Blue Mountains- 1 night

Jun 6th, 2004, 07:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 16
Blue Mountains- 1 night

My family of 2 Adults and 2 teenagers would like to plan a 1 night trip (by train) from Sydney to the Blue Mountains on Sunday, July 4th. (We are in Sydney June 28-July 4 & flying to Cairns July 5)
-Please recommend which town to stay in and a hotel/Cabin/B&B that will accommodate 4 and is within walking distance of village, food, train.
- Being winter there will all businesses and buses be open and running?
-What is the best and most economical way to get to the airport from this area?
Thank you
ctusa is offline  
Jun 6th, 2004, 01:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,114
Winter is high season in the Blue Mountains. Everything will be happebning.

Sorry - no hotel suggestions, but someone will drop by.
margo_oz is offline  
Jun 6th, 2004, 03:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,430
Hi, ctusa!

I somehow wish you hadn't chosen a Sunday for your train journey to the Blue Mountains... as a Blue Mountains resident, I can assure you that, for quite a long time now, weekend travel by train in this area has been a hit-and-miss affair, with our State government closing down the line every other weekend (for "urgent track repairs" which never seem to happen) and replacing them with buses which (they assure us) will add only forty-five minutes to our total journey, but which invariably seem to add a couple of hours. Maybe you'll strike one of the good weekends (I hope so); no point in anyone ringing Cityrail and asking them just yet, as they are willing only to give out information a week in advance, and even then it's seldom reliable (promised "express" buses were summarily abandoned a couple of weekends ago, with not so much as an explanation to the people who were caught mid-journey, and had to make unscheduled changes involving lengthy delays).
Anyway, I think the best advice I can give you here is to plan on a worst-case scenario and assume you will be arriving on a "horror" weekend. In this case, do your level best to alter your scenario so that you spend your night in the Mountains at the beginning of your week (June 28) rather than at the end.

There are lots of choices for accommodation, but you have to make a decision regarding sights you came to see vs proximity to shops and trains. You see, the towns are all built around the railway line, which was built in the "easiest" area, along a ridge; but the views and the walks
are all a couple of kilometres from this. Ignore this next advice if you wish -- maybe someone will come along with a better alternative that I haven't thought of -- but I think that, if I had just a single night and the surrounding days to spend in the Blue Mountains, I would arrive at Katoomba Station by train, stock up on everything I needed for the night at the nearby shops (Katoomba has a K-Mart), then hail a taxi for the 1.5 km to the Echo Point Motel -- not the most wonderful place to stay in the district, but, as the name implies, so close to Echo Point -- where the best views are, and where the best walks begin and end -- that you can stroll to the Three Sisters in four minutes. There is a souvenir shop, a restaurant, and a couple of other shops at Echo Point, so that, in an emergency, you can purchase any last-minute requirements. You can also stroll around to the entrance to the Scenic Railway and Skyway in about twenty minutes. You will use your time more efficiently this way, even though this is just your average motel, as far as the accommodation is concerned. I guess they's have rooms for four, but since this is a busy time of year, it might be worth booking their largest room pretty soon (you can ring them on 61-2-4782 2088).
Hope this has been of some help.
Alan is offline  
Jun 6th, 2004, 04:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 15
I have a quick question, please. I am planning a trip to Australia for next May, and had considered dropping the blue mountains from the itinerary thinking it would be late fall and past the season (I have read that the Blue Mountains started as a tourist destination to get away from the summer heat of Sydney) Pardon my ignorance, but why is winter the high season? Do they have winter sports? Is the weather still warm enough for hiking, abseiling etc?
Thanks for any enlightenment.
Kev1561 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2004, 06:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 16
Alan, Thank you for the recommendation and warning. We are somewhat flexible so can change our trip to the Blue Mountains when we return to Sydney July 14-16 (midweek).
Do you have any other ideas for 1 or 2 nights outside Sydney? We're thinking of a Rugby game in Newcastle July 4. Would a sidetrip to Hunter Valley work? Transportation and accomodation recommendations are appreciated.
Thanks again
ctusa is offline  
Jun 6th, 2004, 09:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 935
The idea that the blue mts is a sort of "hill town" for sydney is inspired but incorrect.Perhaps better viewed as an escape.

The way to get away from the summer heat is to "hit the beach".Nothing beats a surf on a summers morning in sydney.Often in summer the mountains are hot and occasionally ablaze with bushfires.

