Blue Mountains

A very wet couple of days in the Blue Mountains. Great news given that I visited in February 2020 when there were still many devastating fires burning in Australia, this prolonged period of rain helped put many out. Less good from a tourist perspective when one of the main reasons for visiting is to enjoy the views. I got lucky at Echo Point with a brief break in the clouds offering views of the Three Sisters and Jamison Valley, and there was a fraction of the normal 1.5-2 million annual visitors there at 5pm on a Friday…

I had less luck earlier on at Wentworth Falls, with no views of it from the Wentworth Falls Lookout and limited if atmospheric views from the Jamison Lookout.

A good place to briefly escape the rain was Everglades House and Gardens, built in the 1930s by designer Paul Sorensen. A number of varied terraces lead down to an Art Deco home, with striking bathrooms, before views over part of the Jamison Valley.

Less exciting was the Norman Lindsay Gallery, home to the artist and author, who was highly controversial during his lifetime, but is now recognised as one of the great Australian artists. No photography was allowed inside, which contained exhibitions of his model ships, numerous nudes, sketches for the Australian children’s classic “The Magic Pudding”, and on Sirens, the 1994 film of his life.

Lincoln’s Rock offered great rocks if no views across Jamison Valley . The rock is named after Australian mountaineer Lincoln Hall who lived in Wentworth Falls for two decades and who died from asbestos-related illness in 2012.

The Blue Mountains are home to impressive gardens, though many are only open during Spring and Autumn when they are at their best. The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is open all year round, with 28 hectares of mainly cool-climate plants that don’t grow well elsewhere in Sydney. It’s a smart place, understandably devoid of people on a very wet day.

The drive there reminded why the rain was so welcome, passing through parts of the 80% of the Blue Mountains burnt in late 2019 / early 2020. Most trees are fire-adapted and can regenerate, but many of the species depend on long intervals between fires, and it had only been six years since the last major fires.

Thankfully I’ve been to the Blue Mountains before, back in 2014, on a sunny and clear day in October, when they looked like this…

Author: jontycrane

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