Patricia Newell-Dunkley Photographs Reginald J. Dunkley
Greetings from down under where lockdown is slowly opening up once again, and it looks like we may have a pleasant Christmas. Although Queensland and Western Australia are remaining closed at this time. New South Wales being nearly eighty percent vaccinated, is the place to visit.
The spring weather is beautiful, and a great time for touring. Where better than the beautiful Blue Mountains.
Along with the Pyramids of Egypt, The Taj Mahal in India. The Greater Blue Mountains area was inscribed on the World Heritage List on November 2000. Together with nineteen other Australian World Heritage properties.
The Greater Blue Mountains is over one million hectares, of National Park and Wilderness, dominated by temperate eucalypt forest. With ninety- six species, and more than four hundred animal species. Spotted Tailed Quail, Koala, Yellow-bellied Glider, Long-Nose Potoroo, Green and Golden Bell Frog, and many more. It also has a number of very rare plants.
The area is also highly valued for its Aboriginal Heritage. It is full of cultural significance, with six Aboriginal Groups having connection to the Country of the area, as it is tied with The Dreaming Time and Rock Art.
The Blue Mountains is one of the most famous vistas on the Planet, with mind boggling, beautiful scenery, cascading waterfalls, ancient landscapes, temperate rainforests, and deep valleys, myths and legends. It is little wonder that millions of tourists visit the area yearly.
Katoomba is the main town with its Heritage listed Hotel, The Carrington. It is known as the Grand Old Lady of Katoomba and a beloved local landmark, offering unique ambience, elegance, and character of a bygone era. Spacious rooms and suites. Perfect for a romantic getaway and an ideal base from which to explore the stunning World Heritage with its velvet blue scenery.
Katoomba is a popular day trip from Sydney and is the home of the iconic Three Sisters rock formation. One of the most well-known attractions of the Blue Mountains, and walking distance from Echo Point where you can view the famous trio.
The ancient Aboriginal legend tells the tale of three sisters- Meehini, Wimlah and Gunnedoo, who fell in love with three brothers from a neighbouring tribe. Sadly, it was not possible to marry outside their own people.
However, the brothers decided to capture the girls and carry them away. A major battle ensued and an elderly witchdoctor fearing for the girl’s safety, cast a spell to turn them to stone and keep them safe.
Unfortunately, the witchdoctor was killed in battle and unable to reverse the spell. So here they stand, bewitchingly enchanting, above the magnificent Jamison Valley, for all to see and wonder. Such a romantic story never fails to impress, as you gaze at the iconic view.
For the adventurous of spirit, there is the grand Empress Canyon, with abseiling, water jumps, and a thirty- metre waterfall to abseil.
There is no end of organized tours, hotels, motels, restaurants, and the town of Leura has a fascinating array of shops, which I guarantee will tempt any tourist. Given the name of “The Jewel in The Crown” and known as the “Garden Village” with their Spring Festival and Leura Cascades. Leura sparkles with floral colour and beauty, and is well worth a visit. In fact, you might just want to stay forever.
We acknowledge the Aboriginal Dharug,Gundungurra, Wanaruah, Wiradjuri, Darkinjung, and Tharawal Nations as the Traditional owners of The Greater Blue Mountains Heritage Area.
For those fortunate enough to visit this glorious region, and capture its essence. It will never be forgotten.
Here at Shelly Beach all is well. The birds know exactly when it is 7.00 am. and are ready and waiting for their morning feast. Charlie the Pomeranian still gives chase when he can, but has now discovered some tiny lizards, which are proving more fun for him.
My books “Letters of a Travelling Lady, Wallis the Woman I love, and The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain,” are available on Amazon and Crowood Publishers.