My Stage is the World

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive

Gangsters’ Paradise

on January 11, 2014

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After a couple of days lazing on Bondi Beach (beautiful, but windy) and nights hanging out with the crazy backpackers from the various hostels, it seemed like time for an adventure.

So, bright and early on Sunday I stood by the fountain waiting for a bus that would take me up into the Blue Mountains.

Enter Rodney – our crazy Australian tour guide for the day. Once he’d picked us all up we had to provide him with our gangsta name: I was Mikki C and sat next to Bigg Tiff D. Rules of the day – whenever he said ‘Hey Gansters’ we had to reply with ‘Yo!’ Pretty straightforward really.

The bus ride was about an hour so most of us napped as Triple J played in the background – Rodney kept us informed when “what he thought was Australian Hip Hop’ came on as ‘that’s what us gangsters like”.

We stopped briefly at Dave’s House to pick up our packed lunches and then suddenly we were in the “boring, touristy part of the Blue Mountains”.

The Australian Grand Canyon

Of course, we didn’t go there – we went off the beaten track where there were very few people. We climbed over broken trees, jumped over ditches and crawled through a cave. Then, ducking under a ‘Danger: Keep Out’ sign we arrived at our first viewpoint.

It was breathtaking. New Zealand is often thought to be more beautiful than Australia, but this could have been Middle Earth. A deep ravine of trees and rocks as far as the eye could see, all enveloped in a blue haze. So much greenery less than an hour from Sydney was unexpected, but appreciated.

Waterfalls here and there dotted the landscape as we looked done into the gorge. Beautiful.

Interesting fact learned here: Quemajosca is a Brazilian insult, meaning ‘donut burner’

But we had to leave to go elsewhere, after a toilet stop where a gas mask was necessary to avoid retching. Many of us girls waited for the next stop which was far more sanitary and required no additional breathing apparatus.

Fierce creatures

More fabulous scenery awaited us – plus the anticipation of lunch – so we braved the path that was “full of snakes, spiders and God knows what” to get to the middle of the canyon where we stood on dodgy scaffolding snapping away. Some of us (myself included) risked the vertical ladder down for a better view of the other side. Stunning.

Clambering back up, Hannah and I joked about which was worse, spiders or snakes, stepping over a couple of lizards, but thankfully nothing else as we did so… Until we reached the hut where we were having lunch where a massive spider lurked on the ceiling above our buffet.

Tentatively glancing up as we ate our lunch we asked what it was. “Oh that’s a Huntsman – they’re nice spiders aren’t you Huntsie?”

Personally, I think he was dead (or biding his time) as he didn’t bother us as we stuffed our ravenous selves with food.

A walk to remember

The next lookout was buzzing with a couple of tourists who all looked terrified when they hears “Hey Gangsters” followed by a resounding “YO” from about 18 youngsters.

Rodney then informed us that we’d do the next walk on our own, but we’d be fine because [sic] “Jesus protects me – I am not for catching” which apparently a famous Australian gangster had claimed.

Pacified, we set off up the hill towards the waterfall we had seen in the distance. Several hundred steps up and then down we were greeted with a spray of water, which wasn’t rain but the waterfall, blown towards us in the wind.

Slightly soaked we took our scenic photos and carried on up the rocks onto a woodland path. Hannah and I sped off and were soon far ahead of the others, who only caught up with us because we took so many pictures and posed in the middle of the river.

Waiting for us at the top was Rodney and we set off to a top tourist spot because no tour of the Blue Mountains was complete without it.

Myths and legends

It was packed. Rodney gave us twenty minutes so we tried some ice-cream flavours… Until the man got annoyed, saying to Bigg Tiff “let me serve this lady and then I’ll sort out all of your problems” so we chose quickly and went to look at The Three Sisters.

So, legend had it that three great warriors fell in love with three sisters of an Aboriginal tribe, but their father – the tribe’s witch doctor’ refused. A battle ensued so he turned his daughters to stone to protect them. Sadly, he was killed during the battle and his daughters remain forever as stone.

Rodney told us it was rubbish as white man cared not for the aboriginal legends until they could use them to fob tourists off. With this in mind we walked up, looked at the three mounds of rock, snapped a photo and went to see the giant Christmas koala bear instead.

We all agreed that if the rocks had waterfalls they could be the three weeping sisters which was a much more convincing story.

Our final stop was Kings Tableland – a flattish piece of rock with a sheer drop into a gorge. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen and we all sat there dangling our legs over the edge and taking silly photos.

Homeward bound we exchanged numbers and made plans to meet up in Melbourne (where we were all headed).

Back to the Cross and time for Thai food and jugs of Cucumber Collins (gin!) with the girls.

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