After contemplating a number of destinations for the 4 day Easter weekend, I decided on the Blue Mountains as an economical choice. It is one of the major attractions just out of Sydney (a couple hours on the train). The Mountains are supposed to have a blue glow from all the eucalyptus oil from the trees. Often, though, as in our case, the view is clouded by fog. Echo Point is about a 20 minute walk from the centre of town and from here you can, in theory, see the “Three Sisters”, large rock formations that jut out of the mountain. The mountains, which are located west of Sydney, are what initially blocked the migration of settlers inland. It took many years for people to decide on building a road through.
We took the train out late Saturday morning and stayed all Sunday.
We didn’t expect much to be open Easter weekend, but we were pleasantly surprised as much of it was. The town of Katoomba is really quaint – it appears to be centred around one main street but I get the impression that tourism has grown the area significantly in the last ten years. There were lots of antique and outdoor clothing stores. Much of Katoomba was developed during the 1920s and you can see the art deco influence in some buildings combined with Victorian style. The social climate however is very 1950-60s. This was particularly evident at the Carrington hotel where we stayed.
The hotel seemed to have a lot of history, having been around for over a hundred years and you can see that every effort has been made to make it seem “grand” for the local folk.
It reminded me a bit of a few of the nicer retirement homes I’d been to in terms of décor and general atmosphere. Food was only available through their very dressed up dining room – even breakfast. Red velour chairs, white tablecloths, “silver” tin platters with doilies and sad little bread rolls in a giant room with cathedral height ceilings and no windows. The service was not great although I think they meant well. The attempted “fanciness” of the menu did not mask the poor quality of the food. Anyways, you can’t really blame them, it is a very small town after all and I’m sure they please most of their guests. On the plus, the free breakfast was excellent. Although I would have preferred having it in one of the many lounges with windows, there were hot cross buns for Easter, porridge, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, cheese, cold meats, bread and pastries. There was also a nice billiards room and wrap around veranda.
There are many trails to choose from starting at Echo Point, but I did the great staircase walk, which is probably the longest staircase I have continuously walked up.
We started down around the base of one of the “Sisters” passing a number of people very out of breath on their way up the narrow path. Every once in a while we reached a clear bit where we could get a good view and it really was worth it. The cleanliness of the air in Katoomba was so refreshing and everything just smelled wonderful.
I also checked out some of the little antique stores and scored a silk Dior scarf and actually found a pair of R.M. William boots in my size for $18! (retails new $350).
So nice weekend overall, but hot cross buns everyday was about the extent of my easter celebrations, oh and I shared a seafood tasting plate on Good Friday at the wine bar near my house. As refreshing as Katoomba was, it was nice to come back to warm Sydney.
The Blue Mountain visit was like a little preview to Australian winter!
On Monday, after a swim at Redleaf beach near my flat, I went to the Royal Easter Show out at the Olympic Park. The show is like a combination of the CNE and the Royal Winter Fair. We went at night so didn’t see much but hung out in the members bar overlooking the main arena watching dirt bike shows and ute (pickup) races. Then we went on a ride and had some carnival food. By Tuesday morning I really needed another weekend to rest.