Crisp air, greenery at every step, and the sound of running water greet visitors in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. Less than two hours away from Sydney, the mountain range is a popular spot for tourists and residents alike.
Katoomba, home to the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, the tourist attraction Scenic World, cafés and shopping, and more, is the most visited destination in the Blue Mountains. Even during winter, the area is alive.
The Three Sisters at Echo Point is an iconic rock formation with each peak standing at least 900 meters tall. According to Aboriginal folklore, the rocks were originally three Aboriginal sisters. In one version of the story, the three fell in love with three brothers from another tribe. Unable to marry due to tribal law, the brothers kidnapped the sisters, causing a battle. To protect the girls, a witchdoctor turned them into stone but was killed before he could turn them back. In an alternate version, their father, a witchdoctor, turned them into stone to protect them from a Bunyip. The father himself turned into a bird using his magic bone to escape from the Bunyip but dropped the bone in the process. To this day, he searches for the bone that will reverse the spells on himself and his family.
A short nature hike away is the scenic, peaceful Katoomba Falls. The waterfall, visible from multiple lookout points and Scenic World’s cable car service, is another Blue Mountains icon. Changing by season and amount of rainfall, every day offers a new view.
Scenic World also offers a ride on the world’s steepest railway. The Scenic Railway takes visitors up or down the incline past Orphan Rock, through a pitch-black tunnel, and out onto the mountainside.
Besides the mountain visual overload, Katoomba offers shopping and accommodation. Festivals and events occur throughout the year and are worth experiencing. Just like Sydney, the town’s coffee culture is alive with a myriad of brews and selections.
The Blue Mountains is a worthwhile experience for explorers, nature-lovers, and everyone else. Between exploring the mountains and going into town, there is little time to spare. Picturesque and with a variety of views, it is a surprising icon of Australia.