# K is for Katoomba.
Don’t you just love our Australian names? If you have been following, and as we continue through the A-Z of Australian locations, there will be a number of unusual names, many of them a reflection of Australian aboriginal culture. So today we are at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, approximately a 2 hour drive west of Sydney, in New South Wales.
The Blue Mountains are not mountains so much as a high plateau of sandstone with deeply gouged canyons and densely wooded valleys which indeed appear to be “blue”. There is a very scientific reason for this but suffice to say, in my layman’s terms, the blue haze is due to eucalyptus oil emitted from the eucalyptus trees, which mixed with dust, water droplets and refracted light create a blue haze. Check google for a more detailed description.
Katoomba is the jewel in the Blue Mountains municipality and earlier this year, we were fortunate enough to spend a week there in a sweet little Airbnb. We were within walking distance of Echo Point, The Three Sisters, the Katoomba Falls and Scenic World and a short drive to Katoomba’s main drag. Katoomba is a eclectic mix of tourism, arts and crafts, spectacular wilderness scenery, temperate rain forest bush walks and late 19th Century charm.
Echo Point is the viewing platform for the Three Sisters, a most iconic landmark and one of the most photographed natural features of Australia. Legend has it that the sisters were three beautiful, aboriginal maidens who were in love with three man from a neighbouring tribe, but just like Romeo and Juliet, custom and tribal allegiance forbid them to marry. The sisters were turned into stone to prevent the men taking them by force and it was fully planned that they would be restored to flesh and blood after the danger had passed. Unfortunately, Kuradjuri, who had the power to do this, was killed in a tribal war and no-one since has been able to break his spell. So the sisters stand majestically and overlook the most beautiful and wonderful scenery and pre-covid were admired by approximately 2 million visitors annually.
In #B in this series of blogs I wrote about the Bunya Mountains and the deeply spiritual and mystical vibration emitted from the Bunyas. Well, the Blue Mountains have the same effect. Being in these breathtakingly beautiful surroundings is an awesome experience which is both calming and healing.
A trip to the Blue Mountains is not complete without a visit to Scenic World. This privately owned tourist attraction is located in a World Heritage listed temperate rain forest. Here visitors ride the Scenic Railway which hurtles down a steep incline at breakneck speed to the bottom of the valley floor. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it’s the steepest railway in the world and was originally built to be part of the Katoomba mining tramways that were constructed in the late 1800s. With a measure of 52-degree incline (128% incline). Source: Scenic Railway Blue Mountains (bluemountainstoursydney.com.au)
On one of our trips to the Blue Mountains we took the train from Sydney Central Station the the Blue Mountains, alighting at Katoomba from where we caught the Big Red Bus for sightseeing and visited Scenic World.
At Scenic World we took the railway to the bottom of the valley floor and after a walk through the rain forest took the cable car back to the top of the escarpment. But the best is the Skyway which takes its 720 metre journey from clifftop to clifftop across this ancient landscape providing marvelous views of the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls and the rain forest filled ravines below through the glass floor.
Katoomba, we will be back to experience the stunning magnificence of the Blue Mountains and enjoy all your beauty.