Located a mere two-hours west of Sydney, an oasis of rolling green and natural beauty awaits. A World Heritage site since 2000, the Blue Mountains offers a welcomed escape from the busy city life. The air is crisp, the birds are playful, and the sunlight breaks through the towering trees at perfect angles.
Traveling via train from Sydney to Katoomba, you know you’ve arrived when the train windows are filled with views of the hazy blue mountain tops and charmed green valleys. Armed with water, sunscreen, a rain jacket, and granola bars, my friend and I exited the train and walked straight into the Trolley Shop to purchase a one day pass on the hop on-hop off trolley. Featuring 29 stops in total, the trolley takes passengers around the mountain towns of Leura and Katoomba and features hikes through Gordon Falls, the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, and Echo Point.
We chose to hop-off after passing through the small, picturesque town of Leura, beginning our hike in Gordon Falls. Our hike took us through the winding mountain trails, many with steps carefully carved out of the cliff side rocks. We hiked over five hours in total, crossing through the Prince Henry Cliff Walk and down the Giant Stairway, descending 800+ steel and stone steps into Scenic World. Featuring a cable car and skyway, Scenic World is the quickest way out of the valley, offering unique views of the region. Determined to finish the hike, my friend and I completed our adventure via the steep Ferber Steps, a track that’s suggested for travelers who love a challenge. Each of the trails are marked with suggested times, distance, and grading; the steps were deemed “hard”. Needless to stay, we were exhausted by the end, exhausted, grateful, and proud.
Katoomba offers many of the famous Blue Mountain sights and is one that can be done without a guide. Another ideal hiking site, Wentworth Falls, is located a few small towns away. While close in distance, Wentworth Falls feels different from Katoomba, offering winding paths through cascading water falls, canyons, creeks and pools. Here hikers will find the National Pass Walk, Queen Victoria Lookout, and my personal favorite, Pulpit Rock. Similar to Katoomba, the trails of Wentworth Falls are clearly marked, wind in and around the cliffs, and greet visitors with breathtaking views of the mountain range.
Regardless of whether you travel with a guide or plan your own exploration, the Blue Mountains charms visitors with gorgeous views, numerous lookout spots, wildlife encounters (hello cockatoos, parrots, bush turkey, and wallabies!), and a tranquil place to escape the city.