Katoomba Walkabout

Katoomba Street at dawn…

Katoomba street at dawn

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…and in daylight.

Blue Mountains Katoomba 01 Main Street

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Katoomba is the foremost town in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia. It’s only 2 hours away by train from Sydney. It’s small enough to see in a single day — its main sights anyway — but it’s worth taking the time for a more leisurely exploration.

For one, Katoomba has a quaint small-town old-town feel that’s best appreciated at a slower pace. The main street, Katoomba Street (pictured above), runs almost directly south from the train station and is lined on both sides by small restaurants and shops. It’s a nice area to have a little stroll with friends, especially on a sunny winter day.

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Blue Mountains Katoomba 02 Woolworths

Here, we’re on our way to the 686 bus stop, which is just outside the local Woolworths. After settling in at our hostel, the Blue Mountains YHA, we’d had a nice lunch at Unique Patisserie in Katoomba Street, and then we walked back south, turned right and up Waratah St., to catch the 686 bus that would take us to Echo Point.

And this is another reason why it’s best to spend at least two days in the Blue Mountains. The weather can be unpredictable and if you only spend a few hours there, and those few hours turn out to be rainy, there’s not much you can do. If you at least stay overnight, you can wait for any fog to clear by mid- or late afternoon, just in time to catch the sunset at Echo Point.

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Blue Mountains Katoomba Echo Point

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We were lucky weather-wise when we were there though.

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Blue Mountains Katoomba Sunrise Over the Three Sisters at Echo Point

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Echo Point is the lookout for the Three Sisters rock formation, probably the Blue Mountains’ most well-known sight. There’s said to be an Aboriginal legend associated with them: something about three sisters falling in love with three men from a rival tribe. It’s also said that that legend was actually just a tall tale dreamed up by a local to drum up interest.

Either way, it wasn’t the Three Sisters that took my breath away. It was rather the sheer vastness of Jamison Valley, the size and density of its forest cover just, to me, mind-boggling.

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Blue Mountains Katoomba Echo Point

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Blue Mountains Katoomba Jamison Valley from Echo Point

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Blue Mountains Katoomba Feet over Jamison Valley from Echo Point

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On a completely unrelated note, there’s also…

Street Art in Katoomba

After Echo Point, while the others popped into the Big W for a bit of shopping, we did the Street Art Walk in Katoomba.

Blue Mountains Katoomba Art Walk Graffiti_Brick building with colored facade

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Blue Mountains Katoomba Art Walk Graffiti_Rainbow on brick wall

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Blue Mountains Katoomba Art Walk Graffiti_Musicians

These murals are located in Beverly Place, off Waratah St., just a block to the east of Katoomba St.

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Sunrise Walk to Honeymoon Bridge and the First Sister

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Third reason for staying overnight: watching the sun rise over Jamison Valley.

We retired early the previous day; it had gotten dark quite quickly and it was just too lovely sitting by the fireplace at the YHA to consider going out again. We set our alarms for 6 AM, though, intent on catching the 7:03 sunrise. It turned out the bus we planned to catch wasn’t running that early, so we had to brisk-walk the 2 km from the hostel to Echo Point, down Katoomba St., then Panorama Drive, and onto Lady Darley Lookout.

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Blue Mountains Katoomba Sunrise over Jamison Valley

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Blue Mountains Katoomba Sunrise at Lady Darley Lookout

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We followed the section of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk that stretched from Lady Darley to Echo Point, then on to the first of the Three Sisters.

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You can actually go all the way to the first Sister via the Honeymoon Bridge — but first you have to negotiate some steep rock and steel steps.

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(And I do mean steep.)

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The walk goes further on, down to Jamison Valley itself, but the sun was already high in the sky and we had family (and breakfast!) waiting for us at the YHA, so we decided to stop here and admire the valley and sea of clouds from a distance.

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It would be nice to go back someday, though, and do the entire walk.

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