I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again, while I lived in Sydney I found that the city became quite overwhelming for the adventurer in me. So one of the thing I’d do is hop on a train and head out to Katoomba and the Blue Mountains for a day of hiking. It’s less than 2 hours from Central to Katoomba station.
The landscape slowly turns from the skyscrapers and hustle of Sydney to the rolling hills and greenery of the Blue Mountains. As you head west away from the coast there are dense trees and green as far as the eye can see.
This small town is full of coffee shops, eateries and touristy souvenir shops. I love taking the 20-minute walk through town from the train station to the edge of the Blue Mountain National Park.
The Three Sisters:
The first thing you see when you approach the overhanging of the Blue Mountains is the Three Sisters rock formation at Echo Point. Probably 50% of people get off a “Blue Mountains Tour” take their photos and selfies and then grab a coffee and enjoy the view.
I recommend getting away from the people and start hiking through the lush greenery and flowing waterfalls.
Fun Facts About the Three Sister:
-They are 922, 918 and 906 meters tall
-Respectively their named for three sisters: Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo
-The legend goes that the three sisters fell in love with three men from a neighboring tribe. They were forbidden to marry them but the men captured them forcefully. This led to a tribal battle. An elder turned the sisters to stone to protect them.
-Geologically the three sisters were formed from erosion. This is due to the fact the sandstone is easily susceptible to wind, rain and weathering.
Scenic World is the “theme park” of the Blue Mountains. You can ride a train, wander through history and ride a car across the valley below.
If you’re planning a day on public transport the last bus back to Katoomba leaves at 4:50pm.
My Favourite 3 Hiking Trails:
Whichever way you walk from The Three Sisters lookout you’re in for sweeping views as you look out from between the trees and climb onto the over hanging rocks.
Echo Point to Scenic World via Giant Stairway:
Heading from Echo Point to Scenic World you can take a long winding trail that goes into the bottom of the valley. It is a grade 4 hike and is 4.7km one way.
When they say “Giant Stairway” they mean GIANT STAIRWAY. You know that stairclimber you use in the gym that works those glutes, this is even better. It will leave your legs burning and some tears in your eyes.
This hike is so worth it though, but not for the faint of heart. It is intense up and down the whole way.
Prince Henry Cliff Walk:
Along the edge of the cliffs from Katoomba through Leura you get stunning view of the Three Sisters and Gordon Falls.
I love standing out at all the lookout points that you basically have to boulder over to get to. Some of the lookout points are great spots for a picnic.
This is a nice track because you can turn around at any point, but it is long (7km) and will likely take 3-5 hours.
I especially love the Bridal Veil lookout! Definitely a must see. It’s about an hour down the trail.
Pool of Siloam/ Lyrebird Dell Walking Track:
The one and only time I did this well worth it hike I kept going down more and more stairs. You can basically run down the steep steps and trails until you’re at the bottom. You go under cliff hangings until you get to the Pool of Siloam along Gordon Creek.
It’s basically magical down in the valley.
But I almost gave up and was going to let the birds eat me about half way up. That burn though… It’s a doosey.
I DEFINITELY prefer hikes where you go up first.
This hike starts at the end of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk.
Things to Keep in Mind:
-Bring Water and food. It gets hot out there and humid. You need an adequate supply of water and you need to stay hydrated in the heat and environment.
-Wear the right shoes! These are obviously not paved tracks, and a sprained ankle will need a helicopter out.
-Leave yourself plenty of sunshine. As with any hike make sure you give yourself extra time around sunset
-Don’t stand on cliffs. I love cliff photos like anyone else, but be careful! These are falls you don’t want to take.