Visitors to the Blue Mountains can now enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Three Sisters rock formation and the Jamison Valley following a year-long, $1.5 million upgrade.
If you’ve visited the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, with its rugged sandstone cliff faces, hidden waterfalls and diverse wildlife, you’ll know it’s home to some of the best views in the world.
Now, thanks to recent upgrades, those sky-high views just got a whole lot better with a new boardwalk bridge, viewing platform and amphitheatre allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the Three Sisters rock formation and the expansive Jamison Valley.
The Echo Point Lookout, which usually attracts around two million visitors annually, has been totally transformed over the past year, as the video below shows.
The Prince of Wales lookout, located close to the visitor information centre, has been completely rebuilt. It now includes a 140-metre long raised walkway that is illuminated at night.
Designed in consultation with Gundungurra and Darug Traditional Owners, the open amphitheatre or gathering space includes an etched map of Country.
The $1.5 million upgrade included improvements to walking tracks, restoration of stairways and the installation of new railings and signage.
There have also been various safety improvements on the popular cliff top walk between Echo Point and Scenic World, home to the Scenic Railway and Scenic Skyway.
The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is a great starting point for a road trip the Central West of NSW. The region covers just over one million hectares, divided into eight protected areas.
But the main attraction here is undoubtedly the Three Sisters, just 2.5 kilometres from the Great Western Highway at Katoomba. The site is actually the second most-visited location after the Opera House for visitors to Sydney.
The magnificent vertical sandstone turrets – standing 922 metres, 918 meters and 906 metres high respectively – were created by wind and rain over 300 million years ago.
According to Aboriginal legend, they were once three beautiful sisters called Meehni, Wimlah, and Gunnedoo. You can read more about the legends of the Three Sisters here.
The Blue Mountains aren’t actually blue. The dense eucalyptus vegetation causes the typical blue haze you can often see from the lookouts.
The World Heritage area is home to around 1,500 plant species, 127 of which are considered rare or threatened. It also contains more than 90 Eucalypt species – 13 per cent of the global total.
The largest protected area is Wollemi National Park to the north, home to the last wild population of Wollemi Pine, one of the world’s oldest and rarest plants dating back to the age of dinosaurs.
Katoomba is the largest town in the Blue Mountains and it’s where you’ll find most of the accommodation, dining and shopping opportunities in the area.
The Katoomba RSL club is a reliable pit stop for lunch, particularly if you want to avoid the crowds in town. The club was rebuilt after a fire in 2017, and has a modern new look.
Just 3 km down the road from Katoomba, you’ll find the village town of Leura, which has the reputation as the prettiest town in the Blue Mountains.
Leura is known for its Edwardian architecture, English-style gardens and tree-lined streets. Along with some very impressive lookouts including Sublime Point, Elysian Rock and Gordon Falls, it’s also home to some amazing cafes and food stores.
For great coffee and one of the best all-day breakfasts around, stop by Lily’s Pad Cafe and Takeaway. They also bake their own bread on site.
Check out Bygone Beautys Treasured Teapot Museum & Tearooms, which is home the world’s largest private collection of tea wares. The Candy Store is a personal favourite: it sells local and imported sweets and confectionary, including all your childhood favourites.
By train from Sydney’s Central station takes two hours, with services running regularly to Katoomba. By road, the drive will take around 90 minutes.
© 2021 Bernard O’Riordan (Travel Instinct). All Rights Reserved
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