Situated in the Blue Mountains, just a few hours away from the busy metropolis of Sydney, Katoomba offers wildlife parks, waterfalls, picnic spots, several viewpoints, hikes, galleries, and more.
Initially, the town earned recognition due to the 1879-opened Katoomba Coal Mine.
Today, the iconic Three Sisters are the primary reason residents and visitors visit Katoomba.
Another popular site here is Scenic World, a privately owned facility that offers various rides to explore the cliffs and valleys of this region.
Katoomba also provides a starting point for various bush and wildlife treks.
The Carrington Hotel, located on the highest point in the city, is one of the many Katoomba hotels and guesthouses available for travelers.
The town center houses numerous cafés, restaurants, and antique stores, notably the early 20th-century Paragon on Katoomba Street.
Wondering what to do in Katoomba?
Katoomba has much to offer with breathtaking views, eccentric rides, short to lengthy walking trails, and intriguing history.
Here are a few places to visit and activities to try during your weekend trip to Katoomba Australia.
Three Sisters at Echo Point
Viewing the Three Sisters rock formations from the Echo Point lookout should be on your list of things to do in Katoomba.
Take Katoomba Street or Lurline Street to get to Echo Point Road. You will find plenty of signs pointing the way to the Three Sisters.
While there is much more to the Blue Mountains National Park than this natural attraction, you must take a few moments to appreciate the weathered rock’s undeniable beauty.
|The Three Sisters’ characteristics change throughout the day and the seasons. Take the Blue Mountains sunset tour to experience its stunning hues as the sun sets.|
The rocks seem even more spectacular when floodlit at night, against the dark background of the night sky.
From Echo Point, you may also see Mount Solitary and the rocky structure known as the Ruined Castle, two other Jamison Valley landmarks.
After a short walk from Echo Point, you can find the Giant Stairway that leads to one of the Three Sisters rocks and offers a diverse range of nature treks around the Valley.
A tourist complex in the southwest of the town, Scenic World offers intricately designed rides to witness the beauty of the Blue Mountains and the Jamison Valley underneath at its finest.
It houses the steepest passenger train in the world.
The railway is built on repurposed cable car tracks and passes through a tunnel and a stunning fern-damp rock wall while descending steeply past Orphan Rock.
A raised pathway called the Scenic Walkway runs through the historic forest’s lush green trees, providing a history lesson on the coal mining industry in the region.
Scenic Cableway, Australia’s steepest aerial cable car, and Scenic Skyway are two other attraction rides that offer breathtaking views of the valley.
|Book a guided tour to Scenic World, Echo Point, and the wildlife park and learn more about the history of Katoomba and its native wildlife.|
Blue Mountains Cultural Center
The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre in Katoomba’s center includes the Blue Mountains City Art Gallery and the Katoomba Library.
‘Into the Blue’ is a permanent interactive exhibition here that examines the natural history and geography of the Blue Mountains.
Also featured is the World Heritage Exhibition, which intends to inform visitors about the unique nature, culture, and history of the Blue Mountains region.
The Cultural Center, located on Katoomba’s highest point, is open daily at 10 a.m., except on public holidays.
Adult admission to the art gallery and the Into the Blue exhibition is A$ 8 (US$5.5).
The admission fee for Australian concession card holders is A$ 5 (US$3.2).
Free admission is given to children under the age of 16.
|Explore the city on a Hop-on Hop-off Blue Mountains Australia Katoomba bus, and you’ll be free to discover its iconic landmarks at your own pace.|
You will also find insightful commentary on the rich history and natural beauty of this remarkable region.
You will find several walks throughout Katoomba — some are quick one-hour excursions, while others that encompass adjacent towns might last up to three days.
This area, recognized by UNESCO, houses unique habitats brimming with rare flora and fauna.
On your walks, look out for certain native birds, including the mimicking superb lyrebird.
Below are a few popular ones.
Three Sisters walk
On this short, 25- to 45-minute walk, you get close views of the sandstone rocks, Three Sisters.
Listen to the sounds of local birds as you descend into the green Jamison Valley.
The Giant Stairway is a walking path descending 998 stairs from Echo Point to Honeymoon Bridge, connecting to the first sister.
You can appraise the workers who meticulously constructed the Giant Stairway using dynamite, picks, shovels, and other hand tools as you descend it.
Prince Henry Cliff walk
This 7 km one-way walking path connecting Gordon Falls with Katoomba Cascades in Leura, offers some of New South Wales (NSW) most incredible vistas.
The track boasts up to 20 lookouts with stunning views of Jamison Valley, the Three Sisters, and three waterfalls.
Ruined Castle walking trail
Take the challenging 6.6 km (round-trip) Ruined Castle walking trail for picturesque views across Jamison Valley and learn about Katoomba’s historic mining history.
This 4 to 5-hour walk in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area takes you down to the Jamison Valley from the Golden Stairs to climb the beautiful Ruined Castle.
The one- to two-hour, 3.5 km loop, Overcliff-Undercliffroute from Wentworth Falls picnic area combines scenic clifftops, birding, and rainforest with walking trails and waterfalls.
Six Foot track
The three-day Six Foot Trail from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves is the ideal walk if you’re seeking the ultimate adventure.
This 46 km one-way hike down Nellies Glen Road from Explorers Marked Tree passes through Kanangra-Boyd National Park and state forests.
