The rugged terrain of New South Wales
Pamela Mukherjee, November 22, 2021
For a long-haul holiday around the outdoors, head to the Blue Mountains of Australia to marvel at the impressive rock formations, potter around in quaint villages or explore the epic wilderness.
The Blue Mountains, about a two-hour drive from Sydney, just about 50 km away, is best known for its soaring sandstone ridges blanketed in the native bush land. Nestled within the wilderness lie the charming mountain towns, ancient aboriginal rock art and the iconic tourist attraction of Scenic World, where a suspended cableway with the world’s steepest train awaits. Expect to be enchanted by the natural beauty when you set out on foot to explore the walking tracks that loop around the verdant valleys and craggy cliffs. Find the after-dark excitement by spotting glow worms in an underground cave or indulge in a touch of luxury at a wilderness retreat.
The Blue Mountains is a sweeping area that envelops more than 10,000 square kilometres, 40 unique towns, and a one-million-hectare long national park with 200+ km of trails and over 1,000 species of plants. It has tough sandstone tablelands, wild valleys, cascades, rainforests, posts, gorge, and numerous strolling trails. One can appreciate The Three Sisters at Echo Point, bushwalking, fine dining, shopping, spas, golf, chocolate preparation, coffee testing, and various other activities.
Expect to be charmed by the natural ambience when you set out for a walk to stroll the tracks that loop around the verdant valleys and rugged precipices. Regardless of whether shrouded in mists or sparkling brilliant in the dusk, the unlimited vistas of the Blue Mountains will blow your mind. Once I heard that mountains are echoed there, I wanted to experience the same. A complete guide may help anyone interested to explore this hidden gem of Sydney as it has many places to visit, and one might get lost or skip some places without planning.
Reaching the Blue Mountains from Sydney
I bought an Opal card to travel to Sydney and nearby places. Getting to the Blue Mountains from Sydney is very easy and you can commute by car or train. Regular trains leave from the Central Station, and it takes three minutes to reach. In case you are going via car, the drive will take a maximum of one and half hours from Sydney by the M4 motorway. Another choice is to take the more panoramic detour through the Hawkesbury along Bells Line of Road. One of the principal drives in the Blue Mountains will be along the Cliff Drive which tracks with the edge of Jamison Valley. After that, you may opt for HOHO (hop in hop off) bus to travel to the Blue Mountains zone that stops at some of the most spectacular attractions. If you are travelling in a private car, in most of the places they have prominent parking areas. On weekdays the train costs around AUD 9 but I travelled on Sunday, and I covered the train round cap at AUD 2.70.
Meander around the mountains
There are many spots you can cover depending on how much time you are giving, a day tour or two to three days to explore in detail. The Echo Point Lookout, Three Sisters Walk, Mayfield, Katoomba Falls, Wentworth Falls, Govetts Leap Lookout, Capertee Valley, Jenolan Cave, Leura Cascade, Scenic World are some of the top attractions tourists visit and cherish the memories.
Essentials to carry for the outdoor
I was in Sydney during October which is in fact the perfect month to visit the place. The cool weather is neither hot nor chill and you can easily stroll around the places at ease. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and carry a few important things like a water bottle, some snacks, some cash, a guidebook with map, cap or hat, sunglasses etc.
Wander up and down the stream
The My Explorer Bus picked me from the Katoomba railway station and in between many spots I preferred to get down at stop 8 to start the journey. Katoomba Cascades makes a picturesque scenic spot with one of the best views in the Blue Mountains. As I walked around, I took the steps and gently went downhill through the boondocks trailing the greeneries looking out for the tremendous Katoomba Falls. Head upstream on a phenomenal new footpath through a balancing bog to reach Katoomba Cascades. The brook is wide and shallow here, and you can paddle crosswise over to the base of the cascade. Track back to the junction, and this time stroll up the means to the confined sandstone island of Reid's Plateau. A track circles right around, wriggling through an eccentric man-made cavern cover and evading the edge of a deep ravine.
Visit the Three Sisters
It is an amazing walk from Katoomba Falls to Echo Point while you can cherish the astonishing view of the mountain zone. The Three Sisters Peak is a trio of sandstone ribs that stand tall over the backwoods of the Jamison Valley. From Echo Point, they are visible crystal clear, with Mount Solitary transcending the Jamison Valley, and the blue edges extending ceaselessly to unendingly. Echo Point is also a fantastic spot for Instagrammers and a heaven for all selfie-lovers. There's a visitor centre at Echo Point where you can get information, maps, and trinkets of the Blue Mountains.
Loop walk at the Australian Grand Canyon
This is one of the most remarkable walks one can cherish forever. A short but beautiful walk through the bushes of ferns, eucalypts, waterfalls and creeks, will give you an amazing vibe of NSW's own Grand Canyon. In fact, it is considered as world’s second-largest canyon and one of the best hiking places for its charismatic view of the valley.
Shopping at the Leura village
Leura, a beautiful small village on the lap of the Blue Mountains is a perfect place to stop for lunch or afternoon tea and some lazy window-shopping. The main street is lined with cherry trees beautifully blooming through. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes in and around to give you refreshments and you can even pick some quick lunch packs or snacks for later. Try a day spa or yoga retreat to have some relaxing experiences also.
There are lots of accommodation options available in the region for those who want to stay back and explore the Blue Mountains for two to three days or more. Resorts, hotels, marquees, homestays of all budget ranges are available and advance online booking is the safest choice.
There are oodles of things to do in the Blue Mountains. Strongly recommend spending some time to learn more about the local culture and way of life and capture loads of pictures to cherish for the rest of your life.
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