Friday, October 4, 2013

How Do You Throw a Boomerang?

Image of: Australian boomerang in someone's hand.
When time permits, we give adventurers on our Blue Mountain day tours the opportunity to learn how to throw a boomerang.  However, today we want to walk you through the process.  This way you can come prepared and enjoy the boomerang sport in your free time before the day of your tour.

The great thing about a boomerang is, unlike other sports objects, you don't need a second player.  Because boomerangs return to the thrower (when thrown right), you can enjoy the activity by yourself.  In addition to preparing to show off your skills on our Blue Mountain day tours, you can also give yourself a way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors after a day of office work.

Before we move on though, have you ever wondered who first asked the question: How do you throw a boomerang? 

In Farm Cove, Australia, in 1804, a group of western people came across a tribal gathering where the boomerang was being used as a weapon during a skirmish.  As curious onlookers, you can rest assured they were wondering the same thing you're wondering now – How do you throw a boomerang?!

Step 1: Imagine it Functioning Like a Helicopter

Unlike a frisbee, a boomerang has open space on the top and bottom, which causes it to operate like a helicopter.  Just think of a boomerang as a helicopter without a body of steel attached to it. 

Using this analogy, think of what happens when you hold a boomerang like a frisbee.  If you throw a boomerang horizontally, it will accelerate like a helicopter; it will push against gravity and rise to the sky. This is why you need to throw a boomerang vertically

Well, nearly vertically.  It's best to hold it at about a 20-degree angle so the boomerang has more of a chance of looping back to you.

Now that you're holding the boomerang nearly vertically, when you release forces will push against its side and cause it to accelerate in a straight line.  Because the surface area on the top and bottom of a frisbee are negligible, there's little interference.

Step 2: Hold it Like a Boomerang, Not Like a Frisbee

If you want it to work right, you have to hold it right.  Giving it a random throw will bring you right back to typing in How do you throw a boomerang?

To hold it right, follow these directions:

·         Make sure the V-point, or elbow, is pointed toward you
·         Hold at the end of the bottom wing with a loose grip
·         A boomerang has curved edges on its wings – make sure these face the left

Important: If you're left-handed you'll have to buy a left-handed boomerang.  Throwing a regular boomerang with your left hand will not work out in your favor!

Step 3: Account for Environmental Factors

To ensure the boomerang returns to you, make sure you account for the wind outside.  A good way to test how strong it is and what direction it's moving in is to grab some loose grass.  When you have a few strands of grass, throw them up in the air in front of you.  The wind will carry them in the direction it's moving in.  Also, by judging the speed at which the grass is carried, you'll get an idea of the wind's strength.

With this estimation in mind, adjust your stance accordingly.  For instance, if the wind is pushing slightly to the east, adjust your stance slightly to the west.

Useful Tip: For every 1 km/h unit of wind speed, move yourself 1 degree in the opposite direction.  For instance, if the wind is moving at 20 km/h, adjust yourself 20 degrees.

Step 4: Throw it Like a Baseball

When you have the right grip and stance, it's time to give throw it.  Like you would throwing a ball, lead with the foot opposite your throwing hand.  Bring the boomerang back – just behind your ear – and release with a snap.  The snapping action is very important.  Without the snap, your boomerang will have slow spin, and spin is what propels the boomerang and brings it back to you.

Step 5: Now You can Treat it Like a Frisbee

Beginners always make the mistake of trying to catch a boomerang with one hand.  They neglect the fact that the boomerang has hard blades and, despite the blades' roundness, receive a painful sting along with their one-handed catch.

To make a successful catch that won't hurt your hand, use both hands.  When the boomerang is just in front of you, make a clapping motion – one hand on top of the boomerang and the other on the bottom.

Now that you know how to throw a boomerang, we look forward to seeing you on our Blue Mountain Day tours!  To book a tour, contact us online or call 61.2.9636.6111.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Seven Mountains, Seven Continents

Every mountaineer dreams of climbing the world’s greatest mountain ranges. Conquering Everest and Kilimanjaro are worthy goals, ones that drive climbers to the edges of the Earth seeking thrills. Every country and every continent offers beautiful, sprawling mountain ranges to explore, for beginners and advanced climbers.

With so many mountains and so little time, how are you supposed to choose which ones you want to take on?

Here is a short list to help you get started! We’ve chosen a mountain or range from each of the seven continents that you can travel to and climb. Start at one of these suggestions, or use it to find your own mountain.

Asia: Mount Rinjani
Mount Rinjani is not just any mountain: it is also an active volcano. Located in Indonesia on the island of Lombok, the volcano is the second highest in Indonesia. The volcano’s caldera is partially filled with a crater lake, known as Segara Anak. The caldera also contains hot springs. Protected by the Gunung Rinjani National Park, touring is getting more popular all the time, and the views are worth the climb.

