Australia // A day in the Eucalyptus-hazed Blue Mountains National Park
Okay, so we’ve been living in Sydney a couple of months now, and we’ve become BIG fans! But if for some reason the day comes when you’ve visited all the parks, beaches, coffee bars, quirky shops, museums and historic sights this huge city has on offer and you think… What else? There is no need to panic!
Just hop on the train towards on of the best National Parks of Australia: the Blue Mountains National Park. It’s only a 2 hour train ride away and costs as little as AU$2.5 on Sundays!
Hop back off in Katoomba, the main take-off point for Blue Mountains visitors. The town is practically living on the bus and train loads of tourists that make the day trip from Sydney just like ourselves, but has nevertheless a whiff of that mountain village charm. Of course, Katoomba is not the reason why came all the way out here, but its backyard – that gorgeous blue-hazed mountain range – is!
Now, where does that blue haze come from, you might wonder? Well, as the park consists mainly of the oil bearing Eucalyptus trees, one theory suggests that the blue color is a result of oil particles mixing with dust and water vapour in the air and thus refracting blue rays of light.
The stunning Blue Mountains National Park offers amazing trips for any mode of transport you can imagine… whether you’re cruisin’ in your car, pedaling your mountain bike or growing hiking blisters on your feet, EVERYONE will find something to enjoy here.
Being on a shoestring budget, we opted for the cheapest way and brought our best hiking gear (read: 2 pairs of Nikes). You can’t start a hike on an empty stomach, so before we marched off overenthusiastically onto the park’s trails we filled up at the tiny but delightful Crust & Crumbles on Katoomba Street.
This is the place to be when it comes to healthy wraps and freshly squeezed juices and smoothies! Definitely try the Sassy Green smoothie, it’s our absolute favorite!
Once our energy levels were boosted up again we continued happily along the Blue Mountains Drive until we reached one of the park’s most popular viewpoints: Echo Point. This is what most people come for, and to be honest, you won’t get disappointed!
The view over the Eucalyptus trees of Jamison Valley from Echo Point is truly fantastic, but what drew our (and about a thousand other tourists’) attention the most were The Three Sisters, an imposing rock formation consisting of three (duh) massive rocks leaning merrily against each other.
As the story goes the rock formations are in fact three sisters who once fell in love with three men from a rival tribe and got turned into stone by the tribe’s elder in order to protect them during the battle that was sparked by this forbidden love. The unfortunate senior got killed before he was able to reverse the spell which left the poor sisters forever set in stone.
So far, no scientific proof has been found that this is what actually happened :)
We obviously wanted to get a closer look of all that natural beauty turned into stone, so we wandered along the short Three Sisters Walk (1km / 0.62mi) that guided us from Echo Point straight into the belly of one of the Sisters.
After that, we decided to hike a bit further and take the Prince Harry Cliff Walk towards the Katoomba Skyway. Again, not the longest of hikes, but the jaw-dropping mountain views made us stop at every bend to take a picture.
Along the way, we were blown-away (yet again) by another one of the Blue Mountains most scenic landmarks: the wonderful Katoomba Cascades and Katoomba Falls!
After visiting the smaller Katoomba Cascades first, the path took us through the lush and leafy trees and ferns until we reached the lookout point for the Katoomba Falls that drop dramatically in the sea of green and blue haze below.
We were also just in time to see the last Skyway cable car of the day dangling spectacularly above the rainforest canopy 270m (885 ft) below!
As dusk was already settling in and temperatures were dropping rapidly there was no one else but us at the lookout which made us feel we had the entire park just for ourselves for a minute… except for a lonely cockatoo that decided to enjoy the scenery together with us.
We didn’t bother of course and neither did he, looking at his yellow feathers on his head he so proudly showed off to us!
In the meantime it had become too dark for us to continue our hike down into the Jamison Valley so I guess we’ll have to save that for next time! :)
- Trains depart every hour from Sydney’s Central Station to Katoomba.
- Wear layers! Temperatures can vary greatly throughout the day.
- Those boots are made for walking! Blue Mountains National Park is so much more than Echo Point. Strap on those hiking boots and walk a few extra miles!
- Wanna enjoy a dazzling ride on the Skyway? Buy a pass ($35) to the Scenic World Family Adventure Park and have access to the parks’ Railway, Cableway and Walkway too!