Have you ever been in a place that took your breath away because it wasn’t what you were expecting? That’s how I felt as I stood looking out over the rolling hills of Blue Mountains National Park in New South Wales, Australia. Before coming to Australia, I didn’t envision green jungles or even mountains.
The drive that transitioned us from the city to the mountains was incredible as I watched the environment change from crowded city streets to spacious rural living. The vivid greenery throughout the Jamison Valley reminded me of the time I visited the jungles of Costa Rica. As we began the descent into the jungle, I found myself in a completely clear state of mind and I felt a part of the country rather than just another by-passing tourist. I loved being immersed within the quiet. My favorite part about hiking is that there’s always a gorgeous ending destination. In this case, we ended up at a couple different waterfalls. I had to step back and take in the serene beauty before me. A feeling of complete calmness took over my body. I love finding the places in this world that still remain untouched by civilization.
I find it magical that Australia embraces their culture and always pays respect to the elders. They emphasize the importance of remembering who the traditional owners of the lands are. In order to tell aboriginal stories, one is required to get permission. Only certain people are allowed to pass on the stories. I have great admiration for the amount of respect this culture has. Luckily for us, our tour guide was able to tell us a story about “The Three Sisters,” which is a popular landmark.
The story briefly goes as follows: Three sisters had a father who was a witch doctor. Long ago there was a Bunyip who lived in a deep hole and was feared by all. Passing the hole was considered dangerous so the father would leave his daughters on the cliff behind a wall when he went out hunting for food. One day, the daughters accidentally angered the Bunyip and he came after them. Their father remembered that the Bunyip ate everything except rocks, so he quickly used his magic bone to turn the girls into stone and protect them. The Bunyip began to then chase the father, who quickly turned himself into a lyre bird, but in the process lost his magic bone. The Lyre Bird has been searching for the magic bone ever since. The Three Sisters remain as stone, hoping that one day their father will find the bone.
I have come to realize that you get more out of where you are if you choose to see the things that aren’t normally seen. If we change the way we see things, the things we see change too. Blue Mountains National Park is definitely a paradise for anyone looking to get out of the city and see a different side of Australia.
The world awaits…discover it.