Having seen a lot of Australia, I have to confess I hadn’t really done much exploring in New South Wales. So when I was looking to take a group of girls camping, I was searching for something appropriate in the Blue Mountains National Park. We ended up at Turon Gates, which was about an hour away and I thought I would use the proximity to do a little day trip to Katoomba.
My parents had met in Katoomba and spent a few years there studying at bible college. Dad especially is a prolific story teller and therefore we heard plenty of Katoomba-based stories while growing up. I did manage to find one of the places they lived at and we spent a few hours wandering around the main street. It was an interesting place. My mum later described it as full of rich, old people and hippies. Obviously there were a lot of tourists there but the locals still found our little crew a curiosity. I spend a fair amount of time with these girls out and about in Melbourne and never before have we attracted so much unsolicited attention. Nothing harmful, thankfully, but the number of people who felt the need to comment on “what beautiful ladies they are,” call out similar sentiments on the street or interrogate us about where we were from, took me by surprise. The girls were endlessly amused when I quickly responded, “Melbourne,” much to the questioner’s chagrin.
The main reason we had headed to Katoomba was to see the Three Sisters. This is one of the most recognised (and easily accessible) parts of the Blue Mountains. We drove to Echo Point, and then drove a few blocks away from Echo Point to get affordable parking. There are a few paved walkways and stone steps to various lookouts and even down to one of the rock formations. Foot traffic was pretty high so while the walks were quite short, it was a bit slow going at a few bottle necks. We took a few photos from the lookout, checked out the souvenir shop before heading off to find some lunch.
After lunch (and some of those awkward conversations with locals) we went off in search of waterfalls. Tourist traffic was markedly reduced around the Katoomba Falls area. We spent more time here than Echo Point. My mum is originally from Perth and this was the first place she lived outside of Western Australia. She recalls being overwhelmed that any place could be so green and spending many hours wandering around the waterfalls. As residents of Victoria we encounter a lot more foliage, however we still spent plenty of time exploring the temperate rain forest and taking in the tranquility of the waterfalls.
It was all I could do to drag the girls back up all those stairs so we could return to our campsite before it was dark. Needless to say, the little that I got to see of the Blue Mountains and Katoomba did not disappoint. Maybe one day I’ll get to explore a little deeper into the national park.