
Lincoln’s Rock
best blue mountains tour

When we got back to Sydney, the tour ended with Adam taking us to a bar to treat us all to a drink and by that time it was like sitting down for a drink with a group of old friends. My one beer turned into three, and I was still one of the first people to leave.

best blue mountains tour

Overall, it was definitely one of the best days I’ve had in Sydney. It was exhausting in all the right ways, but more importantly, I felt like I got more than what I paid for. As a natural adventurer, I don’t usually do guided tours or group activities because I like to push myself and I don’t want to be held back, but this was definitely a trip designed for people who want to get out and really experience nature, and challenge themselves, and learn a little something along the way.

If you’re planning a trip to Sydney and you want to get out of the city, away from the hordes of tourists, and connect to the great outdoors, I would definitely recommend booking a trip to the Blue Mountains with Barefoot Downunder. You could technically get there by yourself, and the trails are clearly marked once you reach the mountains, but there really is no replacement for a knowledgeable guide who is passionate about their work and the land. If you’re feeling daring, they actually offer an overnight trip to the mountains too! Plus, it takes a pretty special experience to turn a group of 20 complete strangers into friends in less than 12 hours.

best blue mountains tour

Sydney’s Blue Mountains; an adventure traveler’s paradise

Figure 8 Pools

First time I came across Figure 8 Pools was in an article and since then I always wanted to visit this geological spectacle. Finally, I got an opportunity and the next thing I know is that I am on a bus on my way to Figure 8 Pools.

So, what is ‘Figure 8 Pools’ ?

Figure 8 Pools is a cluster of naturally formed rock pools located in coastal headlands in Sydney’s Royal National Park. Royal National Park (which Aussie’s lovingly call as ‘Nasho’), is located 40 mins away from Sydney and is the second oldest National Park in the world (after Yellow Stone).

My trip started at sharp 7:30 am on a Sunday morning from Central. The drive was around 40 mins until we reached Garrawara Farm.

The Track

It was the perfect day with bright sun. From the Garrawara Farm Car Park we headed towards Burning Palms beach down the hill.

Figure 8 Pools Track

The trail begins with  tall trees turning into lush green bushes and the amazing views of the coastal line.

Figure 8 Pools Coastal view

The refreshing walk takes you to the Burning Palms Beach in around 45 mins.

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We took a short break at the beach and it was the perfect time for some beautiful pictures. Very thoughtful of the team to ensure we are at the right place at the right time of the day to take the perfect pictures!

From the beach, the coastal walk continues towards the right-hand side (south) but this time, it is sharp rocks and steep edges we have to walk through. This is the hardest part of the track.

Figure 8 Pool Rocky Patch

En-route to the pools are the rocky patches & sharp stones covered with seaweeds, Neptune’s necklace, and little starfishes.

Figure 8 Pool - Neptune's necklace

Another 30 minutes of the walk, you are in for a beautiful sight of the naturally formed figure 8 pool.

Figure 8 Pools

Apart from the big pool which is clearly defined, there are few others which are under formation. Also few of them are big enough for a short swim. A great location for photography too.

Figure 8 Pools

Access to the pools is safe only when it is low tide as the waves can crash across the rock platforms. We were visiting at the end of winter and during the first half of the day which allowed us to view the pools in isolation. However, it seems to be a crowded place in summer.

Wanderer’s Tip 

  • It is advised to check the wave size & tide height before traveling to the pool as it is risky otherwise
  • Though public transport is available it will be safer to travel with an experienced group
  • There are no food or toilet facilities available anywhere along the route from the Garrawarra Farm car park.
  • There is no lifeguard service available
  • Phone reception is limited and almost non-existent at certain areas.

Figure 8 Pools

After a nice dip in the rock pools, we headed back. The return hike is uphill which is quite steep, I would allow enough time for the return.

Figure 8 Pools

We headed to Stanwell Tops Park where we were offered a freshly barbecued Australian lunch by the crew. The food was yummy and generous to fill our hungry & tired tummies.

Australian Barbeque

Next location was Wattamolla which is 40 mins away from here . On the way, we spotted the glimpse of  whales in the ocean, though from far away. Wattamolla has a great view point which is easily accessible as well as a beach and a cliff. After spending some time in Wattamolla we returned back to Central. At the end of the

Wattamolla has a great view point which is easily accessible as well as a beach and a cliff. After spending some time in Wattamolla we returned back to Central. At the end of the day, we were offered a drink at the nearest Pub.

Wattamolla

Overall it was a great day. Wonderful team of Adam, Smokey & Debbie at Barefoot Downunder made sure the trip is enjoyable for everyone (special mention to the Aussie humour!) This carefully tailored trip ensures the visitors get a good view of the best outdoor locations in Sydney and is a definite value for money.

Why You Wander was welcomed to Figure 8 Pools by www.barefootdownunder.com.au, however, all opinions are my own!