Escape the city smog, for a day of fresh Blue-Mountains air
Starting at Echo Point, you will instantly be blown away by spectacular panoramic views of the Southern Blue Mountains. The famous Three Sisters rock formation is right there and you’re only metres away from the Giant Stairway, which will leave your legs shaking madly!
Before setting off on your expedition, step into the information centre where you will find loads of maps and helpful advice from friendly staff. The walks are far ranging in length and difficulty, and there is a huge selection of different tracks to take. So it’s a good idea to get advice before heading out. Once you are out there everything is well signed, paths are well trodden and there are happy-adventurers all around if you need to be steered in the right direction.
You can stay up high, enjoying the view as you walk the mountain edges. Or zig-zag down the cliff, via the Giant Stairway, which has approximately 900 steep and narrow steps. It takes you 190m deep down amongst the mountain wilderness and leaves you free to discover the wonders from within.
The air is a crisp pleasure to breathe in, as rays of sunshine warm up your path from between the trees. Curious calls of ‘kooee’ ring out from fellow hikers and distant sounds of cascading water-falls beckon you toward them. Love-seats abound, to rest upon while you soak it all in, and helpful directions carved into rocks will inspire you to keep on moving.
The Blue Mountains are rich with history and culture which you can learn about along the way. See evidence of the indigenous people who once occupied the land and believe the earth is mother to their people’s spirits, and explore the history of the miners of the late 1800’s.
When you are ready to make your way back to the top of the mountain, your choice of how to do it, will greatly depend on the state of your legs. If you are still full of energy, walk the 1040 ‘Fuber Steps’. This is less strenuous than the Giant Stairway, but there’s no denying that’s A LOT of steps and it will take about 45 minutes. If time or your legs have failed you, the Scenic Railway is at your rescue.
The Scenic Railway is the steepest cable-driven funicular railway in the world! It will take you to the top of the mountains – backwards- in about two minutes! And, just when you think it can’t get any steeper, it does – hold onto your goodies.
Disembarking at Scenic World, you can purchase your one way ticket for $14 or an unlimited all-day pass for $34 – that also allows access to the Scenic Cableway and Skyway . At Scenic World you will find hot coffee, food, bathrooms, souvenirs and a well-deserved place to rest.
There are shuttle buses to take you back to your starting point, or if you haven’t had quite enough, there are plenty of hiking tracks.
There is so much to see and do at Katoomba, that one day just might not be enough…
Some useful tips –
- Look for free parking or feed your meter well – At Echo Point the street parking is paid parking, 7 days a week. It costs $3.80/hour and the parking inspectors are said to be ruthless. Rushing your walk to beat the meter is no fun when you’re climbing mountains!
- The Blue Mountains ExplorerLink – combines Sydney Trains, TrainLink Intercity travel and access to a hop-on, hop-off Explorer bus that stops at 30different attractions. You can purchase one, or three- day tickets. http://www.sydneytrains.info/tickets/which/explorerlink
- Dress warm and wear waterproof clothing. It gets cold up there in the mountains.
- Take plenty of water and throw some basic first-aid items into your bag -better to be safe.
- And finally, don’t limit yourself to lunch at Scenic World. Katoomba is a sweet country town with plenty of character-filled pubs, restaurants and cafes to eat in. Get a real feel for the county-town by exploring all it has to offer.