The Blue Mountains, Echo Point and the view of the Three Sisters are likely, collectively, the most popular getaway from Sydney.
To see all three your destination is Katoomba. It's not the prettiest of towns and it seems to have fallen on some hard times as a few shops are empty, but there are also some good restaurants, a 19th-century hotel built in the grand old style and access to some great hiking, or bushwalking as it's called in Australia.
Please see below for information on
- Getting to and around Katoomba
- Where to stay in Katoomba
- And where to eat.
Here's are some photos to give you a sense of the hiking.
Hiking the Blue Mountains
But what you see there is just a smidgen of the Great Dividing Range that runs over 3,500 km along the eastern coast of Australia from Queensland through New South Wales to Victoria.
According to posters put up by the local authorities, more than 130 people get lost in the bush of the Blue Mountains every year and some don't make it out at all. I am not the most intrepid of hikers and therefore stayed with the path.
If you have a second day to hike in the mountains, take the bus to Leura and hike back stopping in at the Leura Cascade and working your way along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk to Echo Point.
About the Blue Mountains and Katoomba
- Getting to Katoomba. It's a two-hour train ride from Sydney and, bonus, go on a Sunday using your Opal Card and that ride will cost you just $2.50. Even if you return the same day because $2.50 is the maximum you can pay on public transit on a Sunday in Sydney and environs
- Getting around in Katoomba. The town has a local transit service that's quite functional for tourists and will save you the cost of tourist buses. It will take you to other Blue Mountain towns as well. They use the same Opal Card that is used in Sydney.
- Where to stay in Katoomba. To take the train to Katoomba, do a hike and return the same day would be absolutely exhausting. I have a budget and a more luxurious suggestion for your accommodation.
- YHA Blue Mountains– There's a photo of this hostel below. It's bright and welcoming.
- The Carrington Hotel – This is one of the original hotels built in the late 19th century to attract tourists to Katoomba. I had the cheapest room. There was no view but the stained glass windows compensated very nicely. The room was quite good while the entrance and rooms on the main floor are a little tired. If you don't stay there, take a break and have a drink on the massive front porch.
- Where to eat in Katoomba.
- The Station Bar has great pizza (I know that for sure), a casual atmosphere and music on occasion.
- The Yellow Deli is an unusual place in its decor and in its management. It's run by a Christian commune that has restaurants and cafes in many parts of the world.
- Cassiopeia Specialty Coffee is just off the main street at 79 Lurline Street. It's for the coffee purist and doesn't offer much in the way of food.