Australia

Katoomba & Blue Mountains

Sydney is awesome, but it’s surroundings are even better. It’s worth to spend one day outside the city, one Sunday, to be precise. Why Sunday? Because on Sundays you will pay 2,50 AUD for the whole day in public transport in New South Wales. You just have to go. So let’s go to Katoomba & Blue Mountains. Mountains, panoramas, rocks, old mines. But why these mountains are called blue? Because they look like they’re blue. Why? Probably air is getting blue because of the olis which are evaporating from gumtrees’ leaves in the sun.

We’re starting our trip early in the morning at the Central Station. Take Blue Mountains Line train to Katoomba. It takes approximately 2 hours to get there. Unfortunately there are no signs next to Katoomba’s station or I simply haven’t noticed them. So follow the crowd. Or take the main street on the crossroads. Part of the crowd will stay at the bus stop, but we will continue walking. It takes 20 minutes to get to the mountains, so there’s no point in taking a bus. After 10-15 minutes of walking you’ll see signs leading to Three Sisters, our first stop.

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Three Sisters

The Sisters are the effect of sandstone erosion and after they eroded, they were named Meehni, Wimlah i Gunnedoo. That’s the science talking. There’s also less scientific story, which goes the other way round: first, there were sister, then the sandstone. What was inbetween? Pretty standard things: love to guys from another tribe, obviously agains tribal laws. Guys were unhappy because of these laws so they kidnapped the girls and that’s how a battle started. An elder turned girls into a sandstone to protect them, but he was killed before he had a chance to tell anyone how to turn them back into humans. So now you can choose which version you prefer: scientific one, or ancient love story which is about 100 years old 🙂

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One of three sisters. And blue in the back, not photoshopped.

Let’s get back to reality. We have to find our way in insane crowds of tourists. We can go left to Three Sisters or right for a walk (or both). If we go left, we can walk down with Giant Stairway – 800 steps leading down to the valley. If we go right, we’re staying at the top of the cliff and at the end of our walk we can take a funicular railway down for about 30 AUD. What’s down in the valley and what’s at the top? We can have a hike in both options. 100 years ago there were coal and shale mines in the valley and there’s a trail going through the mining area. The upper path leads us along the cliffs through various microclimates with many scenic overlooks. Unfortunately I can’t share my opinion regarding the “lower” trail, but I’ve heard it’s amazing. I can share my opinion about the “upper” one and it’s amazing.

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Practical info

How to get there: Blue Mountains Line from Central Station, 2 hours one way to Katoomba

How much time do you need: whole day

What you should take: comfy shoes (!), hat, sunscreen, water (!), light raincoat, food

Important: Katoomba and Blue Mountains don’t have a lot of signs. It’s good to find a map online, because at visitors center there are only paid ones. If you have problems with your knees or you know you might have, I think you should skip Giant Stairway. Be careful with your knees. And be careful with walking down to Three Sisters if you have a fear of heights.

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