Blue Mountains train.

Westward Ho!

My partner  Rob and I are making our way home from Sydney to the Blue Mountains by rail; a two hour journey. As the train begins to climb, an American lady sitting behind us asks  someone a question across the aisle;

‘Excuse me, will I know when we are at the Mountains?’

‘Oh yes…these are just the foothills.’

I feel a little uneasy about this response. I hope she isn’t expecting mountains like…well the French Alps. The Blue Mountains are really an extensive area of  sandstone ridges, eroded into deep gorges and outcrops. Spectacular,  but definitely no snowy alpine peaks.

Wind-eroded cave, Blackheath

Wind-eroded cave

However,  we are in a ‘quiet’ carriage, where  even talking  is supposed to be kept to a minimum. I reluctantly  let things be.


Eventually we arrive at the main  town  in the Mountains (where we have left our car).  I hop off, but realize Rob is not behind me. He has had to rescue the American tourist.  The poor woman was  still sitting in her seat, oblivious to the fact that Katoomba  is the final stop on this service.

She is full of gratitude.  It is now 4.00pm and we notice she has no luggage. Rob tentatively mentions that it’s getting a bit late for sightseeing.

‘I know, but I had a migraine last night and slept in. I have to fly back to New York tomorrow.’

Oh my hat!!

Thank goodness nobody had checked the tickets on the journey. She shows us hers and to our amusement we see she bought one to Mount Druitt, a dormitory suburb of Sydney. At least it wouldn’t have cost her much. Apparently it was the only station she could see that mentioned a mountain!

She asks us if there is anything special for her to see. I am  sorely tempted to drive her around the area myself, but we are expecting visitors and in a hurry to get  home. The best we can do is direct her to the Red Explorer bus.

Blue Mountains Explorer Bus

Hop on, hop off at various tourist locations.

We tell her it will take her to the Three Sisters and other local  lookouts. Recognition dawns;

‘Oh yes, that’s what I’ve read about!’

The Three Sisters.

The Three Sisters. In the background is the famous blue haze caused by eucalyptus oil.

Well, it will be a late arrival back at her Sydney hotel, but I hope she will fly off to the Big Apple thinking  the trip was worthwhile. Mind you,  the best and least commercialized beauty spots in the Mountains are near my village of Blackheath (aka  Bleakheath or Lackheat!)…. Govett’s Leap, Evans Lookout, Anvil Rock, Pulpit Rock etc. I may be prejudiced of course. Make sure the train you catch from Central Station  takes you beyond Katoomba!

nvil rock, Blue Mountains

There is an almost 360% view from Anvil Rock, near Blackheath.

Seat overlooking Grosse Valley Blackhath

Resting spot to admire the view! Near Anvil Rock

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  1. I used to live at Richmond, and visited the Blue Mountains area a bit. I miss it.

    • Hi Peter
      Yes, I love it up here…especially the birdlife and the wonderful scenery. I missed the changing seasons when we lived in Sydney. The leaves on the exotic trees are just beginning to change and are always spectacular.

  2. What a sweetheart! I hope she ended up having a good trip!

    • Pauline

      She was Holly. I so wished I could have spent some time with her, she was so laid back and unworried about everything. Will have to ban Rob from getting into ‘quiet carriages’ For someone like me they are very nasty.

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