Africa: the Atlas Mountains
While Kilimanjaro is one of the biggest draws for mountaineers, the Atlas Mountains are a not-to-be-missed adventure. Stretching across northwest Africa, the range is home to a variety of plants and animals unique to that region; many are endangered. There is a calm and peace about this range, with Berber mud villages and superb trekking. Multi-day tours are best to see as much of it as you can.

Europe: the Matterhorn
The Matterhorn is said to be the home of mountaineering, and how could any climber resist that? This giant mountain in the Alps has four steep faces that rise above the surrounding glaciers, facing north, south, east, and west. The name itself means “meadow peak,” speaking to the verdant meadows on the mountain. There is a 10-day tour offered, which includes the alpine meadows, balcony trails, larch forests, and glacial crossings that make for an extraordinarily scenic trek.

South America: Machu Picchu
The ancient Inca village is located 2,430 feet above sea level, settled above the Sacred Valley. It has becomes an important tourist destination, with much of the village being restored to give visitors a better idea of what it really looked like when it was built in 1450. In fact, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and hiking up to see it is unforgettable and humbling.

North America: the Grand Canyon
While not technically a “mountain range,” the Grand Canyon still entices climbers from all over to traverse its gorges. It is one of the more grueling treks, as climbers go straight down and then back up, but it is completely worth it. The red stones, even prettier when drenched in the colors of sunrise or sunset, offer an amazing challenge and rewarding views.

Australia: the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains borders on Sydney’s metropolitan area, and the range has both aboriginal and European history. Rock climbers, mountain bikers, and hikers can all enjoy a trip to the Blue Mountains, and they have been listed as a World Heritage. The mountains are named for the blue haze that forms from Eucalyptus oil and waves of light. With breathtaking scenery and a range of guided tours, every mountaineer at every skill level can appreciate the Aussie views.

Antarctica: Transantarctic Mountains
While Antarctica is for the most serious mountaineers, the Transantarctic Mountains are still a goal to be met. Faceted in snowy white, these mountains are not for the faint of heart. Requiring snow mobiles, expert guides, and lots of equipment, the trek is one that will last a lifetime. The trek brings people together, and the snow-bound wonderland you can see from the top is remarkable.

These seven must-climb mountains on our seven continents all offer something different for each mountaineer. Whether you are a beginner or could climb Everest with your eyes closed, you can appreciate each of these ranges impressive beauty.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sydney Tourists: Here's What You Need to See ...

In addition to seeing the popular hotspots in the city – Sydney's Opera House at Bennelong Point, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and the Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi Beach – it's important to experience the beauty and history that surrounds the city.

Sydney day tours give you the opportunity to see the beauty within plus the beauty that surrounds.  You'll get to explore the Blue Mountains, ride the steepest railway in the world, see the Three Sisters mountain peaks, the Waradah Aboriginal Center and the Sydney Olympic Park.

The Blue Mountains

Many people who visit Sydney get too caught up in the city life and forget to explore the nature that surrounds the city.  Sydney day tours offer a perfect mix of nature and manmade attractions. 

In the Blue Mountains, you'll explore historic cities located in the valleys of the mountains and experience the wondrous wildlife and landscapes that make them.  You'll stand on mountaintops, see shifting, verdant landscapes as far as the eye can see, and ride amazing manmade systems like the Scenic Railway that takes you on a wild ride through nature.

The Waradah Aboriginal Center

Located in the historic city of Katoomba within the Blue Mountains, the Warradah Aboriginal Center offers people on day tours in Sydney a glimpse of what existed before modern society.  You'll have the opportunity to see enlightening historical displays, didgeridoo performances and authentic artwork. 

Sydney's Olympic Park

The Sydney Olympic Park that hosted the 2000 Summer Olympics is now a vibrant community of sports, education, music and social activity.  Located just outside the city, you can see the fields and arenas where the 2000 Summer Olympics took place, as well as participate in events going on that day.  It's an entire community complete with restaurants, bars, sports, concerts and other live entertainment.  If you're looking for a daylong adventure, this is the place to go.  Or you can get a taste for it on one of the Sydney day tours.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Useful Equipment for the Inexperienced Hiker

There are a number of popular motives that prompt people to go hiking.  Some people simply want to stay active while others want to experience the bliss and beauty of nature.  In addition, some people decide to go hiking to capture photos, see wild animals or clear their mind.

Regardless of motive, there are some essential pieces of equipment every hiker should have when first starting out.  You'll benefit most from this breakdown equipment if you're a beginner, but experienced hikers may take something away from this too. 

If you're experienced, you probably already have a system developed.  For instance, you know what to take with you, what to look for and what to take away from the experience.  Beginners – since they have limited hiking experience – don't have a system constructed yet and, therefore, don't know what to bring besides themself.  That's why we're going to give you – our adored beginner hikers – a breakdown of equipment to have so you open yourself up to all possibilities 

Small Camera

Even if you're not an avid picture taker, you should bring a camera to every new hiking destination.

