On 25th November 2013, we told ourselves that we had to go out; by hook or by crook because we only have two days left (the last day obviously would be slated for departure, back home)! Hence, we pushed off for Blue Mountains although initially there were rumours and hearsay about tourists banned from entering Blue Mountains due to the bushfire. But Alhamdulillah when we asked, it was alright to go. So, off we went!
The Three Sisters at Blue Mountain, New South Wales in Australia!
The journey to Blue Mountain from Campsie took approximately 3 hours to arrive. From Campsie, we headed to Lidcombe to change the train; straight from Lidcombe towards Penrith. Now, from Penrith, we had to wait for around 40 minutes for the Blue Mountains Line train heading up straight up the Katoomba, the nearest station to Blue Mountain tourist attractions which include the famous Three Sisters! You guys can check the NSW Sydney Train maps at this site for the Suburban Map (http://www.sydneytrains.info/stations/pdf/suburban_map.pdf) & the Intercity Map (http://www.sydneytrains.info/stations/pdf/intercity_map.pdf). Luckily we have our MyMulti card so we can use all the public transportation from 18th November – 26th November 2013! For me, it was really a defining moment to discover the panoramic views of the Australian suburbs and secluded places. From hustle bustles cities, the train slithered like a snake into the Blue Mountains area where you could see vast meadows and trees aligned as the train entered forests. And when it started to climb to reach the apex, you could see a blue yonder vista of trees and sometimes, there were secluded houses and hill mansions located hidden beyond the trees. Subhanallah!
From meadows to forest of trees. On the way to Blue Mountains!
Can you see a mansion?
Katoomba is a town in the City of Blue Mountains. According to Wikipedia, the name derived from “Kedumba” which is an Aboriginal term for “water cascading down”; perhaps refer to the waterfall nearby. You guys can read more in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katoomba. Fascinating! When we reached at Katoomba, it was really cold because we were on a mountain! So you can imagine from a sunny Campsie and we didn’t bring our jackets and everything (I meant to; but I accidentally left it at home!) to the shivering cold mountain wind of Katoomba which was really chilly! Geez! Luckily I brought my winter gloves and muffler! We took a free shuttle bus (there is also an Explorer Bus but you need to pay for that!) at the terminal in front of Carrington Hotel.
Katoomba train station. Ayah was yawning – well, it was 3 hours journey from Campsie! What did you expect?!
Bathurst Road at the township of Katoomba.
Riding a free shuttle bus at the terminal in front of Carrington Hotel!
We arrived at the Echo Point Lookout which was the spot where one can have the first glimpse of the greenery vista. Subhanallah! Although the mountain wind was blowing madly and we instantaneously shivered and felt chilly, but the sight of the creation really mesmerizing! Subhanallah, God SWT is Great! You guys can check this site : http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/Blue-Mountains-National-Park/Echo-Point-lookout-three-sisters/lookout. We were so fixated with the extraordinary view and not far from the lookouts, we could see the famous Three Sisters stood majestically at our left handsides! Now, according to Wikipedia, the “Three Sisters” are a rock formation of which respectively named as Meehni, Wimlah & Gunnedoo. Interesting names, eh?
The Echo Point Lookout!
A stone etching the variation of names for Katoomba.
The Queen Elizabeth Lookout as she observed the beautiful panorama in 1954.
Aborigine legends said that the three rock formations were actually three maiden from a tribe who wanted to marry another three men from another tribe but it was forbidden by the tribal law. Hence, the men tried to capture the maidens by force but in order to save the honour of the tribe, the elders turned the maidens into three rocks. Whoa, I love history and legends. I know some people find histories a bit dry topic but I like it!
The majestic Three Sisters!
Subhanallah! No words can describe the beautiful creation of ALLAH SWT.
A “selfie”, courtesy of a random Korean tourist. Hahaha! Tourists, they are always so helpful!
The wild faunas found in Blue Mountains. Fascinating!
A wild cockatoo perched on a branch! Very artistic view, I say!
Anyway as usual, we had our home-cooked luncheon (budget-savvy!) at a stone bench at the lookout area albeit it was windy and our hands were shivering! Well, we didn’t give a damn about people walking here and fro watching us – I mean; whatever, OK? Hahhaa! We had our usual rice and bananas. Suddenly, the wind blew even stronger and the echo due to the flow through mountain was becoming more intimidating! We saw the clouds were becoming murkier; and rain began to drizzle! Luckily we had finished our luncheon and off we ran to have a shelter in a building nearby. Now, as we taking time having shelter from the rain, we bumped into Kakak’s junior/ex-UPM mates who also happened to be a teacher! She went there with another friend; so it was nice to see another Malaysians abroad.
Our home-cooked luncheon. Do we care about the walking tourists? Nay! Haha!
The after rain effect. So cold, misty and foggy! Brrrrr!
The rain drizzled but the atmosphere was foggy and misty. It was so cold ; but the journey had to go on. Kakak decided to visit a Chocolate cafe/gallery namely The Blue Mountains Chocolate Company. I guess that was a good idea to have hot chocolate during the cold weather, no? So, we walked along the road which was quite an uphill route and it was really chilly! Fogs were everywhere… and it created a sense of mystery, which I always like! At last we reached the cafe at Lurline Street and we were welcomed by a Filipino counter-lady. Talked about multiracial in Australia! It was a nice place and at the end corner with transparent glass separating us, there was a chef (I don’t know what you call them. Chocolate-man?) baking and making chocolates – which somehow more or less like a proof that all of their chocolates are hand-made/home-made. Now, what special about these (or perhaps it is a norm in drinking Westernized hot chocolates, I don’t know because I never drink one except the cheap MILO! Haha!) hot chocolates are that milks were served in steel elongated cups with little candle underneath! So, the heat will keep the milk warm; and then there were chocolates cereals being served; which would melt inside the milk! And the spoon was quite unique as well! A steel spoon but the handle were made into a straw, as well. So, it is a steel spoon-straw. Splendid!
