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Katoomba Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your Katoomba vacation

Victorian Fine Dining in Grand Style 5 stars
The Grand Dining Room at Carrington Hotel in Katoomba, NSW, Australia is a step back in time to an elegance not found in today’s standards. It was built in 1880 with Victorian and Art Deco eras and then closed in 1985 for a full renovation to reopen in 1998.

It was nominated Best Restaurant in a Hotel, Hotel Caterer, Wedding Caterer in a Function Centre. It is a stop through the leadlight doors into a world of the romance period of lush and posh dining. It is one of the last remaining examples of fine dining rooms in Australia.

It has mahogany silver cabinet and 5 metre high ceilings with a grandeur history of royalty and Sydney high society gracing the carpet. I have never seen such a beautiful display of sophistication in my life.

The menu has a modern Australian theme with hints of French and Asian. The wine list has been carefully hand selected to complement the menu and highlight regions such as the Central West, Barossa and King Valley.

Day menu Entrees from $7.50-$17.50, mains from $14.00-$21.00, dessert $9.00. Dinner the entree is $18.00, Main $34.00, Dessert $16.00. For a two course meal $45.00, three course $60.00.

They are open Tuesday to Sunday for dinner and breakfast is served every morning. Day menu is available from 11:00-4:30 with dinner beginning at 6:30pm.

I haven’t eaten here; I have just walked through the hotel to admire the stylishness from the beginning of Katoomba history. It was the first grand hotel in the Blue Mountains and was set up with a rich standard for its guests.

The Carrington Hotel has lots of events for the whole community to share in. One of the chefs from where my son works moved on to this restaurant and says she loves it there. The staff and everyone are always friendly and standards for preparation are of the strict standards she is use to.


Aboriginal Arts walking in the dreamtime 5 stars
The Blue Mountains Aboriginal Culture and Resource Centre and Blue Mountains Naidoc Committee are holding an art exhibit of original paintings and artworks created by local Aboriginal artists. It is called “Red Ochre Aboriginal Arts” and runs from the 18th of July to 13th of August 2008 on Lurline Street in Katoomba, NSW, Australia. It is open from 6:30 pm -8:30 pm. The centre is open 7 days a week from 11am -4pm.

Art is one of the ways Aboriginals communicate the Dreaming. It has no English word to describe it, the people chose this word as the most acceptable to use for it. It does not fully convey all that the Dreaming encompasses. It is the way the Aboriginals explain existence, tradition and their beliefs. They have a connection to the land and its creatures much like the American Indians.

Some other forms of the expression are in song, dance, storytelling, hunting, food gathering, kinship and anything involved with living. It is intensely personal and results are simply beautiful. It comes from the soul and is earthy with wondrous colours. Art is important in the religious life with the new styles of dot painting and x-ray style being the most popular.

They use materials available to them and it takes on different forms. Many are turning to some contemporary art with acrylic paint on canvas or fixatives on bark. The patterns, textures and colours catch you up to transport your mind to the land and the people. Through their art they can introduce and express the culture to the world.

In 1971 a school teacher, Geoff Bardon, started the artistic expression of acrylic on canvas in Alice Springs with a school project to paint a mural.

The symbols used within a painting include circles that represent camp sites, waterholes or a place of significance. Curved lines represent rain or water travelling underground. Straight lines may be indicative of the travelling and when joined to circles show ancestor pathways. A “U” shape is a person the sex is determined by what is near the shape. Tracks are shown as they appear on the ground and animals shown as you would see them with the human eyes from the side or top.

I am fascinated with Aboriginal Art for its beauty and tie to the people, nature or both. I hope to be able to own one someday and will get caught up in its meaning. The dot art is my favourite for the intricate work and earth tones of the Australia country. Having a bit of American Indian running through my blood their history fascinates me as to learn their handling here in Australia was anything like that of home. I hope as I learn more about their culture it helps me to more appreciate the Australian land that I have grown to love.


Lime 3 retro fine dining in Katoomba 5 stars
Lime 3 Cafe and Restaurant on Katoomba Street in Katoomba, NSW, Australia is a cut above the rest for quality and atmosphere. The decor is a neon green retro fit with bench tables, outside dining, candles burning on the tables and just an upbeat ambiance that is unusual in this area.