Bringing something small is ideal.  A smartphone camera with 8 megapixels or more works perfectly.  Just put your phone on airplane mode so you'll remain undisturbed from the outside world.  If you have a phone like the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4, you're set.  They afford great picture quality while remaining un-burdensome during your hiking experience.  

Whether you're taking a trip to the Blue Mountains or Grand Canyon, there's always going to be something worthy of remembrance.  Whether you decide to take a photo with your mind, camera, or both is for you to decide. 

Having a small camera ensures that you have the availability to take a picture if you have the urge.  Even if you're not fond of taking pictures in general, you never know what internal desires nature will spur.  During your hike, you may want that camera after all.  So bring it just in case.

Hiking Shoes

Hiking shoes with a strong and lightweight build are ideal for hiking any type of terrain.  Hiking boots are too heavy while tennis shoes are too light, in terms of both weight and foot protection. 

In addition to keeping you comfortable, hiking shoes also allow you to scale rocky and steep terrain with ease.  The heaviness of hiking boots holds you down while tennis shoes cause slippage.  Hiking shoes offer just the right amount of grip and weight.  The weight-scalability and usefulness-comfort ratios are often superior to with hiking shoes than boots.

As you start going on more hiking adventures, you'll discover what kind of shoe you like.  Hiking shoes are just a great starting block to finding what you do like.  As you hike more and more, you'll discover whether they're too light or heavy.  From there, you can experiment with other footwear.

A Journal

Just like everything else listed here, a journal isn't necessary for a great hiking experience.  However, it's a good thing to take with you on your initial hiking trips.  Since hiking is a very personal and natural experience, you're contemplative mind opens up.  Your mind is open to clear thinking and new ideas.  This is why bringing a journal is appropriate.

For some, escaping into nature is a retreat from society as much as an offer of objective insight into society.  When your mind is quieted by nature and beauty, you look at things in a different light.  Ideas are products of calm contemplation instead of anticipation and worry.

Bring a journal the first time.  Like a small camera, it's a good thing to have just in case.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

The 5 Coolest Animals in Australia's Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains, located in New South Wales, Australia, is home to some of the most beautiful animals around.  It's a place where birds, snakes, lizards and fury creatures live in harmony and offer endless entertainment to tourist upon tourist.  Today, we're going to take a look at some of the coolest animals you can find while exploring the Blue Mountains.

Spotted Tail Quoll

Although it may look like Australia's version of the North American prairie dog, it's completely different in character.  At first glance, the spotted tail quoll, also known as the tiger quoll, seems cute.  You look at it with a smile, soaking in the adorability of its white spots, pointy face and long tail. 

Until you see it snatch a bird from the sky! 

That's right, unlike the prairie dog, the quoll is carniverous.  As the largest carniverous marsupial in Australia, it feeds on birds, lizards, insects and more.  Basically anything with a pulse that's smaller than a kookaburra.

Laughing Kookaburra

There are two species of kookaburra – the blue-winged kookaburra and the laughing kookaburra.  Both of these are located within the kingfisher family of birds; however, only one of them is located in the Blue Mountains.  Ironically, it's not the blue-winged kookaburra.

The laughing kookaburra is one of the most popular birds in the Blue Mountains and is named appropriately after its unique call.  Instead of tweeting and chirping like other small birds, it creates a high-pitched laughing sound.  Also unlike birds of its size, it's known for hunting down snakes.  As an animal with a structured social system, these birds definitely have something to feel good and laugh about.  You'll find them laughing loudest after they make a red-bellied black snake kill.

Red-Bellied Black Snake

There are about 100 species of snakes in Australia and 19 of those species are located in the Blue Mountains.  The red-bellied black snake is among the most popular and, although inefficient at injecting venom, is a snake people are urged to keep their distance from while exploring the majesty of the Blue Mountains.  Holding true to its name, this snake does indeed have a red belly that can be seen from all sides. 

Aside from the red-bellied black snake and other venomous species, the Blue Mountains are home to non-venomous snakes.  Out of the 100 species in Australia, only about 18 are venomous and not all of them are located in the Blue Mountains.


If you thought the North American groundhog was big, think again.  The wombat is the largest burrowing animal in the world.  Weighing in at 40 kilograms when fully grown, the wombat has a cute, cuddly appearance and is perhaps the friendliest looking burrower ever.  Its grayish blackish hair is smooth and its face is round and inviting.

In New South Wales, there are three types of wombats.  The wombat located in the Blue Mountains is simply known as the common wombat.  When people take tours to the Blue Mountains, the wombat remains elusive and is never seen.

