Getting a taste of greater New South Wales away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney city, we made the most of $2.50 Sunday train rides to head to Blue Mountains, Katoomba for a few days. Whether you’re looking for easter travel plans or a short day trip, Katoomba is an excellent place to visit, in stark contrast to city life.
Approximately a 2 hour train ride from Sydney Central, the air here is fresher and cleaner, which makes for a fantastic short getaway to one of the most popular tourist hotspots in Australia.
But what’s there to do in Katoomba?
We found ourselves a cozy little hotel called La Maison, which is only about a 10 minute walk to our first attraction, the Three Sisters at Queen Elizabeth lookout. Though I have my doubts about staying at La Maison again due to the rather shabby room interiors, the hotel served its purpose for a short, economic stay in the Blue Mountains, plus the friendly staff are excellent!
Three Sisters and Prince Henry Cliff Walk
With my camera in hand and lots of photography in mind, the Three Sisters, just past Echo Point, is a great place to start off a scenic bush walk down to either the Skyway East Station cable cars or if you fancy the exercise a walk down to Katoomba Cascades. It takes about an hour walk to Katoomba Cascades from the Three Sisters, but you’ll find the Prince Henry Cliff Walk is a worthy trip with a number of scenic lookouts for happy snaps along the way.
Katoomba Cascades and Katoomba Falls
Katoomba Cascades is absolutely beautiful at the right time of day. We arrived at about 1.30-2pm and the sun lit up the cliff layers where water trickled down.
Dining & High Tea at The Carrington
Grand High Tea (only $37) at The Carrington is renowned amongst locals as one of the best, but it only opens on Sunday from 2.30pm to 5pm and if they have functions (weddings or events) on then orders cease before 3pm. We didn’t quite make it there in time on the first day so tried out the restaurant bar food. The service is absolutely fantastic and you couldn’t find a more hospitable wait staff, which is a breath of fresh air from the B class service in Sydney! The Beef Burger with sour dough accompanied by fries and salad was also respectably delicious – best of the gourmet burgers around town I would say. The Devonshire tea set with scones and coffee is also recommended for the smaller appetite.
You could positively spend the whole day or two at the Jenolan Caves just doing the variety of different tours that are available. We booked a $90 Trolley Tours package though, which includes the coach ride there (approximately 1.5 hours from Katoomba station/hotel pickup) and entry fee into Orient Cave. But they do have a promotion at the moment which allows you to pay full price for entry into one cave then get 50% off for all subsequent entries into other caves that would fair well for anyone staying overnight at the Jenolan Caves House.
The River Walk (Blue Lake)
Starting off The River Walk is the beautiful Blue Lake, which was created by damming the rivers to provide a head for hydro-electric power generation. The amazing blue colour is caused by light being refracted by the dissolved particles of limestone in the water.
We were recommended the Orient Cave tour as it was said to be the most beautiful of caves. At approximately 470m in length, the return walk took about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
If you have a few hours to spare, also check out:
We were told by the trolley tours bus driver that this was the easiest to get to from Katoomba after tossing up between Leura Cascades and Wentworth Falls with a few hours to spare on our final day. On discovery though, Leura Cascades is rather mediocre and the accompanying track into the Blue Mountains National Park via the end or start of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk was partially closed off due to landslides. Perhaps not the most worthy place to visit for the time conscious traveller, but it only costs $10 one way to get there by cab from either Leura or Katoomba station. Plus we got a few happy snaps either way.
Overall, an excellent getaway to the Blue Mountains and Katoomba. Would recommend for travellers of all ages! Happy Easter folks and watch out for double demerit points this weekend.