Blackheath – Medlow Bath – Megalong Valley – Mount Victoria – Katoomba
Katoomba is the most visited town in the Blue Mountains. It wasn’t until 1879 that the town of Katoomba became known when J.B. North opened the Katoomba Coal Mine. Coal was collected from the side of the mountain, close to Orphan Rock utilising a cable car to carry the coal to the top. The now popular Scenic Railway transports visitors up and down the steepest railway in the world, in the first cutting in the mountain side.
The Scenic Railway, the steepest railway in the world, is currently one of the most well known man-made tourism destinations in Australia. The ride brings you down past Orphan Rock, through a passage and you will see beautiful ferns are you descend.
Opposite the Scenic Railway is the Scenic Cableway, the steepest airborne cable car in Australia. The Scenic Cableway takes you on a 545 meter ride into the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area rainforest of the Jamison Valley. Scenic World includes a Scenic Walkway that takes you down into the rainforest area. A well known choice for guests is to plunge into the valley through the Scenic Railway, walk around the Scenic Walkway and rise to the top by means of the Scenic Cableway, or in any order you like.
Not forgetting the incredible Scenic Skyway, the Skyway was Australia’s first Skyway for travellers and was built in 1958. The new Skyway with a glass base floor in the centre of the car, can convey up to 84 travellers across the Jamison Valley at a height of 200 metres. The view is amazing.
From Scenic World west along Cliff Drive you will find Eaglehawk Lookout and Landslide Lookout. Close by is the Katoomba Christian Convention Centre. Further along Cliff Drive go for a walk along Narrow Neck Road. Continuing on in Cliff Drive you will come to Cahills Lookout offering views over the brilliant Megalong Valley.
Driving east along Cliff Drive from Scenic World you can find the Katoomba Cascades and walk around to see Katoomba Falls. Going along Prince Henry Cliff Walk to Cliff View Lookout, Wollumai Lookout, Allambie Lookout and Lady Darley Lookout and Lilianfels Park offering Picnic and BBQ’s.
A visit to the Blue Mountains would not be finished without seeing the Three Sisters at Echo Point. The route to the Three Sisters is signposted. Either take Katoomba Street or Lurline Street to Echo Point Road. The Three Sisters is around 2.5 kilometres from the Great Western Highway or Katoomba Railway Station. While the Blue Mountains includes so much more than the Three Sisters, no visit would be complete without seeing the Three Sisters for yourself.
The mood and lighting of the Three Sisters changes throughout the day and all through the seasons as the daylight draws out the beautiful tones. The Three Sisters is additionally floodlit around evening time looking considerably beautiful set against the dark foundation of the night sky. For those wishing to find out about the Three Sisters, the Aboriginal Dream Time Stories are certainly worth a read.
The renowned Giant Stairway is also found at Echo Point. If you are fit and keen, you can make the 800 strides down to the floor of the valley. Katoomba’s Echo Point Visitor Information Centre is situated at Echo Point. The Information Centre has numerous Australian gifts available to be purchased and tourist information is available.
Back in the town, the main hotel in Katoomba was built in 1882 by Mr. Harry Rowell. Known as the ‘Great Western Hotel’, this hotel attracted many guests and visitors. The hotel was sold in 1886 to Mr. F. Goyder who performed significant renovations on the structure and renamed it “The Carrington” after the prevailing Governor. The Carrington went through a significant renovation and yet again opened to the general public in 1998.
On the north side of the Great Western Highway you will see the Blue Mountains City Council, the Renaissance Center (now in disrepair) and The Edge Cinema. The Edge has one of the biggest film screens in the southern hemisphere.
In Katoomba’s North there is the Showground (on the Great Western Highway), a few parks including Melrose Park, Harold Hodgson Park and Bureau Park. Off Mort Street you will find down the RSPCA animal shelter.
If you drive downMini Ha-Ha Road you will arrive at Mini Ha-Ha Reserve and can walk to Mini Ha-Ha Falls inside Yosemite Park.
Further west in Katoomba along the Great Western Highway was the well known Explorers Marked Tree, it has been removed and the site is now empty.
Behind the site of the now removed Explorers Marked Tree at the highest point of Pulpit Hill, you will see around 20 piles of stones. The belief is that these mark the graves of convicts who passed on while chipping away at the structure of Cox’s Road. This was also the area of numerous services of religion and subsequently the name Pulpit Hill.
