Starting our drive from Sydney, we arrived at the Katoomba YHA about 2hrs later. By this time the sky was darkening and the temperature dropping low enough to leave us madly rattling with every gust of wind. That said, our exploration would have to wait until the next day. But dinner (we picked Thai out of the several options) followed by a hot carob (a delicious chocolate replacement) at the cosy Yellow Deli was more than enough to leave me feeling satisfied with a low-key night in.
And for nights in, the YHA definitely catered by supplying books, boardgames, movies, and just plenty of space to lounge around. What got out interest was the vast tour information on hand. For every budget there are several options. We were mostly interested in the ‘free’ category so the high adrenaline stuff was off the cards this time. I had no idea if he worked there, but a kind older gentleman was happy to provide us with a map and circle out his recommendations.
We only had the next day to spend, but knew that you can’t go wrong on the advice of a local. I had only been in Katoomba for a few hours but felt, compared to Sydney, the warmth in the people was just as noticeable as the coldness in the air. As I opened my book in front of the fireplace, I couldn’t help but feel right at home.
The next morning kicked of with Breakfast burritos from Thunderbird Mexican then a walk through a pretty cool street are exhibit. Mexican and contemporary street art: two things not expected in a regional country town. I guess Katoomba ain’t your typical town!
From there, there was a lot of steps, panting, and sitting down at Wentworth Falls, Govetts Leap, and the Three Sisters. With so many look outs around, how you spend your time ultimately comes down to your appetite for fresh air and exercise. Luckily, the signs give you good idea of what you’re getting into, rating the difficulty the time required for each hike. Hike is a loose term because the areas are well kept and safe. The only real risk is one’s stupidity. We sacked on mostly 30 minute walks. Even if you’re not the walking type, these breath taking views are still available from the parking lot.
If you’re going to be on foot, keep room in your stomach. If you plan on mostly driving, still keep room. You’ll be passing an endless amount of cafes and restaurants. Most of them offering their own quirky style and personality. We spotted the Blue Mountains Chocolate Factory, and even though we were a few minutes off another walking track, we couldn’t say no to a specially heated glass of milk that melts chocolate pieces as you drop them in, turning into an amazing hot chocolate.
As the day ended, exhausted and full, we drove to Cahills Lookout to catch the sun setting. The stars slowly started to emerge as we exchanged stories with another two tourists who were also enjoying a break from the big city just 2hrs to our east.
There is much more to Katoomba and the Blue Mountains, but it’ll have to wait until next time – which there will definitely be. In our day and a half, we definitely enjoyed the sights, the food, and the people we came across – fellow adventures and staff.
It was a short weekend adventure over for me, but a warm up for Jenny. I dropped her off at the airport so she could begin her next adventure of riding through Europe on her bike! Follow her at Jenny on Wheels