Sydney: Blue Mountains – Katoomba and Hotel

Travel Period : 1 May – 7 May 2014

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Day 5

To The Blue Mountains!

Today began the second phase of our Australia trip — To the Blue Mountains!

Early in the morning, we took a 2-hour train ride along the Mountain Line towards Katoomba Station. This train only departs once every hour (except during peak hours), so it’s important that we planned and timed our breakfast to catch the 8.18am train.

The train ride was smooth and we had some shut-eye time along the way, recuperating energy from our past few days’ itinerary.

Her typing some blog posts, me playing games and Dar playing with his train

As we neared our destination, the scenery became less urban with more greenery. This made us look forward to our next phase of our journey from the city to the countryside!

“Next Stop: Katoomba Station.” The train announcement finally came and we prepared to alight.

[ Katoomba Station & Town ]

Coldness filled the air as we stepped onto the platform of the station. The place sure struck a vast difference from what we had experience in Sydney city so far — lesser crowd and a slower pace of life.

Pulling our luggage, we headed to the underpass which would take us out of the station and into Katoomba Town. Immediately upon exiting the underpass, the prominent Blue Mountains Explorer Bus shop stood right in front of us, making sure visitors to the town would not miss it, especially with its bright colors. It has certainly gained a significant competitive edge over its competitors with its shop’s location.

For us, we chose Explorer Bus over its competitor (despite its higher price) because we had read good reviews about their service and of its double-deck bus fleet. Dar loves sitting on the upper decks of buses so we knew he would be upset if he didn’t have a chance to do so after spotting those buses. The views from the upper deck would certainly be better too.

We bought the Lyrebird Pass (more details on the various passes here), which includes a Full Day pass on the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus and also unlimited rides at Scenic World for one day. There was no price difference between buying this combo pass and getting them separately, so we were buying them for convenience.

We were given two guidebooks (one for each adult and Dar’s is tagged with one of these books) which acted as our bus passes. By showing them that we would be staying at Katoomba for the next three days, they also validated our passes for free so that they would be valid throughout our entire stay (up to 7 days). This would save us a lot of time and effort in moving from one place to another during our stay here!

Pulling our luggage, we just needed to cross two zebra crossings to arrive at the bus stop, where the prominent red Explorer Bus was waiting.

“Wait a moment, please!” The driver stopped us as we were trying to board the bus from the front door. We were momentarily stunned.

Seeing us with our luggage, the driver then gave us a smile and lowered the bus (the height of many Australia’s buses can be adjusted, primarily for wheelchair access). He opened the rear door so that it was much easier for us to bring our luggage on board. After that, he left the driver’s seat and walked over to us, politely requesting the passengers who were sitting near the door to give up their seats for us, since our luggage would also be placed there during the ride.

All these kind gestures initiated by the driver gave us a very good first impression of the Explorer Bus and we were certainly were impressed with the driver! This gave us a good head-start for our Blue Mountains trip. ^^



Explorer Bus to Motel

Soon, the bus moved off on time and as we moved along the narrow streets of Katoomba Town, he started introducing us to the town while providing us with information about each bus stop and location that we were passing through. This is quite a small and quiet town, especially when it was a weekday. We are sure the place would be a lot livelier during the weekends.

15 minutes later, we reached Bus Stop 7, which was located opposite Shuttle Stop, a convenience store and cafeteria. Our original plan was to buy some snacks there for our visit to Scenic World, but dropped the idea since we still had some muffins that we bought from Sydney.

From the bus stop, it was a 10-minute walk to our accommodation for the next three nights — 3 Sisters Motel. From the map, it looked near but when we had to carry our luggage with us, it didn’t feel as close as we thought it might be (there was also a slope to walk down). Fortunately, the weather was cooling so we could still reach there without breaking too much sweat.

After checking into our room and settling things down, we began to head out for lunch.

We had planned to dine at the nearby Shuttle Stop, so that we won’t spend too much time eating before we headed to Scenic World. However, after finding out that they were mainly selling Fish & Chips and burgers, we decided to walk to Katoomba Town for more food variety instead.

It was a long, 15-minute walk back to town (up a tiring slope too) but it was alright with the surrounding nice scenery and cool air. We soon arrived in front of Yellow Deli, a famous eatery in Katoomba, where we had our lunch.

[ Accommodation ]

Location : 3 Sisters Motel
Choice due to: Within walking distance to Echo Point.
Nearest Station: Katoomba Station
Costs: AUD$312 (inclusive of breakfast for two adults and one child) for 2 Nights

[CAT] : We had chosen this for its good reviews and reasonable pricing. It is also located very close to Echo Point lookout point (a place to look at the Three Sisters Rock Formations).

The room we were given had three beds, a double bed and two single beds. They were very comfy and we slept well in them after a long day. The double bed even had a heater pad underneath if we needed to use it. We turned on the heater conditioner which helped to warm up the room because it was very cold in the night.

Dar was able to make use of the table to do his drawing and writing. Beside it was a cabinet with a hidden fridge to put our cold drinks, a kettle and coffee/tea bags provided to make hot drinks. We were really pleased with the amenities provided in this simple room.

The shower was spacious and the only things we found not working well were the taps in the shower. The hot water tap took some time to churn out hot water and might suddenly turn cold again while using. The hot water tap in the sink was also not working well. This was not pleasant when one is trying to take a shower in the cold night of around 10-13 degrees Celsius…

As for breakfast, the manager cooked bacon and eggs and added bread but it didn’t quite suit my tastebuds. Dar could hardly chew the bacon.There were other stuff like cereals and some fruits so he ate cereals the next morning. Tea/Coffee, milk and juices were provided.

{ Next Post:  Sydney: Blue Mountains – Food in Katoomba Town }

  1. Tommy June 22, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Hi Vin,

    Nice intro to Blue Mountains – look forward to your visit to Scenic World and Three Sisters! 🙂

    1. Vin June 22, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Tommy,

      Thanks! The rest of the Blue Mountains posts will be up soon!

  2. Melidy March 7, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Hi,
    I am visiting Blue Mountains in June 2016. May I know whether there is any luggage storage place on the train from Central Station to Blue Mountains?

    Thanks,
    Melidy

    1. Vin March 8, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Melidy,

      Unfortunately, there wasn’t specific place to put our luggage on our train. We thus had to resort to putting them between and on top of our seats (see our first photo above).

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