Upstairs they have a lounge like area with tables, kid’s size picnic table, small TV for shows and a large TV with a lounge sitting in front of it for the PS2 video games. The windows overlook Katoomba Street and the Carrington Hotel. It’s a great area in the place to take your family or a group of friends to get away in a bit of seclusion.

They are closed on Monday and Tuesday, open Wednesday/Thursday 11:00-9:00, Friday/Saturday 9:30-9:00, and Sunday 11:00-9:00.

There are a variety of menus for Pub Grub $10.00-$19.50, Day Menu $17.00-$27.00, and Fine Dining menu with entrees from $10.50-$22.00, Mains $14.00-$39.90, Desserts $3.50. They are licensed /BYO and all cards are accepted. There are vegetarian options and the chef will cater to any allergy needs of his patrons. Kid’s menu has choices of chicken breast with salad, fish and chips, spaghetti, vegemite sandwich and chicken nuggets.

There are colouring books, puzzles and games to entertain the kids while waiting for their meal or while you are relaxing after the meal. Highchairs are available for the smaller children.

The restrooms are upstairs so there is no disabled access, but the main dining area is very open for access to dine and for prams.

The chef is great and tries to keep the menus open for a variety of tastes. He is very open to whatever the patrons would desire. He was trained with fine dining as his forte and the meals are delicious.

Suggestions on a meal, try the pumpkin risotto or fettuccini.

Parking is available on the main street or at the Coles/Kmart parking area. The bus house for Explorer bus, trolleys, etc. is just across the street and train station just a minute’s walk from the front door.


Town of Katoomba 5 stars
Katoomba is 110 kms west of Sydney at 1030 metres elevation. The main industry is tourism; the streets are crowded 24 hours a day. It is a town of survival, it has died five times of the years and always found a way to come back and thrive. Katoomba is the Aboriginal word for shining falling water. The name was adopted in 1877, other names was William’s Chimney, Collett’s Swamp, and the Crushers.

It is known for its mountain views, bushwalks, nature and stairs. Some of the best: Katoomba Falls, Three Sisters, Valley of the Waters, Orphan Rock, Giant Stairway, Ruined Castle, Mount Solitary and huge amount more.

Some of the attractions: Scenic World with their skyway, train and trolley.

Celebrations: Yulefest is Christmas in July, Winter Festival in June.

The accommodations range from a YHA to 5 star resorts, eateries from cafe to fine dining, Australian cuisine to Greek or Italian. Katoomba Golf Club is also a beautiful course.

Shopping is a Kmart, clothing, shoes, mountain outfitters, antiques, rare books, new books, cheap outlets, chocolatiers, jewellery, pet shop, sewing, souvenirs, hatteries, video shop, camera shop, art supplies, chemist, bakeries, butchers, travel, laundry and unique items.

There is a train station, bus and trolley line and also the red explorer bus.

The streets are crowded with pedestrians and cars alike. It is a wonderful place to sit on have a coffee on the street and watch the crowds go by, a full range of different individuals and nationalities at your foot.

Katoomba is so popular it has even been visited by royalty from the 19th century to the present Queen Elizabeth. There is a marker at Echo Point where she stood to view the Three Sisters. Carrington Hotel is the oldest and has had many distinguished visitors grace its footsteps.

Art is everywhere here too. The murals are on the walls, the bus stops and displayed in shop windows. Walk around the streets and you will be surprised by some of the work. On Waratah Street is a beautiful mural of Australian wildlife and Buddha symbols, on the opposite side of St. Vinnie’s place facing the park. The park has a beautiful painting of Australian flora.


Australia - Blue Mountains - Scenic World 3 stars
One of the biggest (if not THE biggest) tourist stop in the Blue Mountains is Scenic World - which somewhat suprises me as I was a little underwhelmed.

What they do, they do well, namely a railway, cable car, walkway etc but the best way to explore the Blue mountains is definitely out on foot, not cooped up in a glass capsule.

The Railway is apparently the worlds steepest but it only last about 2 minutes and unless you are lucky enough to get the front seat, you don't really experience very much.

Again the cable car journey is very short and as there as so many people in the car it's not always possible to get a good view.

I plumped for the 'All in' ticket and did the 3 main attractions but my advice would be if I did it again to just do two. The Skyway and Cable Car are pretty much the same experience and as you have to queue quite along time, I'd probably suggest getting the train down, doing the walkway and getting the cablecar back.