Year round sydney and surrounds is mild by northern hemisphere standards.
Sydney and the mountains are outdoor places.Think west coast....san diego.

In winter up in the mountains it is cold enough to have a fire at night.They have a dusting of snow once or twice each winter.They have a stupid "xmas in july" celebration.

If you are up there in autumn go to Mt Wilson and check out australia's feeble attempt at "fall" colour.

the game in newcastle is a rugby league game ...not rugby union which i think ur daughter plays.

the wallabies play in adelaide on saturday july 3...if you are rich enough you could fly down for the game..maybe really splurge on a day to KI...your daughter could get a wallaby jersey signed when the wallabies make a store appearance in downtown adelaide.
johhj_au is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 07:02 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 16
Hello Ctusa,

Do the rugby match in Newcastle,
the experience will be awesome.

A rugby match in Newcastle ? WOW !!!!! Do it.

You will have much more than the rugby to enjoy while you are in Newcastle.
Beaches, Clubs, Pubs, Seafood, more Seafood, Surfing, more seafood yum ,and every thing you do and eat there will be half the price of Sydney.
Hoorah !!! Some body has finally found Newcastle.

The Hunter Valley wine district is not far from Newcastle.
As you may be aware, the hunter is one of the premium wine districts in Australia.

Lots of fabulous little B&Bs, farm stays, activities for the teenagers, great restaurants, lovely drives through the mountains, ( sorry hills ) do the Hunter.

From the hunter you can drive to Singleton, Sofala and Bathurst.
From Bathurst you can then drive through Lithgow to the Jenolan Caves and from the caves back to Sydney via a brief stop at the 3 sisters.

The blue mountains are an absolute tourist mecca.
Arrive there early, take a photo of the three sisters and get out before the multitudes arrive in the buses from Sydney on their day tours.

You can miss the crowds by driving in from some where closer than Sydney like Lithgow, or Jenolan Caves.
But you will not miss them by all much, so get an early start.

I took the train from Central Station in Sydney to Katoomba about three years ago.

One and a half hours into the journey I wanted to kill myself.

I am not sure if that train ride has been improved or not during the last 36 months as I have been terrified of trains ever since that fate full day I chose to book a train to Katoomba and have not been able to work up the courage to look at a train ever since.

The train was full of smoke; the thing had to stop every two minutes to let some one on or off. The smoke was not from cigarettes but from bush fires, the tracks seemed to go one way and the train the other, the clickety clakety,click,clack,clickity bloody klock clack click bang bang, shudder, tremble vibrate, which is annoying at the best of times was amplified by the damm tunnels which also were full of smoke and pot holes.

No, I can not see a reason to do that to your loved ones while on hols.

Hire a car, do Newcastle, do the hunter, do the drive through Singleton to Sofala, to Bathurst and on to the caves and the three sisters.

If you hate your kids, and your husband and you are looking for a reason to cause a huge family fall out take the train. Other wise hire a car.


fivestargirl is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi, ctusa!

A train that drives you mad because it goes clickety-clack!!!??? I think fivestargirl must have come out here with the guy who complained that the dining room was so small in his five star hotel that it really only rated four-and-a-half stars!

