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Scenic From Start to Finish

Thursday 3rd September 2015

semi-overcast 16 °C

We woke up well rested after our first nights sleep at the Windradyne Bed and Breakfast in the Blue Mountains. The latest we could have breakfast was 8:30am although ideally we would have preferred a little later. Although our room is very nice it is a little strange in that it is on the ground floor and opens directly into the guest dining room! Nigel went for a cooked breakfast but I had selected the muesli and yoghurt pot when we had completed our meal selection form yesterday evening and it was huge and delicious. There were four other guests staying and we all chatted over breakfast. One couple were from Cambridge in the UK and the others from Southern California. We talked a bit about walking options and it appeared that there were lots to choose from, mainly in the medium to hard category. We decided to go for one graded at easy to medium, going along the top of the escarpment on a pathway named the Prince Henry Cliff Walk.

Before setting off we went and had a quick look at the mountain view from over the road at Echo Point. There had been quite a lot of low cloud hanging in the valley first thing this morning although it was starting to clear by the time we went out.

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We then started walking westwards along the footpath. It was generally fairly easy going with a few steps up and down and a bit muddy in places. The first viewpoint we reached is called Lady Darley's Lookout which gives great views across The Jameson Valley and then shortly after Allambie Lookout (Allambie is an aboriginal word meaning 'quiet place'). Thankfully it was pretty peaceful while we were there.

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The walk then takes you down some steps and after about three quarters of an hour you reach the eastern end of the Skyway cable car. We could have used this to cut across the valley but we decided to save that until later in the day. Instead we continued on the track for a short distance before having to detour into the road as some maintenance work was taking place. We then rejoined the path and walked down to the Katoomba Cascade which eventually feeds into the much larger and more spectacular Katoomba Falls. When we arrived at the cascade there were no other people there so we were able to take a few minutes to enjoy the solitude and take some photographs.

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Once a number of other people arrived we continued on our way, walking through a short lush valley that links the cascades to the falls. When you are on the ground you don't really have a sense that you are near the edge of a steep precipice, something we only really appreciated later in the day.

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There was a deviation that we took up onto an area called Reids Plateau which affords great views of the Katoomba Falls. Whilst we were there enjoying the view, we saw a large flock of sulphur crested cockatoos. At one point they flew en-masse in front of the falls which made for quite a dramatic sight.

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From the plateau we continued past more stunning viewpoints until we reached Scenic World. Once there we bought our tickets and then went for a much needed coffee. Next we travelled down through the cliff face on the Scenic Railway. At a 52 degree angle this is the steepest incline railway in the world. They have recently modified this so that you can adjust your seat so that you either take the 'cliffhanger' option at 64 degrees, the laid back option or the original 52 degrees which is what we opted for. The railway travels for 310 metres through a tunnel entering near the valley floor.

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Originally the train was built for miners who worked in the vicinity and on emerging from the train there are a number of exhibits and information signs about the areas mining past.

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We chose to do the longest of the Scenic World walks which takes you further down into the valley on over two kilometres of boardwalks that weave through the rainforest. For much of the time we were on our own and it was fascinating seeing what grows in the vast area of forest that makes up most of the Blue Mountains National Park.

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Once we had finished the walk we travelled on the Scenic Cableway 545 metres back up the valley walls to the top. Once there we had a meal on the terrace of the restaurant which has amazing views sitting as it does 270 metres above the valley floor.

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We then finished our time at Scenic World by travelling three times backwards and forwards across on the Skyway Cable Car which gives amazing views of the valley and the mountains beyond. It also afforded another view of the Katoomba Falls and you could see the cascades and valley where we walked several hours earlier.

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We then made our way back along the Prince Henry Walk, up the 100 or so steps and past some incredible rock formations

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until we got back rather tired and weary to Echo Point. Once there we took a few minutes to admire the changing sun light in the valley and on the rock face.

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We had been walking for four or five hours and probably covered about five miles or more so all we wanted to do was go back to the B & B and relax for the evening which is what we did.

Posted by Gill's Travels 06:19 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes waterfalls mountains australia katoomba blue_mountains

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