May 13 Back to the Blue Mountains (Day 229)

Today should be the best day weather-wise of our stay here in Glenbrook! So we took advantage of it and caught the train for the 1 hour ride to Katoomba, the gateway town to the Blue Mountains to hopefully see the sights we missed in the mist of our visit on May 8! The Katoomba station is still 1.5 miles from the visitors center so we caught the local bus to Echo Point and it stopped at the restaurant where we had lunch during our ‘Off Train Experience’ with the Indian Pacific Train. Compare this picture to our view from the restaurant deck on May 8th!

There was still a layer of clouds, but they stayed above the mountains today!

The Echo Point Visitors Center is a very short walk from the restaurant and we finally got a view of the Three Sisters!

The 3 Sisters and the Jamison Valley in the Blue Mountains.

The visitor center is mostly a souvenir shop, but an employee gave us directions for a hike down a steep staircase into the valley, around the base of the 3 sisters, past Katoomba Falls and back up another steep staircase, then along the Cliff Walk back to Echo Point! We purchased some snacks and filled our water bottles for the trek!

The Giant Stairway is VERY STEEP! Steps hewn from the cliff rock itself were started in 1916, but construction was paused in 1918. Work commenced and was completed in 1932 with the addition of metal stairways where the rock itself could not be carved.

Over 900 steps later we reached the path along the talus slopes above the valley floor, shaded by the rainforest growing in the depths of the valley.We stopped briefly at the base of Katoomba Falls, an unassuming river flowing around a jumble of huge boulders. Then we began ascending the Furber Steps, bringing us up the cliffs. As we climbed the series of steps, with some flat grade between them, we began to get views of the entirety of Katoomba Falls, an awesome waterfall!

From the bottom you have no idea of the height of the falls! Notice the Skyway gondola above the falls, crossing between the cliff faces. We rode the gondola on May 8th and had absolutely no view, or even idea of, the magnificent falls below us!

A spur trail took us closer to the falls than we anticipated, giving us a view of the river cascading over a bench of rock overlooking the valley.

We finally reached the top of the cliff and were level with the Skyway gondola!

As we hiked the Cliff Walk back to Echo Point we passed the Katoomba Cascades waterfall. The path was getting crowded now.

One last look back at Solitary Mountain in the Blue Mountains National Park as the clouds finally broke up and the sun came shining through!

Giant Stairway to Furber Steps Loop was an awesome 3 hour hike, strenuous at times, but worth it! We caught the bus back to the train station and the train back to the Airbnb for a busy night of packing for our early morning departure tomorrow!

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