Second Choice: Prince Henry Cliff Walk

Katoomba Travel Blog

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The view looking out over the Jamison Valley. Note the blue haze in the distance from the eucalyptus tree oil evaporating in the air.
We had a friend from New Zealand stay with us this past week and we decided that it was very necessary to take her out of the city to visit the Blue Mountains.  She had spent her entire vacation roaming around Sydney and we all agreed that it was time for some fresh air and lush scenery.  We hopped the train from Central Station and two hours later we arrived at Katoomba Station.

I had never visited the town of Katoomba before and I thought it was the perfect place for a short getaway from the city.  Clearly banking off the tourism from the Blue Mountains, the town still managed to retain that great, small town feel with its yummy bakeries and large selection of welcoming cafes.
The glory of the Three Sisters at Echo Point
  We saw signs for several backpackers in town and I could easily imagine enjoying a few days relaxing in town exploring the many trails in the Blue Mountain Park during the day.

Being cash poor, as usual, we opted to walk from the station to the Echo Point Info Kiosk, the start of the trail we planned to walk.  It was a 20 minute walk to the info center and the sun was already beating down hard.  I always manage to start these walks with, well, lots of walking!  "Are we there yet?" comes to mind.  I often find myself cursing these long, hot walks just to get to the START of the walking trail.  My lazy side is always rallying against my cheap side....

But before long we ended up at Echo Point, a very popular destination for bus-loving tourists.
A very contrasty photo of the Leura Cascades
  About a dozen tour buses lined the streets coming up to the famous lookout point which offered familiar views of the famous Three Sisters rock formation often pictured in tour magazines advertising the Blue Mountains.  Funny how it's just that easy to see this symbol of vast wilderness and protected wildlife.  I'm not trying to be cynical here.  I just remembered thinking how easy it was to view the Three Sisters.  I also remembered thinking how easy it was to find a rock formation, in this case, three rock pillars, give it a name, and voila!  Instant tourist magnet!  Again, not trying to be negative.  I just find human nature amusing.

After checking out the view, we stopped in the Info Center.  To our disappointment, we discovered that the Blue Mountains valley walks were all closed due to the threat of bushfires.  Apparently, there had been a lot of dry lightening in the past 24 hours making it dangerous for people to be down in the valley in case a fire suddenly broke out.  What terrible luck!  Of course, it was our fault for not calling the park ahead of time to find out important info such as that, but at least all was not lost.  The cliff side walks were still open.  So, although we couldn't go down into the heart of the beautiful forest area, we could at least view them from high above.

We left the info center and took the Prince Henry Cliff Walk east.  There were indeed many stunning views and we even had a close encounter with a gorgeous bird with red and blue feathers.  No clue what species it was though.  The trail was still surrounded with greenery and offered at least a passing perception of being close to nature.  At least, only when we didn't hear the occasional car drive past along the road not far through the trees.  The trail highlight was the Leura Cascades, a stream of water rushing along a steep incline of smooth rocks.  I'm not sure if it could be called a waterfall since the water wasn't actually falling all that much.  Cascade would definitely be the most appropriate word.  We found a shaded, peaceful spot under a rock overhang near the bottom of the Leura Cascades and basked in the joy of soaking our hot, stinky feet in the cool, refreshing water.

When we were tired of walking, we headed back up to the road and managed to hitch a ride back into town.  Before getting back on the train for the 2 hour trip back to the city, we stopped at a cafe to enjoy a few rounds of ice cream and coffee based cold drinks.  My short forays into nature alway remind me that I'm just a city girl at heart.
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The view looking out over the Jami…
The view looking out over the Jam…
The glory of the Three Sisters at …
The glory of the Three Sisters at…
A very contrasty photo of the Leur…
A very contrasty photo of the Leu…
photo by: monkeymia79