Kids will no doubt love this, but mountain lovers or trekkers should head to Echo point and do one of the Cliff walks instead.


Australia - Blue Mountains - Echo Point 4 stars
The best place to view the Blue Mountains (in my opinion) is Echo Point. Try to go early in the morning and you'll get to see the mist rising off the three sisters and across the magnificant valley. It doesn't cost any money to visit here and you can walk about 15 minutes from Katoomba Street to get there. So it's a nice FREE thing to do in the area.

The Trolley Bus stops here as do all of the bus/coach tours in the area.

This is also the best place to start your day walks from. I can thoroughly recommend walking down to the three sisters, going down the steps and coming back along the cliff walk. It took me about 3 and a half hours all in and aside from the stairs(!!) it's quite an easy walk.

if walking isn't your thing then a better bet is going to scenic world where you can ride the railway or skytrain (see seperate review)


Australia - Blue Mountains - Trolley Tours 4 stars
There are LOADS of companies offering tours in the Blue Mountains and they all seem to cover the same ground. If you are looking for the best value for money, I would suggest you plump for the Trolley Tours.

It's just $15 for a day pass and they have 29 stops on a loop tour of the area, including...

The Three Sisters
Leura Village
The Everglades Gardens
Leuralla Toy and Railway Museum
Ameralia’s Plate World
The Gordon Falls Lookout
The Edge Cinema
Scenic World

You get to travel in a replica trolley bus which is pretty cool (see pic) and it was a lot cheaper thatn the bus/coach tours on offer. They have all sorts of add on packages if you want to go to the caves or scenic world so check out their website


Australia - Blue Mountains - Cafe 4 stars
Cafe Treahorne is on Katoomba Street the main road in the area. You can't miss it.

This place is fab!! They do a lovely extensive menu, the staff are uber friendly and if you're lucky the cosy seats by the fire are the perfect place for a hot choclate and one of their gorgeous hot scones (or choclate cake, or cheesecake, or crumble .....)

175 Katoomba St
Katoomba, NSW 2780, Australia
(02) 4782 7466‎

I had the chicken salad which was a great sized portion and the wedges are a must no matter what you order - they were yummy!

This was my second fave place in Katoomba (just behind the Common Ground Cafe)


Australia - Blue Mountains - Common Ground Cafe 4 stars
One of the newest cafe's in Katoomba is the COMMON GROUND CAFE opened by a community called the Twelve Tribes.

it is a quirkly little spot on the corner of Waratha and Katoomba Street up near the YHA and it is definitely worth a stop if you are in town.

As it is a new place there is only a limited menu at the moment, but what they do they do REALLY well. The scambled eggs or pancakes for breakfast are a real treat.

The cafe itself is made up of wooden little benches and dens in lots of little knocs and crannies.

They also do great coffee and cake.

I enjoyed it here soooo much I ended up going for breakfast, lunch AND dinner.

My advice would be - give the nachos a try - you won't be disappointed !!!


Asutralia - Blue Mountains - YHA 5 stars
If you are visiting the Blue Mountians and have time to stay over, I would definitely recommend the YHA on KAtoomba Street. it is a bout a 10 minute walk from the station and is in walking distance of Echo Point and Scenic World.

it's a fab Art Deco building with huge communal areas and the bedrooms and bathrooms are well ordered and clean.

The staff are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable about the local area and you can get free maps demonstrating the various walks in the area.

Bookings can be made through the generic site and I would recommend booking ahead as this is a VERY popular spot.


The Steepest Gondola In Australia 5 stars
I love gondolas. I love the way they cut a straight line up the side of a hill, I love the way you can rock them and frighten the living daylights out of the other passengers. And I especially love the way that, no matter what lies at the top, tourists will flock to them. There may be nothing but dead wombats at the top, but people will still go on the gondola, just because it is there.
A particularly good gondola I found was at Katoomba, in the Australian Blue Mountains. Operated by Scenic World, and leaving every ten minutes from the base, this gondola lets you take an amazing 545 metre ride up into the rainforests of the Jamison Valley. The views are quite simply spectacular. And it also happens to be the steepest ride in the country.
The best thing is, when you reach the top, you won't be disappointed or up to your knees in dead wombats. For when you step out onto the upper platform, you will find some beautiful walks, lookouts, and a great scenic railway.
The gondola costs $19 for adults and $10 for children.


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