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Katoomba And The Blue Mountains
blue mountainsThe Blue Mountains of New South Wales are most famous for the Three Sisters, Katoomba Scenic Railway and the never-ending breathtaking scenery. This is a special place that should be visited at least once in a lifetime.

The best way to embark on your exploration of the Blue Mountains is to pick up your campervan in Sydney and head out via Katoomba. The Blue Mountains are a paradise for those yearning to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life and since they are located only two hours away, it is hard not to be drawn to them. With dense rainforest, waterfalls, deep gorges and world class bushwalking trails, it is a haven for the seasoned traveller, with great accessibility and camping grounds for you and your campervan.

Although all of the seaons here are distinct, springtime is one of the best times to visit Katoomba and the surrounding mountains as the dazzling colours and beauty are a photographers delight. The temperatures are a lot cooler and more pleasant than those of Sydney, but most of the year the climate is moderate in the mid teens. Make sure you come prepared with warm clothing especially on the long walks as mountain weather can change quickly and without any notice.

You will be spoilt with places to stay here, and the most popular of these places would have to be the Euroka campground at Glenbrook. Only 4km from the entrance gate, the sites have excellent amenities and kangaroos at your doorstep making for a true wildlife experience.

In total, the Blue Mountains are comprised of over one million hectares of pristine wilderness, which are home to a total of eight conservation reserves. The Gardens of Stone and the famous Jenolan Caves are popular among tourists, with something here for everyone. The massive cliffs and canyons are an adventurer’s paradise, with abseiling, rock climbing and mountain biking some of the popular sports available.

For those who do not wish to risk life and limb on their holiday, there are plenty of alternatives. Birdwatchers will be close to heaven as the canopy is overflowing with the chirps of birdlife, as well as native animals. However, the extensive range of trails and walks available are what draw people year after year, and there really are walks for every type of fitness level. Young and old, fit and…not so fit.

So, where do you start? Firstly, you need to be prepared with a good map of the area, sturdy walking shoes and plenty of water. Echo Point would have to be one of the most famous lookouts as it offers unique views of the Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley. The Princes Rock Walk only takes half an hour to reach one of the most scenic lookouts over Kings Tableland. This is great for the whole family, especially the kids. Spectacular Kanangra Falls is located, not surprisingly, in the Kanangra Boyd National Park. With its reputation as being one of Australia's best national parks, this is definitely a ‘must see’.

The Katoomba Falls are an unforgettable highlight of the mountains and simple must be added to the itinerary. Pack a picnic lunch, and be prepared for paradise as you venture through the rainforest paths into a beautiful gully set off by the falls. With rock pools and majestic trees you might want to set some time aside here. Another famous attraction is the Katoomba Scenic Railway, which is the steepest railway in the world, so be sure to hold on tight!

Needing a challenge? There are walks for you in the Grand Canyon and Sassafras Gully, with wilderness trails that take you to incredible rainforest and breathtaking scenery. The Wollemi National Park features magnificent rock formations and the famous glow worm tunnels and is an essential for any keen tourist. The Grand Canyon Track is another popular walk, which stretches for 5kms deep into the Canyon.

Govetts Leap is a famous trail which takes you to the stunning views from Evans Lookout. It’s great for the adventurous, but you may have to think twice if you are not too keen on heights. There are also many walks to choose from around Hazelbrook, most popular being the Valley of the Waters walk which basically follows the path of the falls down the valley.

The raw and natural beauty of the Blue Mountains is essentially why they are such a popular destination world wide. The magnificent wonder of the peaks and the stunning views each of these offer are enough to take one's breath away and will continue to caputure hearts for eternity.

Christine Barton

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