Walking the walk
To feel the dominance and be in awe of the Blue Mountains you have to stand beneath one of those towering cliff faces. Ii is this kind of reverence that led to the Blue Mountains area being listed as one of Australia's first national parks. In this opening picture, if you look closely towards the bottom, you will see my youngest son on a trail. This gives you an idea of how insignificant you will be in the scheme of things when you actually get on the trails.
This happens to be the National Pass Track.
The overhanging sandstone with veil like waterfalls here and there splashing at the base and continuing the unending erosion that formed what you see today makes for a memorable passage.
At one end is the famous Wentworth Falls and at the other the less well known Empress Falls (pic 2). Either way you have to climb down and up but don't be frightened, it takes a lot less time than you'd think.
The vastness of the park (247,000 hectares) means you won't get to see it all in your lifetime. In fact, there are places where I will confidently state that no man has walked, such as where the Wollemi Pine, a previously unknown tree, was recently discovered, a biological oddity that has now been saved from extinction by propagation.
Coal Mine Office at Scenic World
Since the mine has been closed down for many years, I guess the office is now no longer operational. Despite desperate attempts and plenty of knocking, no one would answer. I wanted to see if there was any day labor opportunities so I could earn my supper.
I guess I will have to call ahead next time!
The Scenic World
Besides the beautiful scenery and the walking tracks, you also find the Scenic World in Katoomba. The Scenic World includes the Scenic Skyway, the Scenic Railway, the Scenic Walkway and the Scenic Cableway.
We took a ride with the Scenic Skyway - a 720 m journey, 270 m above the Katoomba Falls. There is a fantastic view and this is a recommendable ride. I didn’t try the other rides, so can’t comment.
The ultimate Blue Mountains adventure!
Float on air in the recently unveiled Skyway with its world first Electro-Sceni Glass Floor. Ride the steepest incline Railway in the world down to a lush and hidden valley. Stroll along the Walkway through towering Jurassic rainforest, and refresh both your spirit and soul! Quietly glide out of the valley aboard the Flyway, taking in the breathtaking panorama of the stunning World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains National Park. At Scenic World Blue Mountains enjoy 360° views, taking in the famous Three Sisters, the magnificent Katoomba Falls, Mt Solitary and the near endless vista of the Jamison Valley.
Make sure you try and go mid week. It is over tourist populated and can become a bit much.
Prince Henry Cliff Walk
This cliff top walk, if done in its entirety, is probably all you'd want to do in a day. You'd certainly want to allocate 4 hours for the chore.
Having said that, most people opt to do just a part of it, as we did, and loop back on another trail.
It stretches from Scenic World all the way around to beyond Leura, en route taking in some of the best lookouts in the Blue Mountains.
The most popular sections are Scenic World to Echo Point or Echo Point to Leura. We chose to go down on the Dardanelles Pass trail from Leura but it was closed due to a landslide so we ended up going along the Prince Henry cliff top walk and returning on Cliff Drive after an excursion down to the Three Sisters.
At the Leura Cascades end there are several lookouts offering varied vantage points across Jamison Valley after you leave the cascades.
It took us about three hours for this round trip though at times we dawdled.