Near the site of the now removed Explorers Marked Tree and down Nellies Glen is the beginning of the well known ‘Six Foot Track’. For the very keen, this track takes you from Katoomba through to Jenolan Caves following the route down into Nellies Glen and across the Megalong Valley. Further down Nellies Glen Road you can walk to Pulpit Rock and Boonie Doon Falls.
Daytime or evening, Katoomba has numerous bistros and cafés in Town.
Katoomba also has numerous galleries, with some situated on Lurline Street.
Significant Festivals in Katoomba incorporate the Six Foot Track Marathon in March, and the Winter Magic Festival in June.
Along the Blue Mountains railway in 1874, there was a region where stone was quarried to give ballast. The region was given the name of “Crushers”. Trains would stop and adjust the brakes of the carriages for the descent into Springwood. The name “Crushers” was changed to Katoomba in 1877.
Katoomba is a derivative of the Aboriginal word ‘Kedumba’ signifying ‘shiny, falling waters.
Katoomba is a place where history, artistic expression, amazing scenery and bistro culture blend, making it an intriguing spot to visit at a relaxed speed – by walking.
Assuming that you were asked to name a popular hotel in the Blue Mountains, your response would in all probability be the ‘Hydro Majestic Hotel’. This well known hotel was opened by Mark Foy as a hydropathic spa in 1904. Known as a luxury retreat, with fine cooking and a famous hub for Blue Mountains travellers for a long time, the hotel has been through much renovation.
The hotel is a blend of three properties. The first being a property created by Edward Hargraves who got an award from the government following his revelation of gold toward the west of the Blue Mountains in 1851. The second was Belgravia Hotel which was built in 1891 next to ‘Hargraves House’ and the third was ‘Tuckers House’.
Behind the Hydro you will discover a few walking tracks including Blackheath Glen Nature Trail. You can also walk to Tuckers Lookout overlooking the Megalong Valley.
Additionally situated in Medlow Bath is one of the best-preserved Gatekeepers cottage in the Blue Mountains and it is now privately owned.
On the north side of the rail line is The Old Post Office at Medlow Bath.
The old Katoomba Airfield is situated at Medlow Bath down Rutland/Grand Canyon Road.
Down Rutland Road you will discover some walking tracks which take you to Point Pilcher which offers expansive views of Govetts Gorge.
The town is additionally served by Medlow Bath railway station, across the road from the Hydro Majestic Hotel.
Blackheath is generally renowned for its yearly ‘Rhododendron Festival’ held in November every year. Rhododendrons are the significant drawcard as they are absolutely beautiful. Guests to Blackheath can visit the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens situated at 1 Baccante Street.
Blackheath is loaded with pioneer history. The first building in Blackheath was “The Scotch Thistle Inn” built by Andrew Gardner in 1831. The Inn was visited by the eminent researcher Charles Darwin in 1836. The site for “The Scotch Thistle Inn” was found south of the current Gardners Inn Hotel. The first flight of stairs from “The Scotch Thistle” has been saved and can be found in Gardners Hotel.
The Victory Theatre, in Govetts Leap Road, is no longer used as a theatre, there is now a cafe out front and behind is a huge antique centre which is positively worth perusing.
Outwardly, the Victory Theatre is one of the town’s largest buildings with a bright wall painting designed by Jenny Kee. It was painted in 1985 by individuals from the local area for the Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre.
Further down Govetts Leap Road you will find the Blue Mountains National Parks and Wildlife Service where you can get tourist information. From this centre, you can walk down the Fairfax Heritage walk to Govetts Leap and view the beautiful Bridal Veil Fall with its 60m fall.
There are numerous lookouts and bush walks around Blackheath. The view from Govetts Leap and Evans Lookout give a stunning view over the Grose Valley (the Grand Canyon Walk starts from Evans Lookout or Neates Glen along Evans Lookout Road – start at either and end at the other).
You can also drive down Walls Cave Road off Evans Lookout Road and you will find Aboriginal history. It is believed that Walls Cave was occupied around 12,000 years ago.
Back along the Great Western Highway, turn into Brightlands Avenue and you will find the Blackheath Club and Golf Course. Blackheath also features a sports ground and in the Memorial Park is the local swimming pool.
There are many walking tracks from Govetts Leap. One of the walks will lead you to Bridal Veil Falls and Luchetti Lookout.
The Megalong Valley is beautiful. While the view from the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath is stunning, a trip down into the actual valley is a worthwhile adventure.
Megalong Valley is a farming and hobby faming community for local people, yet offers an interesting experience for guests to the valley.
Megalong Valley offers a variety of horse riding adventures in numerous settings offering rides for novices through to experienced riders.
