After a busy first few weeks in Sydney working hard, we decided to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend a weekend in the Blue Mountains.
A mountainous region around two a half hours from Sydney, the Blue Mountains gained its name as a result of the oil from the many eucalyptus trees mixing with the water vapour in the air and casting a blue hue around the mountains and the skyline.
There are a number of villages in the region, but as we were only there for a short time we decided to stay in Katoomba. From the rustic No14 Guest House where we stayed, we walked through the village towards Echo Point. It’s autumn here at the moment, but we had perfect weather during our whole stay, with clear blue skies and hot sunshine. Many leaves have fallen, and our walk was a multitude of greens, reds, yellows, golds and browns.
Arriving at Echo Point, we were met with the spectacular view of the mountains spanning across the horizon. It was a clear day, yet the vapour in the air created a haze around the mountain tops. To our left, stood the Three Sisters, a rock formation which represents three sisters who according to legend were turned to stone by a witch doctor. His actions were intended to protect them from the men by whom they were captured, but apparently the doctor died before he was able to reverse the spell, condemning the sisters to an eternity in stone.
The Giant Stairway is a path of 900 steps which lead from Echo Point, past the Three Sisters and down into the Jamison Valley. Whilst some of the steps have been replaced with metal where the path has worn away, most of the steps were rocky and uneven, spiralling down into the valley. To reach the bottom was hard work, and the walk back up was even more arduous!
With aching legs and tired from the day’s walking, we slept well, rising early the following morning to make the walk from Valley of the Waters to Wentworth Falls Village. The path that we followed on this walk showed us some of the most stunning sights we have seen yet.
From Queen Victoria Lookout at the start of the walk, we had an incredible view of the mountains and cliffs, densely populated with over 100 species of eucalyptus trees and plant life which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. We descended amongst the trees and plants, following the path of chunky rocks, alongside the craggy stone face. The path led us to Empress Falls; waterfalls flowing down the cliffs, splashing from one rock to the next, resulting in lush green life growing there and the stone colouring darkly from the continuous flow of water.
We weaved in and out of the waterfalls, splashing through shallow pools of water and brushing back branches which grew in our way. The stepping stones and rocky walkways led us along the National Pass, against the cliff face, battered and worn by years of exposure to the Australian climate with its extremes of intense heat and storms. As we passed through the various waterfalls, we could feel drops of water splashing on us, cool yet refreshing.
Eventually we reached Wentworth Falls, the largest of the falls we had seen so far. The water cascaded from high above us, bouncing off the uneven rocks, spray in the air from the gentle breeze. After crossing over the flow, we ascended steep stone steps, an intense climb, until we found ours
elves at the top of the waterfall looking at the drop below and the valley around.
From the top of Wentworth Falls, the walk was easier on the legs, but just as beautiful. Darwin’s Walk wound alongside the peaceful stream, the source of the waterfalls. The quiet atmosphere was a contrast to the noise of the waterfalls which we had left behind. The plants which grew on the river bed were thick and lush, almost tropical. Back in the sunshine, out from under the shade of the trees which had sheltered most of our walk, we arrived at Wentworth Village.
We have been fortunate enough to see some outstanding sights on our travels, with rich history, but in terms of natural beauty, Wentworth Falls is the most stunning.
Thanks for reading.
Sophie & Tom