Above: The Carrington Hotel
Left: View of the Three Sisters from Echo Point

Nestled in the heart of the Blue Mountains with spectacular views of The Three Sisters and over the Megalong and Jamieson Valleys, Katoomba provides an ideal starting point to explore the mountain area.
Katoomba was a fashionable destination for the discerning tourist. During the town's golden era between world wars, Hollywood actress Ginger Rogers and the Duke of York were among those who joined Sydney's gentlefolk in motoring up to savour the fresh mountain air during the summer months. The well heeled would stay at The Carrington and it was de rigeur to sample the legendary cakes, chocolates and nougats at The Paragon. Evenings were passed dancing to swing bands in local ballrooms.
After WWII Katoomba's popularity declined with buildings reminiscent of a distant era and holidaymakers more likely to head to the beach. It wasn't until about 5 years ago that Katoomba began to stir again with several key buildings undergoing restorations. The Carrington being one of these opened up its doors again in 1998 after 6 years of refurbishment. The local council has given both the town centre and Echo Point much needed makeovers, and recently a town square was built in front of The Carrington.

Below: Scenic Skyway (now closed)                             Below: Scenic Railway
Elsewhere, the new owners of the Scenic Railway, the world's steepest rail incline, and Scenic Skyway - a boxcar which travels across the Jamison Valley 300m below (which is now closed while a replacement is being built) - spent $15 million redeveloping and enhancing the attraction. The result: Scenic World, boasting a Sceniscender cable car, which glides down into the valley, where a 2.5km boardwalk through rainforest has been built. Interestingly enough a rollercoaster ride was also built but never opened due to safety concerns when on a test run two sandbag dummies never returned, after plummeting to the valley below.

Suggestions for things to do:
• Relax in a café on Katoomba St
• Sample the handmade chocolates with natural fruit filling at The Paragon
• Yindi Day Spa. Located at The Carrington hotel. See their website for more details.
• Take the Mountain Link Trolley and explore as many of the stops as you wish. Stops include the 3 Sisters Echo Point, Scenicworld, Leura Village, Gordon Falls (cliff - side walks), Leuralla Toy and Railway Museum, Three Mysteries and Leura Cascades & Falls. Tickets cost $12 for an all day pass (Concession is available)
• Rafting, abseiling, hiking and canyoning and various bush walks.
To find information on all activites in the region, the Katoomba Visitor Information Centre is located at Echo Point. Echo point is also where to go for spectacular views of the Three Sisters and the Jamison and Megalong valleys.

Within driving distance:
• On your way to Katoomba, visit Shelley's favourite place - Nana's Bear Shop in Blaxland.
• Visit the Norman Lindsay Gallery at Faulconbridge, on the way between Penrith and Katoomba.
• Visit the Hydro Majestic. Visitors are welcome to call in for coffee and take in the grandeur of the building.
• Take a ride on the Zig Zag Railway at Lithgow (Approximately 1 hour drive from Katoomba. Ask at the Visitor Information Centre for more information)
• Explore Jenolan Caves (Approximately 1 hour drive from Katoomba. Ask at the Visitor Information Centre for more information)
• Take an autumn stroll in some of the Blue Mountains various gardens. The most popular gardens are the Everglades at Leura, Mount Tomah Botanical Gardens at Mount Tomah and the Blue Mountains Rhododendron Gardens at Blackheath
Complete listing of gardens and open times in the Blue Mountains area
Listing of gardens with websites
General map of the Blue Mountains region

For more ideas on things to do:
The following site has listed attractions for each town in the Blue Mountains.

Other recommended sites:
If you are planning on staying a bit longer www.visitnsw.com.au provides information on all areas in NSW.

• The average temperature in Katoomba in April is a maximum of 17.3 and a minimum of 9.1
• The Blue Mountains are named as such, because of the distinctive blue haze surrounding the area. The bluehaze is created by the densely populated Eucalyptus trees which disperse tiny droplets of oil. This oil in combination with dust particles and water vapour, scatter short-wave length rays of light which are predominantly blue in colour.
• The name Katoomba is derived from the Aboriginal word ‘Kedumba’ meaning ‘shiny, falling waters’ after the natural beauty of the area.
• The legend of the Three Sisters.
'Meehni', 'Wimlah' and Gunnedoo', three beautiful young ladies from the Katoomba tribe, fell in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe, but tribal law forbade them to marry. Unwillingly to accept this law, the brothers decided to use force to capture the three sisters causing a major tribal battle. To prevent the sisters from serious danger a witchdoctor from the Katoomba tribe turned the three sisters into stone to protect them from any harm. He had intended to reverse the spell after the battle, but he was killed, and as he was the only one who could reverse the spell, the sisters remain in their spectacular rock formation today.