One of the Blue Mountains significant vacation destinations is the Megalong Australian Heritage Centre. There is entertainment for the entire family, including stockmen shows and the well known Megalong Farm.
To get to the Megalong Valley, turn off the Great Western Highway at the Blackheath rail line intersection and you are en route to the valley.
On your trip into the valley, don’t miss a visit to Mermaids Glen and Coachwood Glen.
The peace and beauty of the Megalong Valley is very relaxing. The Aboriginal word Megalong signifies ‘valley underneath the precipices’, (one more Blue Mountains town with an Aboriginal name).
The Cox’s River flows through the valley, and it is by means of this waterway in 1818, Thomas Jones was accepted to be the main European visitor. Thomas Jones wandered into the valley to investigate its vegetation on a hazy morning.
Megalong Valley has one of the Blue Mountains best spots to stop and picnic, in the grounds at the Old Ford Reserve which is situated along Megalong Road by the Megalong Creek.
Inside the Valley you will observe an old steam motor which was once utilised at the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba. An old shack, Huntling Lodge, can likewise be seen at the foundation of the bluffs which was once claimed by the engineer of the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Mr Mark Foy.
Megalong Valley is a lovely departure from the remainder of the world, particularly for the people who wish to encounter bushland of Australia, horse riding, and accommodation.
Mount Victoria is at the highest point of the Blue Mountains, however elevations recorded are usually the railway stations, the most elevated point is really in Mount Victoria.
The town is heritage listed and has numerous historic structures. The town is a step back in time as you enter this great small and quaint Blue Mountains Village.
As you enter Mount Victoria from Blackheath you will pass Browntown Oval to your left side. The following road on the righthand side of the highway is Victoria Falls Road which takes you out to Victoria Falls Lookout. Further up the highway, to your left, drive up Mt. Piddington Road to the highest point in the Blue Mountains ‘One Tree Hill’ and Mount Piddington inside Fairy Bower Reserve. From here you can walk the track to Hornes Point.
Additionally, on the left side of the highway, a drive down Kanimbla Valley Road takes you to Mount Victoria’s Pulpit Rock and Bede’s Lookout sitting above the Kanimbla Valley.
Close by you can walk down to Cox’s Cave, Ross Cave and Bushranger Cave. Also in the area are Sunset Rock Lookout down Grand View Road from where you can view Wilson’s Gully, and Mitchell’s Ridge sitting above Victoria Pass and the Greater Lithgow region.
Back into the town, you will see numerous historic buildings, the old Post Office, the Gatekeeper’s Cottage and Toll Bar House (just back down the highway where the highway crosses the railway line), this one was built in 1849. In the past, Toll Bar Houses were worked across the Blue Mountains and luckily one of these sandstone structures actually remains today.
Further down in Station Street is the Mount Victoria Museum which was once important for Mount Victoria’s rail way station and utilised as a rest and refreshment/tea room. The exhibition hall includes old furnishings, items of historic interest, family things and historic information.
Continuing down Station Street, begins the Darling Causeway along which you drive over to Bell and the Bell’s Line of Road.
Mt Vic Flicks – Mount Victoria has one of the Blue Mountains most loved cinemas. Mount Vic Flicks, located at 2a Harley Avenue, is unique and has a one of a kind antiquated style, (a total difference to the ultra large screen style of The Edge cinema in Katoomba). The building doesn’t have an entry foyer and there is only a small individual ticket box at the front entry. When you go thorough the front doors, you enter straight into the main theatre. The seats are positioned staggered style, on a level floor with good sight lines to the screen. There is an old fashioned ‘candy bar’ where you can purchase the usual popcorn etc plus tea in mismatched mugs and in winter you can even get a cup of home made soup.
Heading north out of town is Mount York Road. This will take you to Mount York where you have a view over the Harelty Valley at the first Cox’s Road. At Mount York Lookout you will see the sheer drop to the Hartley Valley.
Back on the Great Western Highway heading west, you will drive down Victoria Pass. In 1832 Major Mitchell constructed the pass from Mount Victoria to Hartley, replacing the perilous levels of Bathurst Road worked by William Cox. This new road made it easier to travel with horse-drawn vehicles. 72 years on, in 1904, motor cars began to go travel Victoria Pass needed the help of horses to have the option to return to the top.
At the point when the rail line came through to the town, the town was given the name of Mount Victoria in 1868 after Princess Victoria. Originally it was named by surveyor General Thomas Mitchell as ‘One Tree Hill’.