After almost a whole year in Australia I finally made it to one of the places that had been top of my list to visit as soon as I knew I was headed over to this part of the world… the Blue Mountains.
Although it’s only 2 hours from the city Katoomba is a very different pace from the cosmopolitan capital and has a real small-town Twin Peaks feel to it which you’re likely to either find charming or a touch creepy. We stayed at a converted old lodge complete with creaky with wooden floorboards, long carpeted corridors (possibly a little too reminiscent of The Shining) and what seemed to be a permanent Christmas tree. However it transpired that the only thing we had to fear was being awoken every morning at 7am by the man next door singing Dance of the Swans by Tchaikovsky at the top of his lungs. The walls, as it turned out, were paper thin.
The Blue Mountains National Park spans a huge area so there are actually a few places to stay where you can access it but Katoomba is probably the most conventional and we chose to stay there mainly because it’s so easily accessible without a car and because it’s ideally located for the entrance to the prime BM attraction, Scenic World.
Scenic World is what you probably see when you see photos of the area and it’s the most popular was to see the mountains for all kinds of different perspectives. Of course you can walk around areas of the National Park and enjoy similar spectacular views for free but who would pass up the opportunity to ride the world’s steepest railway or a glass-bottomed skyway right across the middle – I certainly wasn’t about to!
From the visitor centre where you purchase your tickets for the Scenic World attractions the recommended route it to take the railway down the bottom of the mountains where there are an array of different walks you can do of varying lengths and difficulties. You can then walk around and get the cable car back up to the visitor centre and then the skyway across the mountains and walk around to the Three Sisters Lookout, which offers one of the best viewing spots in the National Park.
WHERE TO EAT IN KATOOMBA
In spite of being such a tiny place Katoomba is filled with a huge amount of great little cafes and restaurants. These were our number one picks.
For breakfast head to POMEGRANATE CAFE. The lovely staff and great coffee won us over so much that we came here three days running! I highly recommend the pineapple french toast if you’ve got a sweet tooth.
A great lunch can be found at THE YELLOW DELI. We actually went here for dinner but their menu is more suited to a lunch time meal. They have a huge range of sandwiches and soups. We both opted for the vegetarian garden burger which comes with mini soup or a veggie bowl and I treated myself to a hot apple cider too – perfect for the chilly winter nights in the mountains!
You can’t go wrong with a trip to STATION BAR & WOODFIRED PIZZA for dinner (unless you don’t like pizza). This place is so well situated right in the train station and hugely popular! When you taste the pizza you’ll understand why.