Australia – Bushwalking the Blue Mountains
Today I took a rest from city life and made the 2.5 hour trek / ~110 kms west to the Blue Mountains. (Called the Blue Mountains because from Sydney they look blue.) The rails are being worked on this weekend past Blacktown. That meant train to Blacktown then bus to Katoomba. Not a bad ride, actually, as they used charter buses between Blacktown-Katoomba. And I got to see the highways and byways.
The mountains themselves are not what is special — it is the deep valley’s between that make the hills look like mountains. “The range rivals the Rockies in length, but nowhere near in height.” Spectacular views can be obtained while hiking all over the hills. (See the photo set below!) NSW park system is very similar to USA based parks/forest services. All the trails and stairs were well constructed.
“Katoomba: Katoomba is the largest town in the Blue Mountains though it was unknown until the Katoomba Coal Mine opened in 1879. Named after the Aboriginal tribe which inhabited the area, it is home to the most famous site in the mountains – the Three Sisters. Legend has it they were three beautiful young women who had fallen in love with three men from the Nepean tribe from the foothills.”
I took the train/bus combo to Katoomba then walked the 1-2kms to the Three Sisters/Echo point. My trek started with several lookouts, Prince Henry cliff walk, then onward down the Furber Steps. Saw the Katoomba falls, walked along Federal pass and Dardanelles Pass. That lead to the Giant Stairway – 900 stairs that take you from the valley base to the top of the mountain. At the top is the three sisters rock formation.
There is a Ruined Castle nearby (you can see it from the hilltops). That bushwalk is a full-day. Wish I had known about that earlier because I would have gone earlier, taken a lunch, and completed that hike.
Walked back into town, ate, and went back to Sydney. The legs were tired — the steam room and sauna and jacuzzi felt so good! See inside the extended entry for several Blue Mountain links.