Back with the tourists

Katoomba Travel Blog

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The Three Sisters

The hostel "No 14 backpackers" is probably one of the best we have stayed in so far.  It is wooden and very homely with a long veranda filled with comfy seats and potted geraniums.

As has become routine when we arrive in a new place we had an explore today.  It came as somewhat of a shock to be somewhere so touristy again, having been off the backpacker trail for a while.  We had tried to book into "No 14" for the rest of our time here but it is booked up, as are most other places - apparently there is a Christian Convention on over the weekend, but we managed to find somewhere else.

We walkd down to Echo Point for the famous Blue Mountains view of the 'Three Sisters' and shared the vantage point with about six coachloads of Japanese tourists.

The Blue Mountains
  The 'Three Sisters' are huge rocky points, taking their name from an Aboriginal Dreamtime story.  We left the majority of tourists behind by walking down the Giant's Stairway, a collection of about 800 very steep steps down to the valley floor, or at least to the treeline.  It was definitely not for those with a fear of heights, especially one section of steps literally attached to the cliff wall - there was absolutely nothing but fresh air between your feet and several hundred feet below. 

We walked through the forest for about 3km, passing the base of the Three Sisters.  Rather than walking back up the steps we decided to get the train back up.  We had heard about it being steep but nothing compared us for the gradient we actually saw.

The Giant's Stairway
We are guessing 80 degrees, near vertical.  It is apparently the steepest railway in the world and looked like something your would encounter at Alton Towers.  The train soon appeared (it only takes 2 minutes) packed full of Japanese tourists, those at the front screaming.  We decided to give it a whirl, despite some worries from Emma who had her eyes shut most of the way up.  Diane enjoyed it though.  We were whizzed up an impossibly steep gorge, through a tunnel and back up onto the ridge.

The evening was spent on the verandah, wine flowing, chatting with Tomas, Sabina, Jenny (a girl we had met in New Zealand - small world), a Canadian and 2 Americans - one of whom worked for the Department of Defence in the USA.  Inevitably the topic got onto Iraq and there was much tongue biting (and some none tongue biting) as he defended the American position!

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The Three Sisters
The Three Sisters
The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains
The Giants Stairway
The Giant's Stairway
The train back up
The train back up
Katoomba
photo by: monkeymia79