The Blue Mountains are about 50km west of Sydney and form a part of the Great Dividing Range. They get their name from a blue haze caused by the sunlight mixing with tiny droplets of oil that are released by the eucalyptus trees. The highest elevation is 1,189m, so it can get pretty cold in the wintertime. Regardless, it’s a beautiful part of the world, with plenty of lookouts so you can enjoy the view.
Towns of the Blue Mountains
This is the main town of the Blue Mountains, located just over a kilometre above sea level. Because tourism is the town’s main industry, it accommodates guests with tonnes of hotels and guest houses, the most well known being the Carrington Hotel, which was established in 1882. It sits on the highest point in Katoomba and even though we weren’t staying there, we still stuck our heads in for a sticky beak.
While Katoomba has a lot of regular and mundane shops and streetscapes, it also has a few special things, like the Street Art Walk, tucked away in an alley behind the main street shops. It is an incredible display of street art, where any surface becomes a canvas.
At the end of the main road is Echo Point, the best place to see the famous Three Sisters. Be prepared to drown in tourists and get whacked with their selfie sticks. If you want to get a little closer to the Three Sisters, take the walk to Honeymoon Bridge. Other great lookouts nearby include Princes Rock Lookout at Wentworth Falls and the incredible Sublime Point Lookout with fantastic 360° views and wind speeds just short of a hurricane.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in the Blue Mountains, book yourself in at the Blue Mountains YHA. The big, historic building has a great story to tell, there is lots of space and warmth, and it’s right in the heart of Katoomba.
A 20 minute drive inland and a little more elevation brings you to Blackhead, another cute and colourful town in the mountains. If you’re passing through with an empty stomach, make sure you pop in to the Bakehouse on Wentworth and smash one of their fine pies. We had the beef, bacon and cheese pie, and the lamb, rosemary and garlic pie. Both scored A++ for flavour, with the only sin being a poor base with little structural integrity – definitely a knife and fork job.
In true Blue Mountains fashion, there are some ripper lookouts around, such as Govetts Leap Lookout and Mount Piddington at Mount Victoria. It was here that we saw snow for the first time – people had stopped on side of road to play.