Thursday, 20 June 2013

Katoomba - Blue Mountains

Our first out-of-Sydney trip went to Katoomba up in the Blue Mountains. It's a great place to start exploring the Blue Mountains. It's a bit touristy down the main street but once you get off that there were hardly any people. Bear in mind that we were there during winter which I assume is some kind of low-season.


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Getting There
Katoomba is easy to get to using public transport. It's a 2 h, $9 train ride from Sydney Central.
131500 is a great place to check the train times and plan your trip.

The Carrington
The Carrington is a 100+ year old hotel in Katoomba close to the train station. There are many places to stay in the city naturally being a popular tourist destination but The Carrington is by far the most stylish place. It looks like something out of "The Shining" or an old Agatha Christie novel. We had the colonial room which didn't have the expected bath but a huge bed and high ceiling which gave that old time feeling.

Hike 1, Echo Point - Leura Forest

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The hike from Echo Point to Leura Forest was an easy but fun and beautiful hike. It took us about 3 hours to do the trip including lots of stops for photos and fika.

From Echo Point you get a great view over the 3 sisters which is 3 pillars of rock reaching up into the sky. The sisters are of importance in Aboriginal dream-time mythology.

Crimson Rosella

View from the three sisters platform.

From Echo Point you start the giant staircase towards the bottom of the valley. About 100 steps from the top there is a platform at the foot of the three sisters. The views are wonderful as you can see in the photos above and below. Most people stop here and then walk back up again. We continued all the way to the bottom to do our hike. It was a total of 894 steps from top to bottom. Nicole counted them ;)

 Nicole at the Three Sisters Platform.


 A fallen tree opens up the forest so you can see the thick rain forest. Only a few areas in New South Wales have rain forest. It requires not only heat and plenty of rain, but also it needs to be shielded from the dry winds. 

 Climbing a rock in Leura Forest. 

About 45 minutes after reaching the bottom of the stairs is Leura Forest. It's a beautiful place full of wildlife and thick rain forest. We found a camp site where big boulders are scattered and blended with trestle tables. We took a short break playing around on the rocks.

Continuing from Leura Forest we soon reached the stairways to the top. Another 900ish steps awaited us, we didn't count them this time.

Marguerite Cascades are found halfway up the stairs.

Parts of the stairs up to the top is a boardwalk since it would be too steep too walk. Some parts are also overgrown and go below the cliffs like this one.

 Old graffiti from 1914!
At the top of the stairs this magical view awaited us which made the hike feel extremely rewarding. Look carefully for the flocks of Cockatoos down in the valley.

Found this great mural on our walk back from the Hike. Can you name all the animals?

Our first day in Katoomba was great with a beautiful hike and a stroll through town and dinner at the RSL. Check back soon for a post about the next days hike.

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