Out of anywhere on the east coast, the Blue Mountains were our most anticipated destination. We’ve heard so much about the place and the regular comparison to the Grampians in Victoria that we’ve explored in detail, now we had finally made it there and couldn’t be more excited to discover the place on foot!
Being so close to Sydney, the Blue Mountains are very built up, a lot more than we expected. Train lines and busy highways connect towns and smaller settlements throughout the mountain ranges. Although there’s some stunning nature and that’s exactly what we were there for, the roads were terrible (a common theme in NSW) and most (not all) of the towns, facilities and main attractions were in a really poor condition. It seems that the local Blue Mountains councils were out of funds as not only were there lots of pot holes, but waist high weeds, crumbling paths and facilities, abandoned buildings, lots of rubbish and litter blowing around, closed roads and just an overall rough feeling about the place.
With our water tank full and battery charged in the caravan, we didn’t see the need to stay in a town or at a caravan park and instead headed to the northern part of the Blue Mountains, setting up base at Cathedral Reserve Campground.
It was pretty foggy and cold when we got to the campground, we mainly spent the rest of the day playing cards by the fire, then to stretch our legs, we set off on the Giant Tree Walk that began just near our campsite, but the tree had been struck by lightening, so we just observed the ferns.
Dozens of incredible hiking trails, waterfalls and lookouts are spread throughout the Blue Mountains. We had been researching them with keen interest, trying to figure out which ones to head on and decided to start with the Grand Canyon Walk, it was amazing! It was up there with the best short walks we’ve been on in the entire country.
The trail looped around for about 5 kms with it starting off as nice, but a pretty standard forest walk. Once we had made it down into the canyon, it was insanely beautiful. The track followed a deep gorge that had a creek in the middle of it, passing dozens of waterfalls and cascades. We loved every minute of walking through this part, then we were pretty warn out after the steep climb up hundreds of stairs to get back to our car.
The Three Sisters are possibly the most well-known rock formation and tourist site in Blue Mountains National Park. There’s a viewing platform right next to them and it’s all on the edge of the largest town in the area, Katoomba. We went and took a look and then spent the afternoon wandering around town, visiting cafe’s and shops.
Close to Katoomba and the Three Sisters are a few of the other main places worth taking a look at. We spent the next few days and rest of our time in the Blue Mountains exploring them.
Wentworth Falls was another amazing place to walk around. We spent almost a full day weaving and winding around different trails near the waterfall. It was the most fun that we had while in the Blue Mountains and the views were stunning, some of which were from rock ledges that were hundreds of metres above sheer drops.
We also visited Leura Cascades, right beside the super well presented town of Leura that’s often featured in magazines.
For our last little adventure, we hiked down to “Pool of Siloam“, another waterfall.
We went here to hang out and relax in peace at the plunge pool that was surrounded by a dense forest of ferns and bushy trees. On the way down there, we got another view of the Three Sisters, this time from the other side, it was the opposite side of the mountain range to the viewing platform that we had been to earlier in the week.
Both of these places were really stunning and worth visiting, although not quite on the same level as the Grand Canyon & Wentworth Falls.
We’re really glad that we didn’t just stick to the coast and came to the Blue Mountains, a mecca for hiking in Australia. Although the roads and facilities weren’t great, the nature outside of the built up areas was incredible and this was one of the best places we’ve visited on this side of the country.
Up next: We’re heading back to the coast and making our way up to Byron Bay.