The Blue Mountains
Everything about yesterday was wonderful.
I spent the day at the Blue Mountains National Park, which is located about a two hour train journey west of Sydney.
I caught the train to a town called Katoomba where I purchased a hop on/hop off bus pass with a company called Blue Mountain Explorer Bus. Let me just tell you, this was an amazing way to see the area! There are a lot of companies who run guided tours, even picking you up from your hotel/hostel in Sydney, but I wanted to go it alone and do the day at my own pace, which is why I chose to catch the train.
When I bought the ticket, I was given an amazing little guidebook, which actually is the ticket – you just wave that at the bus driver when you hop on. The book had a map of the bus circuit, an full index of all 31 stops, an example itinerary for getting the most out of your day, detailed information about all the stops and attractions, and smaller maps of each area which could be used for the walks. Furthermore, the drivers was so friendly and informative; I can’t say enough, how awesome this service was!
Anyway, the first place I hopped off was Katoomba Cascades. The whole area is full of waterfalls and streams, so this was the first of many that I came across. I walked for an hour or so, through to ‘Scenic World’, where I stopped for a sandwich. Scenic World is an amalgamation of the Skyway, Cableway, Railway and Walkway. I didn’t go on any of these due to the price and the fact that I wanted to see as much as possible rather than linger over one area, but it’s definitely one I’ll add to the list for next time.
Here, I hopped back on the bus to Echo Point. This is where you can get the best views of the Three Sisters, the main attraction of the Blue Mountains.
Having walked down to the bridge where you can actually touch the Three Sisters, I got back to the bus stop to find that a bus had left about 5 minutes before. (This was admittedly my own fault for not keeping an eye on the time or checking the timetable which was literally in my hand…). The buses run every 30 minutes, so rather than sit twiddling my thumbs for 25 minutes, I decided to walk round the escarpment to the next stop. Somewhere along the way I must’ve misread the map, because two hours later, I’d walked all the way down into the valley, and back up again…oops! Though to be fair, it was a beautiful walk and it didn’t take long for me to realise my mistake, at which point I chose to just carry on, rather than walk back on myself. For anyone who’s familiar with the area, I walked from the Three Sisters to the Leura cascades, and for anyone who’s not, I walked a bloody long way!
When I eventually got back to civilisation, around 4pm, it was nearing the time of the last buses and it looked like I wouldn’t have time to do much else without missing the last bus. I asked one of the drivers what he’d suggest and without a second thought he recommended Wentworth Falls. This is a little further out from Katoomba and Leura, and the explorer company run a shuttle there; you get off the bus at Stop 21, and immediately get on another, which takes you to Wentworth Falls at Stop 31. Pretty nifty. This was the last shuttle out there, but the Wentworth Falls train station was a short walk away and on the same line as Katoomba. I was sold.
Off I went to Wentworth Falls and it was so worth it. If I’d admitted defeat and finished the day at Leura, it would still have been awesome, but Wentworth Falls was a perfect round-off.
I put my bathers on and went for a swim at the Fletchers Lookout, before heading back. I had two options here; either walk in a straight line down the main road until I reached the train station, or take the Charles Darwin Trail through the forest. Since I had no time limit, I obviously chose the scenic route! The Charles Darwin trail follows the stream back up and was a nice easy, mostly flat walk, unlike the many many steps of my earlier hike. What turned out to be a major ego boost is that the official estimated time for this trail is 1 hour and 15 minutes – I managed it in 40! *muscle flex emoji*
Back in Wentworth Falls, I got on the train back to Sydney, and after a shower and some dinner, I crashed out for a good 12 hours! (Note: my legs are definitely feeling it this morning!)