Australia Diaries – Birding in the Blue Mountain

Naturally where there is trees and forest, there are birds and naturally I was excited that I could see some more interesting birds other than the common Australian birds. But then again, because there are trees which comes with thick foliage, spotting the birds prove more difficult than expected. And my Sigma 18 – 300 6.3 failed big time under the trees! But still we or rather M with her P900 did get some of what I think are the not so common garden birds.

First thing we noticed was the abundance of the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. They were everywhere and flying in waves over the Blue Mountain Valley. 

Sadly though, we didn’t manage to shoot the other type of parrots. Did saw some black cockatoos flying by but my 300 mm could only shoot this.

At the Katoomba Fall Creeks, we did see many small little birds. Not exactly sure what they are. It was quite dark there and we didn’t get a good shot of the active birds hopping from one rock to another. Some sort of Wren? 

The star catch of the first full day out at the Blue Mountain was this Lyrebird. First saw it in the forest near to Scenic World but couldn’t get a good shot as it was in the undergrowth and too dark. Then at Katoomba picnic area, right out in the open, we saw one. It was behind some construction hoarding but we managed to get off a burst before it disappeared into the bushes. Not very good shot though but still a record shot of this interesting bird.

As usual, plenty of Laughing Kookaburra, magpie and honeyeater

Also saw some ducks near one of the open ground while we were on way back to Echo Point.

The next day from Echo Point to Leura Cascade, we got a few more interesting birds including the common Crimson Rosella. Quite a number of them too.

Crimson Rosella

And M got this Red Wattlebird.

And she also got this little birdie. ID by folks at the Birds of Australia FB page as an Eastern Spinebill Honeyeater

And last but not least, a Satin Bowerbird if M’s identification is correct although I think it could be a raven

That about the more interesting birds in the Blue Mountains. Next birding in Sydney and Bondi.

Good but Expensive – The Coconut Club

While I do enjoy good food, generally I baulked at paying high prices for what I called hawker food. The few exceptions are when the food in question has got a very good review and the ingredients somehow justify the price. Even then, probably just once to see what the fuss is all about. Which is why it took me a long time to go down to The Coconut Club which is just a stone throw from my office for their famed Nasi Lemak.
One of the reasons is that the few times I pass by , there is always a long queue along the corridor. The other thing was paying $12.80 for a plate of nasi lemak which I can get equally famous and good one from $3.00 at food centre. Still curiosity got me going and I roped in M for a lunch date at The Coconut Club. We reached slightly early and there was no queue! The queue started to form around 12.15 pm. Thank goodness.
We ordered one plate of the $12.80 nasi lemak, 1 otak and 1 spicy dried prawn long beans (haebihaem long beans to share. The waiter didn’t seem to mind that the 2 of us ordered so little. Or maybe he pitied us and thought we were too poor to order more because when the food was delivered, it came with a complimentary bowl of Sayur Lodeh! How about that for great service!

The nasi lemak comes with a chicken leg joint cut into 2 unlike other places that usually just serve the drumstick. There was an sunny side up egg ; peanuts and ikan bilis. That was all but it was a rather big plate. And of course, after tasting the rice, I can understand how it got its fame.
The otak came in the usual banana leaf. It was rather big so I guess they must have made it themselves and the waiter confirmed that later. Although it was freshly made and filled with fish, I think it was overpriced at $10.50.
The haebihaem long beans which incidentally was not on the menu was a tad salty but the serving portion was very big.
I felt that the Sayur Lodeh was a bit too watery but there was a good mix of vegetables in it.

Overall, while a bit expensive, I couldn’t mind coming back for the nasi lemak. I heard the Chendol is good but I didn’t try that so maybe good excuse to go back.

Australia Diaries – Never Stop Exploring – Blue Mountains Prince Henry Cliff Walk to Leura Falls

The next day we set off from Echo Point to Leura Falls. Unlike the previous day, this was to be a full day hike which took us along the cliff of the Blue Mountains. Along the way, again beautiful view of the Blue Mountains and close up of the 3 Sisters

And we can never get enough of the Blue Mountains.

The highlight was again the many waterfalls along the way although the Bridal Veil Falls pale in comparison to those in other countries.

We eventually reached Leura at about 4 pm after stopping for a long picnic lunch and walked back from there to Katoomba to end our hiking adventure at the Blue Mountains.

Australia Diaries – Never Stop Exploring – Blue Mountains From Echo Point to Scenic World

Our first full day at the Blue Mountains and we decided to hike from Echo Point where we were staying to Scenic World.

We had ran part of the distance the previous evening, up to Katoomba Cascade and this time we continued onward to Scenic World using the Prince Henry Coastal Walk. There are many lookouts along the way and we stopped often to look out into the Jamison Valley and of course to look for birds.

There were also some steep stair climbing at the aptly named Furber Steps and the Giant Staircase.

We also got to walk practically on the cliff edge for quite a fair bit of the way

It wasn’t as far as we expected though. At Scenic World, we didn’t ride the cable car or the railway but walked around the trails looking at the display of the old coal mines and taking more photos before we made our way back to Echo Point.

The highlight of this trek I guess was the Katoomba Falls and the Katoomba Cascade. 

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Australia Diaries – Katoomba & Leura

During our time at the Blue Mountains, we stay at this little town called Katoomba. The old buildings there remind me of some old town in the movies.

But Katoomba is not without modern facilities. There is a small mall that has a supermarket where we got our supplies to cook our dinner.

From Katoomba, we hiked to Leura via the trails and spend a little bit of time in the town centre after that. We had tea at this nice little place.
And visited this ancient looking candy store.
We walked back from Leura to Katoomba via the road and took many nice photos of the buildings and flowers along the way.
Two nice little towns that is so different from the bustling cities. I just wished we had more time to explore the place further especially Leura which really look so charming.

Australia Diaries – Running – Blue Mountains

We drove straight from Sydney airport to the Blue Mountains but by the time we had our lunch and checked in, it was rather late in the evening. But since we were staying at Echo Point itself, we had to check out the place and then we the trails leading down from the lookout. And I knew I have to run – notwithstanding the cold and that it was going to get dark in barely 45 minutes.

Changed to a long sleeve top and short and off we went. We had no inkling where to run – got trail just run. There were actually 2 – one towards Leura and one towards Scenic World. We figured with our limited time to play safe and just ran to the right and u-turn when we feel that it was too dark to go on.

The trail was a fairly nice cemented path initially but gradually it became just a dirt trails with many steps going up and down.

Along the way, there were many “lookout point” where the Park authorities had conveniently put in barricades to stop people from falling over the cliff while admiring the valley down below.

We stopped too often to take photographs and by the time we reached Katoomba Falls Creek, it was getting dark.

Not willing to be caught in an unknown places in the dark and cold, we turned back reluctantly. We had only ran about 1.5 km making a total of 3 km return. Still it was a nice run made beautiful by the gorgeous view and the setting sun.

So beautiful that it make me want to come back and do the Ultra Trail Australia ……….