If there is one thing the Blue Mountains is well known for, it is the stunning nature surrounding the area. From national parks and waterfalls to lookouts and picnic spots, there are plenty of places to turn when you need to escape the city for a little while.
Lorraine Allanson, owner of Mountain Whispers, has let us in on some of her favourite nature walks in the Blue Mountains.
The Giant Stairway
Located in Katoomba near the Three Sisters walk, there are 998 stairs to descend from Echo Point to Honeymoon Bridge, connecting to the first sister. The walk from Echo Point to Scenic World follows the Giant Stairway and gives you some pretty amazing views of the Jamison Valley. It is a challenging 4.7km walk one way and is worth talking a picnic along and stopping on the way. To finish your walk, either challenge yourself further with the Furber Steps, or relax as you take the Scenic Railway, the steepest railway of its kind in the world.
The Grand Canyon Track
You might not realise how old this track is; the walk was first established in 1907. It is important to keep in mind that the creek on this walk floods after heavy rain, so it’s always best to check with National Parks before you head off. This is a lovely walk coming into the warmer months as the temperature remains quite cool on the track.
Stop to check out Beauchamp Falls and Evans Lookout, with some great views over the Grose Valley. The Grand Canyon Track is about 5.4km return, so make sure you pack some lunch or a snack and stop for a rest at The Rotunda – an area where the cliff has been carved out over what is close to a sandy beach area.
Picturesque and some of the most well-known falls in the Blue Mountains, the Katoomba Falls Circuit is 1.5km and should take you just under 2 hours – depending on how long you stop at the various lookouts and of course at the falls themselves. Starting, and finishing, your walk at Scenic World, your first stop, Vaniman’s Lookout, looks over the Three Sisters – keep an eye out for the Scenic Skyway passing over.
Not too far away, you’ll find Juliets Balcony, another lookout with views across the Kedumba Valley including Katoomba Falls and the Three Sisters. It’s then onto Rainforest Lookout where you won’t get views of the valley, but a chance to peer into the canopy and listen to the local wildlife. If you’re feeling a little peckish, this is a great place to stop for a snack.
Onwards to Katoomba Falls! You’ll find the Kedumba River falling approximately 150m in two stages. The Undercliff Track from the Furber Steps can take you to the first waterfall landing, while the Falls can be viewed from multiple spots around the area. You’ll also spot them on the Scenic Skyway. Treat yourself to a coffee or lunch at Katoomba Falls Kiosk once you’ve finished.
Indulge with a Blue Mountains Escape
Everyone needs a little time away, whether it is a weekend escape, or a longer mid-week getaway. Mountain Whispers offers five luxury properties where you can relax and rejuvenate after spending a day exploring everything the Blue Mountains has to offer.
Varenna is a 5-star Edwardian masterpiece that has been fully restored. With four bedrooms, and just two minutes to Leura Village, Varenna is a great location for a girls’ escape or to catch up with family and friends.
Leura Rose is a classic 1914 Blue Mountains weatherboard home, perfect for a romantic getaway. With lush gardens and surrounds, this property offers privacy and seclusion while still being close to everything you need. Strawberry Patch is another classic Blue Mountains weatherboard cottage, this time from 1912. It is popular with those looking for a private cottage to propose to a loved one or celebrate a wedding.
With an additional self-contained cottage, The Gatsby is a great getaway for a family group or up to 4 couples catching up. Located just minutes from Katoomba Falls and Echo Point, this property is perfect for a nature escape in the Blue Mountains.
Chatelaine is the perfect 5-star escape for those looking for a bit more room. Perched on over 4,500 sqm of lawns and manicured gardens, this property has amazing views over the Jamison Valley on one side and the Megalong Valley on the other. With bushwalks practically on your doorstep, you’ll certainly leave the city behind.