Duration: More than 3 hours
Price Guide: $13
Home to the stunning Blue Mountains and at 2500 feet above Sydney; the town of Katoomba is a welcome breath of fresh air – so idyllic are the surroundings that many a poet and artist have chosen to reside here! Bush and nature walks are hugely popular; particularly to the Three Sisters, the Ruined Castle, Katoomba Falls and Echo Point. For those not fit enough to go clambering up and down mountains, there are adventure tours which can show you the sights and take you on some more user-friendly walks. Get off at Katoomba Station (approx two hours from Sydney Central station on the Great Western Highway; tickets around $13 return).
Katoomba (Aboriginal for shining, falling water) is a quaint but charming town; with a surprising number of good cafes and restaurants packed into its small stretch of high street, along with a few random antique and book shops. If you find yourself in need of camping gear, there are several stores dotted around. You’ll also find a large Coles tucked away on Watarah Street (turn right off Katoomba Street near the bottom of the hill). As far as accommodation goes, there are a couple of backpacking hostels near the station, but in all honesty, if you’re coming to see the Blue Mountains, it’s easier, cheaper and much more fun to camp!
As you exit the station you will walk onto Katoomba Street. Follow this straight. Continue walking down Katoomba Street. After about 10 minutes you will pass through the high street – continue for another 10 minutes and there will be a turning to the right down a steep hill; Katoomba Falls Road. Follow this down.
At the bottom of the hill there is a large picnic area, which also has barbeque facilities. Be warned though, you can’t camp here. Even if you try and hide your tent behind a bush (we tried and failed badly at this) someone will come and move you. So don’t waste your time.
The entrance to the Caravan Park is around the corner on the right. If you’re not staying in there, but are sleeping nearby and don’t fancy squatting in the bushes, there are public toilets on the far right. Directly opposite is a kiosk where you can get food and snacks.
The local tourist information office will be able to tell you which of the camping grounds are free, open and have places left to camp. As this can change from day to day – differing weather conditions can close camp grounds – it’s best to check when you get up there.
If you do decide you want to camp in the mountains instead, there is an information board opposite; to the far right of the kiosk. Take a look at the map to get an idea of where you could go and how long it’ll take you.