Lace Monitor

This is one of the 37 species of lizards located in the Blue Mountains.  Although incredibly big – 4- to 7-feet long! –this lizard can be hard to spot.  Its blackish tan skin makes it hard to see in the light of day when surrounded by brown grass, twigs and fallen branches.

Also known as the common goanna, this lizard is prevalent in the lower Blue Mountains. Female lace monitors lay up to 12 eggs at a time and quickly bury them to evade detection.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tips for Keeping your Family Outing Fun and Fulfilling

Whether you are a husband, wife, father, or mother, your family is probably one of the most important things in your life. You work hard to ensure they have clothes on their backs, three meals a day, and a roof to sleep under. Though it is very likely they appreciate your endeavors, you may accidentally be withholding from them the one very important thing they need – time together with you.

Getting caught up in our job happens to the best of us, but sometimes a short break from the daily grind can be therapeutic. If you can only manage to step away from the salt mines for a single day there are still plenty of activities your family can enjoy together – the events offered by Blue Mountain Day Tour are a prime example. It’s important to make sure, however, that your vacation doesn’t fall victim to many of the simple problems which can transform a family outing into trouble for everyone involved. Here are a few helpful hints to keep everyone in your entourage comfortable and satisfied while out and about.

Check the Weather

If you are going to be walking around for the entire day, it’s a good idea to know what you should expect from Mother Nature. Even a stroll along the most beautiful mountaintop can become frustrating if you can’t stop shivering. If it looks like it might rain, you can purchase a travel umbrella. They’re relatively cheap, light weight, and can be stored in hand bags or backpacks easily. Also, if inclement weather is due cause to cancel your trip it is better to decide sooner rather than later if you should reschedule.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

This might seem like a no brainer, yet underestimating how long it will be until you return to your home or hotel can happen. It might seem like a good idea to wear something extravagant while on vacation, but if you realize it was a bad idea an hour into your trip it will already be too late to change. Typical suggestions include loose fitting outfits that allow room for movement and shoes that are easy on the feet. It’s also important to remember that what each person considers comfortable may be different. Ensure that each person understands how much walking they will be doing, what temperature it will be, and allow them to decide what sort of clothing makes sense to them.

Snacks Never Hurt

Just like comfort, everyone has a different set of eating habits. There will most likely be plenty of opportunities to grab some grub on the go, but dealing with an empty stomach can turn the kindest kid into a grouch. Light, healthy snacks can keep the hunger at bay until everyone can sit down for a proper meal, and can also give you a boost in stamina during your wanderings. Crackers, pretzels, granola bars, or other dry foods are easy to handle and produce little garbage. Also, water is an absolute must! Dehydration is no joke, and it can happen to anyone if they exert themselves too much. Keep hydrated by bringing a refillable canteen along, or purchase small water bottles that won’t be a hassle to carry about.


Friday, April 12, 2013

World's Steepest Railway Gets $30 Million Facelift

Two friends are standing on top of the Blue Mountains.  After signing up for a Sydney day tour, visiting the wildlife park at Featherdale and navigating the mountain terrain beneath the wondrous Three Sisters, their journey has brought them here … to the Scenic railway – the steepest railway in the world.

"I don't know about this," one friend says, watching people in the carriage before them plummet into the dense forest below.

"What are you afraid of?" his friend asks.

"The angle, the tracks, the carriage, the chance that maybe …"

"Don't worry," his friend says.  "They just sank $30 million into this.  They renovated the tracks, carriages, control system, winch, even the platform we're standing on!"

The nervous friend is relieved.  He's comforted by the fact that Scenic World – the designer of the railway – is committed to pairing excitement with safety.  The renovation gives him the confidence he needs to experience the ride of a lifetime.

Safety Reinforced, Experience Intensified

When Autumn 2013 rolls around, the renovation of Scenic World's railway will be completed.  Although the renovation wasn't initiated for safety reasons, cautious tourists and seasoned explorers alike will flock to the new railway upon completion to experience a new thrill.

Scenic World Railway - World's steepest railwayAccording to Scenic World, "after making over 400,000 journeys, the carriages are due for an upgrade & we’ve made some design improvements that will make the experience even better!"  Scenic World also recognizes the fact that machine life is finite and it's better to repair something when it's working than wait for it to malfunction. 

In addition to replacing and refurbishing vital components of the railway, Scenic World is also using funds to pay homage to the Mountain Devils.  They say people will just have to wait to see what this entails, but assure the history behind the train and its surrounding environment will be more vivid than ever before.

If you're visiting Australia or a native who has yet to explore the Blue Mountains, various Sydney day tours offer a unique opportunity to do experience the Blue Mountains in all their glory.  Also, if you sign up for a Sydney day tour with Anderson's Tours, you'll have the opportunity to ride the new railway starting Autumn 2013. 

For 17 years, Andersons has included the railway in every one of its adventures.