The smoke from the bush fires must have been terrible, and it is, indeed, an annual event in the Blue Mountains, usually in mid-January (when, I assure you, fivestargirl, your annoyance with the smoke pales into nothingness compared to the problems faced by the people who live here, scores of whom lose their homes, their possessions, and occasionally their lives.... remind me, next time Bin Laden bombs one of New York's best buildings, to go over there and complain that the streets weren't clean). However, I assure you that the trains are air-conditioned and usually smoke-free, and there are hardly any tunnels (I can only think of one, and that's about a hundred metres long!), and the train is an express right through to Penrith (the first 60 km), up to when there are only three stops. After that, yes, the trains stop at each Mountains station (about each five minutes), but I wouldn't have thought that this was such a terrible experience (maybe because I alight at one of them!) I'd take no notice of fivestargirl's criticism, if I were you... most people (myself included) think the train trip is very pleasant (except for those dreaded weekends I warned you about, when you might start off in a train and then get unloaded onto a bus just about anywhere!)
Alan is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
I have had to get myself a new password which is something like "flunkywokky" but although I am enjoying myself in the wilds of Patagonia and Terra del Fuego I get an urge to check out what the Aussies are doing. Sometime I just have to add my 2 cents worth.
The train is the best way to go to the Blue Mountains unless you have a car. However my heart goes out to fivestargirl having had to endure smoke from bushfires on her ride to the Blue Mountains. I can understand entirely how she must have felt in that uncomfortable seat, listening to the noise of the train and having her thoughts interrupted by clickety clacking. I truely hope that she never has to encounter anything again like that in her travels.
My only disagreement with her ( other than you CAN get express trains which do NOT stop at every station), I have to question her sanity in suggesting that Newcastle is anything of a tourist destination ( end of the world destination perhaps) but Tourist destination?????? I don't think so. The Rugby game you would see in Newcastle is not Rugby Union but League and does not even attract the name "Rugby" as its a medieval form of the game with gained its name from an English town with the name Rugby. Perhaps a delve into one of Arnold Bennet's book may give someone a better perspective of the game - league no!
In defence too of Xmas in July celebrations from one who had to host a number of them, you have to realize that being mainly a warm country we embrace the winter like northerners in the USA embrace summer, it is a time to cuddle in front of the fire, drink mulled wine, eat fantastic stodgy food like baked puddings and lovely winter pot roasts etc, be able to hike to your heart's content without getting roasting hot and uncomfortable and to get out there in nature's wilds and enjoy yourself. There is nowhere better than the Blue Mountains for doing this within a 5 hours drive from Sydney and getting there on a train without the hassles of a dreadful highway or an uncomfortable bus is a most enjoyable experience. Needless to say too it is not the bushfire season in winter and so the likelihood of having to cope with smoke is not an issue, the clean, smell of Gum trees and fresh air perhaps. Unlike Newcastle, which is still an industrial mess with everything that goes with that.
I would also check out the B&B lists in that area as there are many and varied ones and hopefully you will have a wonderful time there. For starters try for B&Bs and also do a search of the Blue Mountains.
lizF is offline  
Jun 10th, 2004, 10:19 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
To promote one destination it's not necessary to comprehensively "rubbish" the alternative, whether it's Newcastle or a train trip to Katoomba.

To write off Newcastle as "an industrial mess" is a common impression, based on its history as a (former) steelworks town, but very simplistic. It's no more an industrial mess than large, polluted swathes of Sydney and is surrounded by clean, beautiful, easily-accessed beaches and lakes, and of course the nearby wine country. It does have a well-developed dining scene - try the Darby Street cafe strip for a start. For me the city was symbolised by the somewhat surreal sight of a surfie carrying his board down the city's main drag, Hunter Street, to the beach just over the hill. Like Canberra, Newcastle is one of those places that too many Sydneysiders seem determined to put down based on no more than vague, half-formed (or worse, second-hand) impressions.

While I wouldn't question fivestargirl's sanity, neither would I take much notice of her rather overdramatised account of a train trip to Katoomba. Perhaps I'm biased, having spent many years commuting to the city on those trains, but the fact is that they're modern electric airconditioned conveyances, quite smooth and comfortable, and you'd have to pretty unlucky to have your trip coincide with a bushfire. It happened to me once in the seven years I lived there.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Jun 11th, 2004, 02:45 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 774
Shhhhhhh, Neil and Liz- don't tell everyone about Newcastle! I love it not only for its physical beauty, but also for the warmth and sincerity of its people, and the fact that it is sort of back in time a bit, or was - it's changing. Where else can I swim in an enormous ocean pool or go for a surf whilst Hubby attends a hospital appointment, watch a whale and calf from shore a few kilome
tres from the city centre, etc? There's a great "cafe culture" near the beach, and lots of live music at night. The vineyards have a new attraction too - the Hunter Valley Gardens, which, given time, should rival Canada's Butchart Gardens.

ctusa, I love Katoomba too, and think Alan's suggestion of the Echo Point Motel a good one. Go down the Giant Stairway, walk along the valley floor, up the Scenic Railway or the Sceniscender, and back to Echo Point along the Rim trail - you'll be reminded of the Grand Canyon, but your can do this trip in half a day.
Enjoy! Winter is the best time, because it's clear and not too hot, but you can also get fabulous mists too. Don't forget to try out the Echo!
Carrabella is offline  
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