Today was an “Us day”! That’s what we call them and have done for over a year now. It’s the days we don’t climb and the days we do cultural things, hiking tracks and visit cafes with Wifi. Wifi is something that a lot of the smaller village cafes in the Blue Mountains definitely lack. Let it be said that it is not necessarily the cafes fault. It’s an ongoing issue for a lot of country Australia.
Anyway, I took Karine to one of my favourite places today. We did the walk down to Empress Falls. This is about a one hour round trip. It is approximately 2500 stairs down and back and about 260 vertical metres straight down into the valley. I have heard it described as “hard but worth it!”
As we wandered slowly down the track we approached queen Victoria Lookout. This platform allows you to look straight out into the wilderness that is the Blue Mountains National Park. It is hard to describe the grandeur that is on display without waffling on about wide open spaces and the shear size of Australia in general. The vista is nothing short of spectacular.
Karine was busily photographing flowers of all shapes and sizes while I was on the look out for fauna that may be of interest to us. There are Bellbirds singing, cockatoos and Gaan Gaan’s flying over head. For the unsuspecting tourist, the sounds of the Australia bush cannot only be beautiful but also very intimidating, as I have often thought that some of our bird life sound like dinosaurs. The loud and nearby screeching can be seriously frightening for some.
As we descended further into the valley the environment changed and the sound of raging water filled the air. There are several mini cascades to pass by on the way down to the beautiful and raging torrent that is Empress Falls. I took Karine as close to the falls as humanly possible for a photo that she could post online for her friends and family to see. Its wonderful to be able to show her around this incredible place.
We spent a little time down in the valley until the mosquitos got a little too much and began our ascent. It was a beautiful day and the sun was not to harsh until we reached the final 150 metres of the return. Just as we went to step up onto the last real steep section of the walk I heard a noise and there is was. One of Australia’s cheeky silent (mostly) critters, we were standing staring at an Echidna about 3 metres off the track and it was foraging through the ground cover feeding on ants and also trying to hide from us.
It is when you least expect it, that the world reveals its most wonderful creations……..