Another challenging trek from Katoomba, the Federal Pass, passing forests, waterfalls, and the Three Sisters and Scenic World takes around 12 hours to finish.
You can start the 13 km one-way track from the Golden Stairs or join Federal Pass at four places, requiring a problematic walk down a valley and back up.
Note: Some walking trails, fire paths, and roads may be blocked because of wet weather events and geological instability. Check the NPWS website to make sure the route is accessible before you visit.
In Katoomba, you can see relics of the rainforest in the spray zones of waterfalls, open woods, windswept heath, and hanging swamps clinging to cliff walls.
The Jamison Valley has been shaped over millions of years by volcanic uplift and erosion, and you can try to find coal and shale deposits between the sandstone in the Three Sisters peaks.
Apart from the famous Echo Point, this town has several other viewpoints. Some can be reached by car, while others are on hiking paths.
An underappreciated viewpoint, Spooners Lookout, is just a few minutes’ detours from the Three Sisters trek from Echo Point.
Along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, you can access various viewpoints, including Cliff View Lookout, Wollumai Lookout, Allambie Lookout, and Lady Darly Lookout.
Starting near Echo Point, Prince Henry Cliff Walk also leads to picnic and barbeque areas.
On Cliff Drive, you will find Eaglehawk Lookout and Landslide Lookout west of Scenic World.
Walk further along Cliff Drive for the Narrow Neck lookout.
Or drive east from Scenic World along Cliff Drive to reach the Cascades and stroll to Katoomba Falls.
Juliet’s Balcony, a viewpoint along the Katoomba Falls round walk, provides stunning views of the Katoomba Falls and the valley below.
Katoomba Falls Park is close to the well-known Cliff View viewing point.
Another vantage point, Cahills Lookout, offers breathtaking views of Megalong Valley.
Blue Mountains stargazing tour
Among the many things to do in Katoomba, a stargazing tour stands out as a captivating experience, where you can marvel at the brilliant constellations.
Take in the enduring beauty of the Blue Mountains’ sky by joining an astronomy tour with Blue Mountains Stargazing.
Under the guidance of a French Astrophysicist, you get to use a professional computerized telescope.
You will also learn about the history of the Blue Mountains, how to recognize stars and the celestial beauties of the Southern Hemisphere.
The Six Foot Track Marathon and the Winter Magic Festival are two of the most significant events in Katoomba.
Boasting a charming selection of accommodations, the hotels in this town complement its rich history and scenic beauty.
The Carrington Hotel, a majestic establishment dating back to 1883, stands as a beacon on the main street, adorned with stunning stained glass Art Nouveau features.
For those seeking luxury and breathtaking vistas, the elegant Lilianfels Resort & Spa, occupying a historic building, provides a lavish stay with panoramic views of the lush valley.
The YHA Blue Mountains, nestled in a beautifully restored National Trust building is another option, conveniently located within a 9-minute walk from Katoomba train station.
On the other hand, historic guesthouses like Kurrara and the Metropole offer a glimpse into the town’s golden years of travel.
Numerous self-contained cottages provide ideal settings for family and friends to celebrate a special weekend getaway amidst Katoomba’s enchanting surroundings.
With a diverse dining scene celebrating local ingredients and global flavors, Katoomba restaurants and cafes offer a delectable array of culinary experiences.
In the evenings, Katoomba comes alive with cool bars like Bootlegger Bar, Aunty Ed’s Restaurant and Bar, and the Mountain Culture Beer craft brewery.
For a scenic beverage, The Lookout near Echo Point offers an al fresco courtyard with breathtaking views.
The Basil Nut Cafe & Restaurant offers diverse dining with South Asian and international cuisine, while Avalon Restaurant & Cocktail Bar offers hearty dishes and mountain views.
Miss Lilian Teahouse puts a modern twist on Asian comfort food and 8Things offers a tantalizing array of street food from around the world.
You can also discover the rich flavors of the Central Ranges region at Carrington Cellars and Deli.
How to get to Katoomba
At a distance of just 101 km from Sydney, you can reach Katoomba in less than two hours by car or public transport.
Intercity NSW TrainLink trains depart and arrive in Sydney at least once every hour.
Travel from Sydney to Katoomba in about 120 minutes using the Blue Mountains Train (BMT) from Central Station.
Alternatively, drive west from Sydney on the Great Western Highway (M4 and A32) to reach Katoomba in around 90 minutes.
The climate in the Blue Mountains can vary significantly from that in Sydney.
Conditions can change suddenly; if you are traveling during the winter months, you must be ready for chilly weather.
Katoomba’s seasonal variations provide diverse experiences throughout the year.
The town experiences partly cloudy summers and very cold, mostly clear winters.
Temperatures range from 30°F (-1°C) to 76°F (24°C), with extremes rarely going below 23°F (-5°C) or above 88°F (31°C).
For warm-weather enthusiasts, the ideal time to visit is from late December to late February, with the warm season lasting for around 3 months.
January is the warmest month, with an average high of 76°F (24°C).
Conversely, the cold season spans 3 months, from late May to late August, with July being the chilliest month at an average low of 30°F (-1°C).
What is Katoomba known for?
Katoomba Blue Mountains Australia is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, notably the Three Sisters rock formation viewed from Echo Point, drawing millions of visitors annually.
This picturesque Australian town features soaring sandstone ridges, dense native bushland, attractions like Scenic World and ancient Aboriginal rock art.
Featured Image: Tripadvisor.com