Wednesday, 20 August 2014

A Short Stay in The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains is Popular With Daytrippers From Sydney and Overseas Visitors Alike

World heritage listed, a "City Within A National Park" these are just some of the descriptions and labels the Blue Mountains near Sydney wears with pride. Majestic escarpments, magical waterfalls and pools, amazing forest walks are just some of the gifts of nature this area has to offer. For most visitors a trip to the Blue Mountains means hopping off a tourist bus at the Three Sisters lookout followed by a trip on "The Scenic Railway" then back on the bus to Sydney.

The Three Sisters Rock Formation, Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales, Australia
Dallas Stribley
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The Blue Mountains


The area known as The Blue Mountains is located about an hour west of Sydney. It consists of a string of villages spread along The Great Western Highway which traverses the ridge of the range from the western plains of Sydney to the Central West region of New South Wales. From Lapstone in the east to Lithgow in the west is 83km and takes around an hour and a half to drive without stops. In the north of the region is the less populated Bells Line Of Road which connects Kurrajong with Lithgow.

Surrounded by National Park, The Blue Mountains is a wonderland of bushwalking trails which lead to delightful falls and picturesque pools, stunning outlooks and magnificent lookdowns.

This photo of a Banksia flower was taken by me on the Katoomba Falls walk.

The Blue Mountains Region

Katoomba Falls Walking Track

This is a really easy walk with not too many stairs to descend or climb. Commencing at the car park near the Katoomba campground at the old Kiosk, there is a short descent down to the bottom of Katoomba Falls. From there the track follows a sandy bottomed creek which meanders through ferns and taller trees until you reach a lookout to the east of the Three Sisters. This can be a round trip or you can continue on to Echo Point and The Three Sisters.


Get Yourself Some Good Hiking Boots

Your Walk Will Be More Pleasurable If Your Feet Are Comfortable

Vasque Women’s Wasatch GTX Hiking Boot

Even on short walks, the Blue Mountains tracks can be uneven, rocky, muddy or have protruding roots. I recommend good hiking boots even if it is only a one hour stroll as there are often unexpected surfaces to negotiate.

I think the Vasque Women's Wasatch GTX Hiking Boot is an amazing piece of footwear. It is tough, has good arch and ankle support and it keeps your feet dry. These boots are ultra comfortable and need very little if any breaking in. Buy Now

Six Foot Track Katoomba

A view from Cliff View lookout in Nellie’s Glenn area (less a kilometer south of the western end of Six Foot Track, west of Katoomba). The cliff on the left is under Katoomba’s west side (Peckman’s Plateau), the one of the right – part of Radiata Plateau.

Image used under a Creative Commons licence from Wikimedia Commons


If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking.
Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk. 
~Raymond Inmon


Most visitors to the Blue Mountains invariably end up in Katoomba and it’s easy to see why. The spectacular Echo Point with its view of The Three Sisters which are so easily accessible is also a great starting point for some easy short walks. The village of Katoomba itself has some of the best cafes in the mountains interspersed with other interesting shops and small galleries. Katoomba is also home to Scenic World. Once the site of a coal mining operation, the train which transported workers into the valley is still operational. Now known as The Scenic Railway. This is more like an amusement park ride then a historic museum piece.
Come for a ride on the world’s steepest railway!

The Scenic Railway

The Indiana Jones theme is a great touch!

Hand Feeding The Wild Birds At Scenic World

Admittedly it’s a little bit theme park but it is still a fantastic way to get a Blue Mountains experience if you are limited in time. It is also a great way for those with limited mobility to get a bottom of the valley experience that might otherwise be denied them. There are several ways to see the valley but the most popular is to descend via The Scenic Railway, ‘the world’s steepest railway’ walk along the rainforest boardwalk to the lower Scenic Cableway station then return via the Cableway. While waiting to board the Scenic Railway visitors will usually see wild birds including these colourful King Parrots which we spotted while waiting to board one misty day

Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds: Volume 4: Parrots to Dollarbirds

Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds: Volume 4: Parrots to Dollarbirds

Australia has the most amazing birds especially the parrot varieties. This book is an exhaustive reference guide to these spectacular birds.
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The Rainforest Boardwalk

Once you reach the bottom of the Scenic Railway take the Scenic Walkway for a wonderful look at the rainforest of the Jameson Valley. There are a number of options from the direct ten minute walk through to a 30 minute winding route all of which end up at the bottom station of the Scenic Cableway for the return ascent journey out of the valley.

I took this photo of the boardwalk when I took my cousin and his wife out for the day.

Spend A Couple Of Hours At Scenic World

World's Steepest Train! Scenic Railway Blue Mountains.

Warning Notices Along The Scenic Walkway

Don't Let These Warnings Put You Off A Short Stay in the Blue Mountains

Along your walk be sure to look out for informative signposts directing your attention to various features of the landscape and historical aspects of the areas previous uses. Often the signs are humourous like this one warning of some of the risks associated with the boardwalk itself.

Photo taken by me.

Scenic World Webcam

Blue Mountains Cafes

Grab A Coffee Or A Bite To Eat After Your Walk

The Blue Mountains has some fabulous cafes. They are all very different, most combine coffee with another experience, a gallery, a deli, an antique store. Exploring Blue Mountains cafes is an experience in itself.
  • The Hatters Cafe at the bottom of Katoomba Street is warm and welcoming. Open for breakfast seven days, dinner fRiday and Saturday and coffee and cake anytime, this licensed cafe caters for kids and tricky diets alike.
  • The Talisman Gallery on the Great Western Highway in Little Hartley showcases beautiful wrought iron and metalwork alongside the eatery where you can grab a coffee or enjoy a meal of woodfired pizza.
  • The Conservation Hut is a must-visit. Situated on the edge of the escarpment overlooking the beautiful Jamison Valley. Start or finish a number of lovely walks from here into the Valley Of The Waters across to Wentworth Falls or the beautiful Nature Track circuit. Enjoy good coffee and a lovely cake selection in front of a warming open fireplace.
  • The Blue Mountains Chocolate Company is down Lurline Street on the way to Echo Point. Of course the star of this cafe is the chocolate which is handmade on site. They also supply interesting chocolates from around the world. For a delicious and warming alternative to coffee, order the hot chocolate which comes as warmed milk over a flame to which you add the chocolate as desired!

While you are up this way.. really should check out Jenolan Caves

Klingon Cave Tours

In August 2010, a well-known cave system near Sydney Australia became the first tourist attraction to offer self guided tours in the Klingon language. The momentous...

1 comment:

Rhonda Albom said...

One day I really do hope to get back there and head out to your blue mountains.

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