This is the first trip I have made in Austrlia and the first trip I will document in my blog. I hope it is the first of many more. I had just arrived in Austrlia for my exchange. I decided to arrive in Australia before university started so I could get some travelling in beforehand and get some killer photos.
As I set out to fly to Sydney from Brisbane (I had only lived here a day then) I was eager to enjoy the freedom of traveling solo and keen to get snapping as soon as possible. I took the train from Sydney to Katoomba. Katoomba is the biggest town in the Blue Mountains and a hot spot for tourists and backpackers. It is a small town but has plenty of hostels plus buses to get you too and from most places in the blue mountains. I stayed at the YHA which was cosy and comfortable, although there was no air conditioning which meant it got hot at some points.
On my first day I set out despite the rain and attempted to get my first photos. I went trekking into the forested mountians. The rain was so intense that all my clothes quickly became saturated. Despite this I powered on, determined to make the most of my time in this beautiful place. I got a few shots and walked about an hour and a half into the forest. I then took a pause, as I got to a clearing, to admire the view. Despite the horrendous weather I was enjoying the amazing view of the mountains. I felt empowered and excited to be away from home. I glanced down at my leg and my mood quickly changed. I had probably about 20 leaches covering my legs. I freacked out as I had never encoutered a leach before and I did not know what to do. I tried scraping them off with a stick but as fast as I could remove them they seemed to be climbing back on to me. I manged to remove them from my legs temporarily, but it was only about 5 minutes before they came back. I decided the only thing to do was to run back to my hostel (even though it would take me at least an hour). I had to stop every 5 minutes to scrape leaches off which massivly slowed me down. Despite this I made it back to the hostel where I was advised by a member of staff to put salt on the leeches to make them let go. Finally I could get rid of them! To make matters worse I checked all my photos and they were all blurred, expect one, due to all the rain making the lens wet. It was a disappointing day but I was determined to not let this ruin it for me. Depsite this I still got a really good photo of the fog hugging the mountains.
As the hostel I was staying in was rather quiet I decided to use an app I had found called Backpackr to meet some other backpackers. It connects you with other backpackers near by that also want to meet up and allows you to message them. I met another guy from there who was from the UK as well and was working as a doctor in Australia. We went to go and see the three sisters. Unfortunately I got a great panorama of them but my laptop is unable to handle panormas in photoshop so I will be unable to post them till I’m back in the UK. However after we did the three sisters walk we caught a cable car back up the mountians to the starting point of the walk. We then went to Leura falls with him and another backpacker. They were absolutly stunning and I got some amazing photos.
We walked down to the main falls from the entrance and on the way, I got a great HDR of one of the smaller waterfalls. However, that still did not prepare me for what was to come. The main fall was like no other fall I had seen before. You can stand back from a distance and watch the water trickle down from a rocky outcrop. I got some great shots of the waterfall frozen in time. We then walked back through the forest the same way I could come the previous day but in the opposite direction. I found out that leaches are only a problem when the weather is wet, so it was relieving to walk through, knowing that I wouldn’t receive another ambush. It was a really good idea using Backpackr as it gave me a chance to meet new interesting people enriching my back-packing experience. I would recommend it to any other backpackers who are traveling solo that wish to meet people.
The next day I was back exploring solo again. Following the recommendation of a local man who was staying at the hostel I visited Wentworth Falls. I have always considered it a good idea to ask a local what is good as they have the best knowledge of the area. I did not regret my decision; it was the most beautiful place I had visited yet on this trip. I got some dramatic landscape views from the mountains, some stunning photos of the spray created by Wentworth Falls plus some great macro’s. This place in my opinion is the best place to head for nature photography, in the area.
The following day I went hiking again and got more photos.
On the last day, I spent in the Blue Mountains I went to visit Jenolan caves. These were discovered by European explorers in the early days of Australia and were a great place to try shooting a different kind of subject. As with most caves some of the spectacular rock formations made for some interesting macro shots.
Then it was time to move on to Sydney. I had really enjoyed the Blue mountains but was looking forward to heading in to the city, for a change of scene and the hope of meeting other fellow backpackers. Fortunately, on the last night I met some people at my hostel who were destined for Sydney as well. Stay tuned for part two to hear about how I travel down to Sydney with them and my adventures there.