The Chocolate Company at Lurline Street, Blue Mountains.
Well, I am not a chocolate fan so I didn’t really went hysterical with the cafe. But I did enjoy savouring the chocolate cereals as they were not the normal cereals but a full small chocolate ball; I just didn’t know what to call them! It was nice also to expose Ayah to this new environment and the Filipino counter-lady was very friendly and helpful. Kudos to her and the cafe/gallery. You guys can check the review here : http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g261618-d646824-Reviews-Blue_Mountains_Chocolate_Company-Katoomba_Blue_Mountains_New_South_Wales.html.
This is what I meant. The candle underneath to keep it constantly warm & the chocolate cereal to be melt in with the milk within the elongated cup.
A heaven for chocolate freak!
The chef/chocolate-man baking the hand-made/home-made chocolates.
Anyway, as the rain started to recede, we made way back to the Echo Point terminal (and Ayah was forever pestering Kakak & I to but cigarettes for him since he is a heavy smoker and he didn’t bring any ciggies to Australia. Furthermore, he wanted to show ‘Australian ciggy’ to his friends! LOL!) and boarded the bus back to Katoomba Train Station. By that time, it was already 4.00 p.m. So, the train went down straight to Central Train Station in Sydney CBD; so you could imagine the distance! We went to perform prayer at King Feisal Mosque in Surry Hills and then off to the Malaysian-owned restaurant called “Kasturi”, which is Halal certified by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (refer to : http://www.zabihah.com/d/Sydney+17597+Cafe-Kasturi/).
At Kasturi Cafe, a Malaysian Moslem owned restaurant; underneath Valentine On George hotel!
Initially, Kakak wanted to bring Mak and us to “Kasturi” right after our Paddy’s Market trip but it closes on Sundays. So, with the trip (minus Mak who stayed at home in Campsie), we tried our luck with Kasturi Cafe which is situated at George Street. Yes, it was opened! We were welcomed by the owner of which we never asked but had the privilege to take photograph with (due to myself being nonchalance on ‘shyness’!); and were treated nicely. There were few people dining and the ambiance was very relaxing and conducive. There was also a baby-chair for Raess. We were actually feeling very famished, I have to say :-
- Ayah ordered “Nasi Paprik” , Thai stir-fry with fresh chilies, basil and lime leaves;
- Kakak & Rifqi ordered Soto Ayam Rice dumplings served in chicken broth with bean sprouts, vermicelli & fried onion;
- Abang Zam & I ordered Hainanese Chicken Rice Roasted or steamed chicken (YUMMY!!!!!!)
AND, the delicious Hainanese Chicken Rice Roasted Chicken!!!! Hmmmm!! YUMMY! I can still remembered the soft and crispy texture! Makes my mouth water as I am jotting this down, you know! I don’t mind paying AUD 14.80 for this! LMAO!
We were actually contemplated of ordering more side-dishes like satays but the owner advised us to be too hasty because the ordered potions were already more than enough for us Asian stomachs! Hahaha! Nevertheless, I have to say that I LOVE THE HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE ROASTED CHICKEN!!!!!!!!!! Oh, my God!! So delicious and I can still remember the taste as I am jotting this down! Perhaps because it was cooked Chinese style (crispy on the outside and soft meat in the inside) of which I am familiarized with due to our trip to Hong Kong last year 2012 (https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/hong-kong-the-melting-pot-of-asians-caucasians-estuary-of-races-religions/); but simply delicious – and trust me, I don’t mind paying AUD 14.80 for that! Hahhahaa! The “Teh tarik” however was just an OK but then we were also served with biscuits for dessert. The hospitality was very top-notch for us, typical budget travellers.
“Teh tarik”; mediocre & just a “so-so”.
Kasturi Cafe at George Street. Make sure you guys go here, if you wanna have a nice authentic Malaysian cuisine!
We talked to the owner and it was nice to know that a fellow Malaysian is doing well in Australia. He even bought the whole building where on the 1st floor, a banquet hall called “Golden Cinnamon Banquet Room” is located whereas the upper floors are slated for hotel called Valentine On George – and all owned by him! We thought that he must be a “someone” since the cafe and the hotel was officiated by the Sultan of Kedah (there is a plaque stone etched on the wall). It was nice talking to him and he told us that every year he will come back to Malaysia just to make his daughters familiarize with the entity and culture of Malays, of which you can’t never find the authentic taste in Australia, of course. Kakak told him that she actually already perused Valentine On George as she was scouting for our Aussie vacation place but unfortunately it was already full. You know, Valentine On George is undeniably a strategic place for Malaysians to bunk-in especially Moslems because not only it is at the heart of Sydney CBD and not that far from all the tourist attractions, it also serves Halal food with prayer room! So, do check the site at http://www.valentineongeorge.com/cafekasturi/ for more details!
One for the album; with the “Kasturi Cafe” & “Valentine On George” owner. Unfortunately, I didn’t ask his name. Great hospitality!
On whole, it was another satisfying day for us before we departed back to Malaysia y’all!
As usual, cam-whore is the best picture to end any entries! Hahahahha!