On Monday we got the train from Sydney’s Central Station to the Blue Mountains. The station is supposed to have left-luggage lockers, so the Rough Guide to Sydney and the receptionist at Y On The Park said, but no, there are no left luggage facilities at the station so we ended up carting all our stuff with us on to the train.
The trains here are great. They’re double-decked so there’s lots of room, the seats have swing-backs so that you can change the direction that the seat faces, and they’re cheap, just A$11 each (about 5 quid) for a 2 hour journey. The trains are clean and so far have run on time too.
The scenery on the journey wasn’t great even as we reached the Blue Mountain area, finally arriving at Katoomba. Sure, there were hills but nothing very special.
We staggered the few hundred yards from the station to our hotel. We were booked into The Carrington Hotel which is a lovely heritage hotel, over 120 years old which makes it practically stone age by Australian terms. We had a “traditional” room which was a decent double with shared bathroom at the end of the hall. No view but given the amount of cloud, that didn’t make much difference.
Since we arrived in Katoomba the weather has been pretty damp with frequent rain and lots of cloud and fog. Not very spring-like at all, and the locals tell us that it’s been unusual, which pretty much covers our experiences with weather since we set of in the camper van in June 2004, or even before (you may remember our trip to Tromso in northern Norway one February where we experienced unexpectedly warm and wet weather instead of the ice, snow and clear blue skies we were hoping for).
Everywhere Internet in Sydney who had very fast access (and USB ports) for A$1.50 per hour if you spend more than A$3.
Virtually the next town to Katoomba is Wentworth Falls, where John, who we met in Arambol in Goa, lives. We knew he owned a deli there and had spotted one from the rain as we went past on the way to Katoomba, so the next day we popped in to see if he was around. With our usual excellent, timing he was away at the horse races.
Back in Katoomba we walked down Katoomba Road, past the impressive looking YHA hostel to Echo Point. Now we could see why people go the Blue Mountains. Spectacular views over sheer cliffs and scenery which is reminiscent of the canyons of American wilderness.
The next day we went for a walk in the National Park, heading down a path to where the a xhref=”http://infobluemountains.net.au/rail/ksr/Default.htm” mce_href=”http://infobluemountains.net.au/rail/ksr/Default.htm”>world’s steepest funicular railway ends. After an enjoyable walk down the mountain, through the trees, we took the train up to the top. We decided to skip the SkyWay and FlyWay and ventured back into the town for delicious hot chocolate at the Elephant Bean cafe.
Katoomba is full of little cafes and restaurants, most of them excellent. We tried Savoy, Journey, A-Roon’s Thai Kitchen and Cafe Zuppa. I also had a fantastic Ploughman’s Lunch at Treahorne, well worth a visit if you’re in town.