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Escape from the city – trekking in the Blue Mountains

A great thing about Sydney is that within just a few hours you can be immersed in beautiful rainforest, surrounded by rushing waterfalls and towering palms, listening to the cockatoos and lyre birds sing. That’s because the city is just 100 kilometres from the world heritage-listed Blue Mountains.

The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are a perfect introduction into Australia’s natural beauty and are also incredibly accessible. You can take an organised tour, drive there yourself, or do what we did and go by public transport. From Sydney’s Central station, we took a train to Katoomba and hopped on a Blue Mountains Explorer Bus, which takes you to all of the main lookout points around the clifftops.

Katoomba

Katoomba

A kookaburra!

A kookaburra!

Wanting to get a sense of the ‘great outdoors’ during our visit, we got off the bus at Katoomba Falls, where we took a bush walk to the valley floor…

First glimpse of the Blue Mountains

First glimpse of the Blue Mountains

Going down...

Going down…

Witch's Leap - can you see the Witch's face in the rock?

Witch’s Leap – can you see the Witch’s face in the rock?

The Blue Mountains are named after the intense blue haze on the horizon. The effect surrounds any distant object around the world, but it is enhanced here by millions of oil droplets that are released into the air by thousands of eucalyptus trees in the valleys below

The Blue Mountains are named after the intense blue haze on the horizon. The effect surrounds any distant object around the world, but it is enhanced here by millions of oil droplets that are released into the air by thousands of eucalyptus trees in the valleys below

Katoomba Falls

Katoomba Falls

We eventually found ourselves at ‘Scenic World’, where you can take a ride on several cable cars that will take you to towering heights for the best possible vantage points of the area.

First view of the Blue Mountains! That's the Scenic Skyway transporting people across the valley 270 metres from the ground

First view of the Blue Mountains! That’s the Scenic Skyway transporting people across the valley 270 metres from the ground

Unfortunately, we found these quite expensive so we couldn’t try out more than one – after deliberation we decided to have a go on the Scenic Railway, which just happens to be the steepest incline passenger railway in the world!

This railway pulls you 415 metres up the cliff at an incline of up to 52 degrees

This railway pulls you 415 metres up the cliff at an incline of up to 52 degrees

Hopping back on the next bus, we took a ride around the Cliff Tops and Valleys Tour to see the Jamison and Megalong Valleys before getting off at Honeymoon lookout for a cliff walk to Echo Point – the best view point for the famous Three Sisters rock formation.

Honeymoon Point

Honeymoon Point

The Three Sisters at Echo Point. These soft sandstone pillars are the most recognisable landmarks of the Blue Mountains. They reach 900 metres (3,000 feet) from the valley floor

The Three Sisters at Echo Point. These soft sandstone pillars are the most recognisable landmarks of the Blue Mountains. They reach 900 metres (3,000 feet) from the valley floor

Echo Point panorama

Echo Point panorama

Our last stop for the day was at Leura Cascades, where we set ourselves the challenge of trekking for an hour along the cliff walk to Gordon Falls in time to catch the last bus. The bus driver warned us that we may not make it, but we tightened our laces and got walking…

Leura Cascades to Gordon Falls

Leura Cascades to Gordon Falls

The views were incredible, although Gordon Falls itself was a bit lack-lustre (apparently this waterfall is best viewed after a downpour) and we made it to the bus stop with at least 10 minutes to spare.

An amazing panorama from one of the viewpoints

An amazing panorama from one of the viewpoints

We would have loved to spend more time in the Blue Mountains because it really was beautiful and a welcome change of pace from our city-hopping. On our train journey home, we agreed that it was certainly the perfect day-trip escape from Sydney.

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