The Beautiful Blue Mountains: Australia’s Most Accessible Wilderness

Australia’s Most Accessible Wilderness

The trouble with most wilderness areas is their remoteness. Just when you need a little “nature therapy” the most, you can’t have it because it involves so much time, money and preparation. The Blue Mountains are an exception to this rule for those who are lucky enough to be in Sydney, Australia. If visiting the Lucky Country, spare a weekend for the Blue Mountains. Here’s how to get the most out of the Blue Mountains in two days, including travel time:

Day One

Go to Central Station in Sydney. It’s best to get an early start, but don’t ruin your day by getting up too early. There are frequent trains to Katoomba, the biggest town in the Blue Mountains. Some of them are faster than others, but it should take you less than two hours to get there, even if your train makes frequent stops.

Once you’ve arrived in Katoomba, cross the railway tracks, take a left on Main Street and then a right onto Lurline Street, the real “main street” in Katoomba. It’s an easy 5 minute stroll, even if you’re carrying a backpack. If you got a late start and are hungry for lunch, you’ll find plenty of great cafes at the top of Lurline Street, so take your pick and recharge your batteries before moving on.

The next order of business will be finding a place to stay for the night. Ideally, you should have checked out some of the Blue Mountains accommodation options in Katoomba online first and chosen one, but if you didn’t, ask your friendly waitress for some ideas. Now that your baggage is safely stored away, put on your walking shoes, head down Lurline Street and check out some of the many adventure shops along the way. There are probably more shops per capita in Katoomba that specialize in rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking, hiking, canyoning and other adventure activities than almost anywhere else in the world. Choose the adventure of your choice and make arrangements for the following morning.

Now catch a local bus and continue down Lurline Street to Echo Point. This is where your Blue Mountains adventure really begins. The views from Echo Point are breathtaking and you’ll find yourself wanting to find a way to the base of the cliffs, some 1361 vertical feet (415 metres) beneath you. Fortunately, a path down is close at hand: just descend the 871 step Giant Staircase and you’ll find yourself on Federal Pass Trail. Once you’re on Federal Pass Trail, follow the signs to the Scenic Railway. It’s a less than 2 mile (3.1 kilometres, to be exact) hike, but give yourself plenty of time to soak up the scenery along the way. The Scenic Railway is the steepest incline railway in the world and is an adventure in itself. It will whisk you up to the top of the cliffs in no time at all.

Australia’s Most Accessible Wilderness

After that, it’s just a matter of catching a bus back to your Katoomba accommodation and washing up before exploring the town in the evening. There’s usually a pub band playing someplace or catch the show at The Edge Cinema.

Day Two

What did you decide to do today? Did you decide on a rock climbing lesson or did you decide you want to explore the Blue Mountains on your own? If you chose the latter, a great way to get plenty of exercise and see more of the Blue Mountains than you can on foot is to rent a mountain bike. You can buy a guidebook or many of the shops offer free photocopies of some of the best mountain bike trails in the region. Ask the proprietor if you’re not sure which one to take.

By the end of the day, you will probably decide you want to stay in the beautiful Blue Mountains longer, but if you can’t spare the time, don’t worry. You know where they are now and how easy they are to get to. Go back any time. You’re always welcome.

About the author Sidney Morgan writes for ‘Book it Now’ an Australia holiday accommodation website, with tips and advice on travelling to popular destinations in Australia.