KATOOMBA: THE AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER GUIDE
Just west of Sydney, the spectacular scenery of The Blue Mountains spans a large area and includes more than enough lookouts. However the real gem of the Mountains lies in the lively town of Katoomba, home to the Three Sisters. Although it is a popular tourist destination, the visitors-to-residents ratio hasn’t disturbed the friendly community atmosphere in the town. Travellers are invited to stay and indulge in the laid back lifestyle of local mountain-dwellers.
What to do
The main reason people travel to Katoomba – besides the refreshing gulp of fresh air, is to visit legendary Echo Point.
You’re guaranteed to see the best ofJamiesonValleyon the various viewing platforms but be warned this area is a major tourist attraction, so try to get there a bit earlier in order to avoid the crowds. The most exciting feature ofJamiesonValleyof course, is The Three Sisters. At night the geological giants are submerged in floodlights, highlighting the natural beauty of the valley.
If you’re really keen, you can also bushwalk along the many different tracks in the valley to soak up the awesome scenery.
Grab a bite to eat at one of the fine restaurants along the main road, where you can also stop and admire the talent of local artists and buskers.
Where to stay
Katoomba is the kind of place that’ll make you want to curl up with a good book and stay for the weekend. Rather than play tourist in the area, get a feel for what it’s like to be a local. Right at the top ofKatoomba Street, The Carrington Hotel is one of the finest hotels in the region. Even if you aren’t planning on sleeping there, it’s worth visiting for a drink or two.
For those light on spare change, the Sky Rider Motor Inn is a reasonably priced and well-reviewed alternative. Prices generally start at about $90.
Couples however, may be tempted by something a little more intimate, such as Edgelinks Country House – one of many luxury bed and breakfasts in the area. Expect panoramic views and European touches with old world charm.
When to travel
The climate of the Blue Mountains is more temperate than the Sydney region. The winter months bring frost and wind, though the summer months have been known to bring rain. Make sure you rug up!
The best way to see Katoomba is by car. Drive up to the mountains and stop along the way- checking out waterfalls, lookouts and the quaint towns that lead to The Three Sisters.
Trains leave fromSydney’s Central Station hourly and buses and taxis run through the area.
For more information about Katoomba, go to www.katoomba-nsw.com
AT’s Alissa Jenkins laps up a girly getaway in the Blue Mountains…all in the name of research of course! If you’re anything like my friends and I, it’s hard to catch up. You might squeeze in the odd coffee or phone call, but between work, family and other commitments, orchestrating some quality time together is a rare feat. In a bid to quash this pattern, I recently spent a weekend away with three close girlfriends – two of which I hadn’t seen in almost a year. Our weekender took us to the Blue Mountains where we were booked in with...
It’s billed as Australia’s most luxurious escape, owned by one of the world’s most upmarket airlines, so you’d expect Wolgan Valley to offer a flawless experience. But does it deliver? Quentin Long finds out. The Emirates Wolgan Valley development was the first resort created by the Emirates group outside the UAE. Intriguingly, its announcement was greeted by Australians with more shock than drooling anticipation – or pride in being selected for such a prestigious development. This was largely due to its location. The Wolgan Valley sits between the Wollemi and Gardens of Stone National Parks, on the fringe of the...
He’s cheap but never nasty. Australia’s thriftiest father, Dorian Mode ventures to the NSW Blue Mountains and reveals how you can holiday without spending more than $30 on a family dinner, teach the kids a thing or two, and enjoy a budget family weekend. Yonks ago I penned a feature for AT entitled Blue Mountains on a Shoestring. It was very popular (my wife read it three times). That was pre-GFC, so this year the winter escape is an even more affordable affair. Hey, like most of us with kids, we’re all on a budget, right? So we pointed the...
Experience No.032 in Australian Traveller's 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences Blackheath might be one of the Blue Mountains’ laid-back country communities but there’s nothing small-town about the food at its award-winning restaurant, Vulcan’s. Chef Phillip Searle has perfected the art of slow cooking, serving blade beef to loyal fans. Chef Phillip Searle mans the woodfired oven with ease, preparing a paired-back menu that lets flavours shine. Just four types of entrees, mains and desserts are readied each day in what was once the Blackheath Bakery. Having mentored a younger generation of heavyweights, including Bentley Restaurant & Bar’s Brent Savage and...
Not to ward off the winter blues but to embrace them completely, Australian Traveller’s Sol Walkling headed to the NSW Blue Mountains and the birthplace of Yulefest for Christmas in July. Christmas in July When the first European settlers came to Australia, the idea of celebrating Christmas with a tree and Santa Claus dressed in a red, warm, winter frock must have been abandoned fairly quickly. With the seasons reversed Down Under, it’s surprising it took almost two centuries and a group of Irish tourists in the Blue Mountains to come up with the idea of Christmas in July. In...
On the freezing tip of Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary, near death and crippled with frostbite, once famously turned to Tenzing Norgay and said: “It looks nothing like Katoomba.” Now, had Eddie and Tenzing first spied the gorgeous Blue Mountains through the b’nocks, they would have happily dropped the ice axe and spiky boots for a weekend of pampering and indulgent spa treatments. And let’s be honest: Tenzing could’ve really used an organic honey and avocado facial. On reputation alone, most Sydneysiders choose the regal Hydro-Majestic when planing a romantic visit to the Blue Mountains. But, love it as I do,...
In 1813, 43 years after Cook landed at Botany Bay, the first Europeans – Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson – forged their way through dense bush and crossed the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. In doing so, they opened up the great Western Plains of NSW. But, just as importantly, they created one of Australia’s great scenic drives and threw a terrific railway into the bargain. The Blue Mountains’ towns and villages perch on a narrow ridge that sits atop dramatic escarpments between the Grose valley in the north and the Jamison Valley in the south. A favourite stop-off includes Echo...
WHERE ARE YOU TRAVELLING TO?
Select a state to view more