BreakingModern — The trails range from easy to hard, but the views are spectacular at Blue Mountain’s Scenic World in Australia.
- Difficulty: Wide range, from easy to hard
- Time: The shortest trail is around an hour, the longest six. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike all day covering the trails
- Length: Half a mile to 10 miles, depending on the trail
- Conditions: Some paved/wooden paths, others using nature’s rocks
The Blue Mountains and Scenic World are a tad out of the way, but they’re definitely worth the couple-hour trip east of Sydney. There’s a trail for every level, from easy to hard, but make sure you keep a map with you or know where you’re going, or you may end up on a harder hike than expected. The Furber Steps, for example, is much easier going down than it is going up — much, much easier. As friendly as the trails are, some sections of the walkway aren’t wheelchair accessible and it’s recommended to speak to staff before hitting the trails.
There are various starting points that all interconnect with one another, but once you’re at the bottom of the mountain you can either hike your way back up or take the railway, skyway or cableway back to the top.
I started at the Echo Point lookout, which provides the closest view of the Three Sisters, as well as access via the Giant Stairway to the first of the Three Sister’s rocks. From Echo Point, you have the option of hiking down to the bottom of the valley, or you can take the Skyway East station to the Scenic World top station that has options to go down as well. The trails are no cost to explore and may be harder exercise, but tickets are required for the railway, skyway and cableway going to or from each station.
Blue Mountain’s Scenic World is largely a big loop with linking trails that provide epic views of nature at its best. If you’re looking to explore further, the Katoomba Falls crossing leads to the Great Round walk, followed by the Federal Pass, which was closed due to rain and construction/maintenance of the path while I was there.
The historic and educational signage posted along the trails provided good information about the area, as did the featured old coal mine entrance and ventilation furnace located near the Railway Bottom station. For particularly rainy days, there are storm shelters throughout the walkways and, if you pay attention, you can catch a glimpse of local wildlife in their habitats.
When your day is complete, you can enjoy the view from the top of a 360-degree cafe that rotates during peak hours. Feel free to bring your own lunch or purchase something there — either way, you can’t go wrong.
All images: Cassandra Chin