If there’s one thing you must accept as a traveler, it’s that you cannot control the weather. We choose our vacation days, book our trips, and pray that it’s all sunshine, nothing but sunshine, only to find ourselves in a panic as clouds and rain take over our weather apps leading up to the trip. It happens – the hike you were dying to go on gets rained out, a hurricane completely destroys your beach vacation plans, or it ends up being too cold to put on a bikini the entire time you’re on a holiday. It’s life, and we’ve still got to make the most of it.
A weather blunder happened during my adventure to the Blue Mountains, a stunning mountain range sitting about two hours outside of Sydney. We saved it as a thing to do until late in the game during our stay in Sydney, and ended up having several days of less-than-ideal weather to choose from for our day excursion.
Getting to the Blue Mountains from Sydney
From the Central Train Station in Sydney, you can take a train direct to Katoomba, a little town on the edge of the Blue Mountains. The train fare is about $6 each way for adults. I’d recommend starting your day early since it takes about 2 hours to get there. Grab a coffee and croissant in the station to eat on the way.
Hiking the Blue Mountains
There are various lookout points and hiking trails around the Blue Mountains to choose from. You can get a map from the visitors center or venture out on your own and see what you find. We walked first to Katoomba Falls, then to the Cliff View lookout and the Three Sisters Lookout.
What the Blue Mountains (three sisters) are SUPPOSED to look like:
What they look like when it’s misty and raining:
Kind of hilarious, kind of upsetting. Either way, it was a nice walk through the forest, and the mist was a bit enchanting. It was also enjoyable to see bits of rural New South Wales – getting a glimpse of this part of Australia outside of the city sprawls of Sydney. The walks through the woods are beautiful – thick with foliage, dense trees and plants growing in every direction.
Harp & Fiddle – Lunch in Katoomba
Unless you’re renting a car and parking right at the entrance to the walking trails in the Blue Mountains, the chances are you’ll be walking a LOT. We rewarded ourselves for our long day of not only hiking in the park but also trekking around the town of Katoomba. The Harp & Fiddle is a long-running Irish pub near the train station. It’s pricy, but a convenient and cozy stop for some hearty favorites to wash down with a beer. I thoroughly enjoyed my steak pie with fries after a long day of walking around.
The waterfalls here are gorgeous and provide an excellent photo opportunity. Even on a misty, rainy day, you can capture some lovely shots at this spot. I guess one benefit of visiting on a rainy, off-season day is that it was not busy with tourists!
What to Bring to the Blue Mountains
Well, as with the theme of this post, it completely depends on the weather. Wear hiking boots or running shoes, anything that is comfortable and will protect your feet from a long day of walking up and down stairways and mountain paths. Dress comfortably and in athletic/athleisure since you’ll most likely be walking, a lot, both uphill and downhill.
If it’s sunny and hot, wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Bring layers in case it’s chilly at altitude but hot while walking.
Definitely bring a water bottle (regardless of weather) and some snacks for the road. I’d also recommend an extra battery charger for a phone if you plan on using it to navigate around and take photos.
If it’s raining, a rain jacket and umbrella will help you out a lot. It’s unlikely that the average traveler will have rainboots with them, but if you have some sort of waterproof or semi-waterproof shoes that will protect your feet and be comfortable to walk in, I’d opt for those.
When I get back out to the Blue Mountains someday, I hope to go camping out here or at least stay a few nights in a B&B – it’s a very charming area that deserves a few days worth of exploration – AND giving yourself extra time to explore helps to provide a cushion in case it’s rainy again. Either way, it’s a worthwhile day trip from Sydney and a wonderful way to get out into nature.