Saturday, April 15, 2023

Captivating Katoomba: Wonders unfold in scenic Blue Mountain village

The view from the "see through" cable car is spectacular, with views on all sides and even through
the floor. It's a stunning way to view the Blue Mountains, in beautiful Scenic World. 
Then rest, recharge and enjoy the view at lovely Mountain Heritage Hotel.

All aboard the world's steepest
train, for a short, thrilling ride.



 IT IS A TRULY majestic place. Katoomba. The word sounds exotic -- and the place truly is!

Christene "Cookie" Meyers is happy bird-watching
 in the forest of Blue Mountains' Scenic World.
Swirling otherworldly mists, steep streets lined with art-deco buildings, astonishing valley views, and a quirky miscellany of restaurants, buskers, artists, bawdy pubs and a classy, historic hotel awaits you.
We took three days off from two weeks of city touring in Sydney and Brisbane.  The plan was to spend two or three days in lovely Katoomba, using it as a sanctuary, a respite,  between those two busy attractions.
WE INDEED found peace and tranquility in Katoomba, plus spectacular scenery that can't help but inspire. Katoomba is a picturesque place, the chief town in the captivating Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. It's a great choice for a weekend or a mid-week get-away. So with friends, we headed out from Sydney via train on a Wednesday, spending the rest of the week and returning Saturday. 
Our friends had booked the same inn for a couple days, the lovely Mountain Heritage Hotel and Spa.
What makes it a great weekend place are its multiple charms: 
Gourmet fare is artfully served 
at Mountain Heritage's fabulous
restaurant. Here, rare beef.

Posed by the stately Mountain Heritage Hotel,
Bruce Keller and  "Cookie" enjoy a few
scenic days of relaxed touring in Katoomba
There’s something for everyone in Katoomba, from waterfalls the daring can swim under, to lovely sunset spots, a craft brewery and the world’s steepest railway.

Our room at Mountain Heritage
Hotel overlooked the
beautiful Blue Mountains
Katoomba is in the heart of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains. We found it an inviting place to take those few days off from nearly three months of hectic touring. Scenic World is a huge part of the draw.
WE SETTLED in Hotel Mountain Heritage, an imposing place perched on the edge of a ridge, 300 meters from the heart of Katoomba’s town centre. It's a bit of a walk, but a beautiful one,
slightly uphill. We chose it for its charm, history, word of a fabulous restaurant (it's true!) and panoramic views of the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains. 
Sydney to Katoomba by train
is a comfortable, interesting
way to see the countryside.
This delightful inn has a well trained and friendly staff, a huge bowl of apples to welcome, a full-service bar, grand piano and antiques and historic photos throughout the comfortable lounge areas and rooms. The hotel captures the charm of the past, but with modern amenities. It's a grand, old-fashioned place, a stately one-time hunting lodge turned pampering hotel with one of the best restaurants we encountered in five visits to this vast and varied country.

Katoomba's shops are colorful with a mix of
imports from all over the Pacific and India.

Christene "Cookie" Meyers
plays the grand piano at
Mountain Heritage Inn.
With spectacular  attractions like Scenic World and its Three Sisters, Katoomba is a ''must" when you're planning an Australia itinerary. Particularly if you're in Sydney, you're within easy range so don't miss it.
Our spectacular hotel and restaurant with its calming vibe had hospitality in spades, including  an invitation to play that beautiful vintage grand piano. Our short daily walks to the city revealed a thriving cafe culture, colorful boutiques and galleries galore.
WE SPENT our three days with  bird's-eye views of the valley, centering our time in Scenic World. It's like a "nature oriented Disneyland" where we descended into the Jurassic rainforest on the world’s steepest railway and hopped on the famous Skyway cable car for spectacular 360-degree views of waterfalls, lush foliage and rocky ledges.
Katoomba's train station is small and in the
town's center. Here, "Cookie and Keller" arrive.
THE TOWN is an interesting mix of architecture and a steadfast endorsement of the welcoming spirit for which Australia is famous.  Shopkeepers greet you and people on the street are happy to give directions. Tourism is king. Hotels, restaurants, tour agencies and the town's fun double-decker bus rely on tourism, including conferences. Major draws are clean fresh air, spectacular flora and fauna, and a comfortable, temperate climate. Each town in the Blue Mountains region is filled with history, sights, culture and community spirit. This beautiful area awaits just hours from Sydney.
The world's steepest rail ride
awaits bravery at Scenic World
The glories of the town's natural attractions are not over-stated. Landmarks are remarkable. The dramatic "Three Sisters" sculptural peaks teeter over the Jamison Valley. The thrilling  Scenic World glass-bottom cable car and world's steepest railway are
Waterfalls are a large
part of Scenic World's lure.
goose-bump inducing.  A stroll through the Jurassic rainforest is an invigorating way to spend hours.
WE JUMPED on the red double-decker Explorer Bus all three days, visiting sights dotted along the escarpment. One can also travel in a chauffeured vintage car with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs.
A Scenic World adventure can entertain for a day or two or
 a week or more, depending on what you wish to see and do. 
Young pals at the hotel  laced up their hiking boots to tackle the Golden Staircase on the Ruined Castle Walking Track. Maybe next time!
If you're too tired to walk your bag from Mountain Heritage back to the train station, the hotel will call a taxi. We took advantage of that service. Fulfilled, rested and happy, we can't wait to return. 
More information:
At left, Kim Strassburger portrays Robyn and Milena S Phillips
is Sharon in a provocative play at New Village Arts, Carlsbad

BEST ON THE BOARDS:  Two gifted actors star in an engaging production at New Village Arts in Carlsbad, north of San Diego. "The Roommate," by Jen Silverman, is a tenderly told story about two very different women thrust together by life. As their friendship deepens into dangerous territory, they examine their lives, weaknesses, strengths and values. Shades of "The Odd Couple" give humor to the story. Although it is laced with wit and humor, it is much more intricate than a sitcom. With fresh direction by Samantha Ginn, fast dialogue and fun music-and-dance interludes, the play offers a thought provoking look at life's intriguing paths and the circumstances that create unlikely but lasting friendships. Through April 23 at a recently expanded space, with an inviting lobby and many welcoming features. 760 284 4393.

Sydney's a place where people dress up and have fun. It's a modern,
exciting city, with a colorful past and plenty to share with visitors.

UP NEXT: Sydney. There's no other city like it. Settled by convicts sent to Australia from Great Britain, this colorful city is one of the world's most diverse and prosperous, with a mix of East-meets-West culture. We take you to the harbor, the beaches, the famous bridge, beach and Sydney Opera House, with a look at how people live, what locals like and what tourists see. Then Fiji beckons, as it has to each of us many times since our first trips in the 1970s, long before we knew one another. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh look at travel, nature, the arts, family and more. Please share the link:


  1. We normally follow the sun to the beach but this mountain scenery looks too inviting to pass up.

  2. Stockton WanderersApril 15, 2023 at 6:56 AM

    We just added this to our itinerary for October visit.

  3. Ft Lauderdale ExplorersApril 15, 2023 at 10:56 AM

    Beautiful place. We love Scenic World, too. The rail car frightened us both-- but what a thrill!