The Monday after Mardi Gras, a small group of us decided it would be fun to go on a day trip into the Blue Mountains as they’re meant to be pretty spectacular.
Being somewhat delicate from the the weekend’s festivities, we wandered to Sydney’s Central Station around 11.00am and bought ourselves some Opal cards (Sydney’s version of London’s Oyster).
Jumping on the 11.18 train, we arrived at a rather grey Katoomba station at around 13.30 as the train was a little held up on its journey from Sydney.
We were pretty hungry by this point (read: ravenous), so stopped at the rather excellent Basil Nut Café, which we found by doing a quick google search. Huge portions, great value and really helpful staff.
By the time we’d finished our late lunch it was pouring it down. Being the prepared Brit that I am, I was wearing Gore-Tex walking boots and had a Gore-Tex rain jacket with me. The three Americans… well, weren’t quite as prepared. Almost $180 later in rain jackets, we strolled down to the road to the falls.
It was around a fifteen minute walk out of town before we got to the start of the track down. We passed a couple of people walking up who assured us it was around 30 to 45 minutes down. Which was right if you’re only going to the falls. They also warned us about the leeches. Thankfully we didn’t encounter any, nor any other people, so I’m still not sure if they were joking or not!
We started the walk down and it was pretty muddy, but also fairly incredible walking through the cloud forest, in the, erm, clouds!
Given the sheer amount of cloud around, my iPhone had a few issues with contrast between the large amounts of white cloud and the surrounding darker areas.
After the falls viewing area we continued heading downwards via the Furber Steps.
On our way down the steps, we passed what can only be described as a very, very crazy person. For my readers that have had the pleasure of watching The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, they may recall a strange person at a couple of junctures in the film, pulling a cart who appeared to be running across Australia (starts at about 10:30 in to the movie). We passed a person that was running up and down the entire trail. Three times. But then he said he passed us again and said he was doing it for a fourth time.
Please bear in mind that it took all of us a good two hours to walk down. One way. Perhaps it’s an Australian thing, I don’t know?
As we descended the views got more and more incredible. I’ve taken a few very short videos as the clouds obscured quite a lot.
There were a bunch of overhangs and cool caves that the path went through on the way to the bottom of the trail.
When we eventually did reach the bottom, there was a funicular railway which meant that we didn’t have to walk all the way back up. The journey up only took a couple of minutes that had taken us the best part of two hours to walk down.
The funicular brought us up to a theme park called Scenic World. However given the weather there was virtually no scenery visible at any point! They did charge us $20 for the ride up.
By that point we wait for the local bus which took about ten minutes to drive us back to Katoomba, were we waited in the Old City Bank Brasserie with a well deserved pint. They also had games which they lent out so thought it would be rude not to test out the Australian version of Cards Against Humanity. We unfortunately only had time for a few rounds before we need to wander back to the railway station for the two hour ride back to Central Station.
Despite the rather inclement weather it was a brilliant day out and one that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.