Tuesday, 8 January 2013

A - Z of Australia - T is for The Three Sisters

I had been scratching my head about what to writer under T.
I first thought about Tasmania, but since I have never been there, there         wasn´t much knowledge I could impart. Nor did I have photos!
Looking over some photos of 2011 I came across photos taken at "The Three Sisters" mountain range and thought it would be the ideal post for T.

When we visited Sydney in 2011, one of the must see visits was to the Blue mountains. They are about 100km from Sydney via the Great Western Highway, and if you don´t have a car you can still visit by taking a 2 hour train trip, or joining a bus tour.

Near the town of Katoomba in the Jamison Valley, are the Three Sisters, formed by erosion in a sandstone mountain range. Their names are Meehni with an height of 922mt, Wimlah with 918mt and Gunnedoo with 906 mt.

The legend goes that the three sisters lived in this valley with the Katoomba tribe and they fell in love with 3 men from another tribe with whom marriage was forbidden by tribal law. The brothers unhappy with this law  forcefully captured the sisters. A tribal battle ensued and the sisters were turned to stone by an elder who was then killed in the battle and no one else was able to turn them back.
The Three Sisters and the Elder at the entrance to the Scenic World where you can take the cable car

This legend was later discredited and had apparently been fabricated in the 1920´s to 1930´s to add interest to a local landmark.

The character of the mountain range changes through the day depending on sunlight, turning them into many colours. At night the Three Sisters are lit until 11pm looking spectacular against the dark background of the night sky.

There is a lookout at 300mt above the Jamison valley - Echo Point - where you can have a good view of the Three Sisters and the never ending tree and fern covered valley.

Echo Point Lookout, where you have an endless view over the Jamison valley. The 3 Sisters are to the left.

The Three Sisters, seen from the Echo Point lookout

The Three Sisters at night (photo from the net)

The majestic Three Sisters

If you are fit, enjoy walking and are adventurous, why not climb down the Giant Staircase?
From the Echo Point lookout, walk past the Visitors centre towards the Three Sisters until the Bridge and to the top of the Giant Staircase. There are 900 steps to negotiate with handrail (a 300mt descent) and there are lookouts set into the cliff for a stop and photo opportunities.
At the base of the staircase the walking trail on the valley floor wanders through the fern forest under the cliff and the Katoomba falls. Keep walking until you reach the Scenic Railway. This time you go up through the valley to Scenic World and can then catch a bus to Katoomba Railway station and Echo Point. Be there before the last train at 4,50pm, otherwise you will have to climb up the staircase again!
I'm afraid I didn't try this one, so can't give you advice on it! But be sure to carry water and wear proper walking shoes. The hike will take about 3 hours.

The Giant Stairway, Katoomba. Photo Courtesy of Harry Phillips 12 April 1935
Old photo of the Three Sisters Giant Staircase (photo from net)

If you aren't fit or into hiking, but would still like to feel the thrill of going down the mountain then head to to Scenic World not far away from the "Echo Point" lookout.
After making a choice of "travel vehicle" and buying your tickets, you have the option of going down to the valley with the Skyway, Cableway or Scenic railway.

Scenic railway - a thrilling experience, sitting in a railcar, with a 52° incline, hurtling through a tunnel, emerging into the rainforest.
The rail cars carry 84 passengers and depart every 10 minutes.
(From 14th January this is undergoing a revamp).
Myself, husband and a friend in the Scenic railway
All aboard ready to descend
Once you disembark you can walk via the Scenic Walkway through 2,4km of forest. This boardwalk over the Jamison Valley allows people to explore the mining history of the area, visit a miner's hut, learn about the flora and the birds. 
You can choose between a 10 min. walk to a hour long walk, and have a rest on benches located along the route.

My husband walking along the elevated Walkway through the cool forest
When you reach the other side, you can go back up with the Cableway.
The Scenic Cableway takes you on a 545mt journey overlooking the Three Sisters, and other mountain points and the Katoomba Falls. This is the steepest and largest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere and carries 84 passengers.
The only drawback was that the passengers were so squashed that unless you were standing by the windows you wouldn't be able to see very much or take photos which didn't include some of the passengers faces.
These were the options we chose, costing $21 each person.
You can also take the Scenic Skyway,which is suspended 270mt above the forest, on a 720mt journey between cliff tops with a 360° view, and gaze through the glass floor at the views of the Three Sisters, the Jamison valley, Katoomba Falls...and back again!
(We didn't use this option either).

On the return trip we used the Scenic cablecar

From the valley looking up
Following our thrill rides we had a coffee and cake at one of Katooba's cafes and drove around having a look at the town. We came across a park - Lilianfels Park - where we saw some lovely bronze statues which are a wonderful contribution to Australian history. 
The statues are of 5 bronze figures: 2 convicts, 2 Aboriginals and Red Coat Trooper - a memorial opened in 2007, to honour the Road Builders of Australia.
The Road Builders of Australia Memorial, in Katoomb

You can read other A-Z posts from other bloggers by following this link:
Have fun!


  1. What a nice place! I imagine those stairs are a real workout. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Lovely photos and useful information, Sami. I went there in 1997 so it's great to be reminded of the spectacular views. And I think there are now more options for getting a good look at them than when I was there. I seem to remember walking and sweating so I may have been talked into the walkway!

  3. I don't know if this will be a duplicate or not - just tried to leave a comment but I don't know if it worked!

    I just wanted to say how lovely it is to be reminded of my trip to the 3 sisters back in 1997. I don't think there were so many options available at the time a
    and I think I did the steps walk - I've got a photo of me with a sweaty red face so that would explain it!

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  5. I've really enjoyed this post. I feel like I've visited the magical area and came out in awe. You all do have some gorgeous terrain. You're a fabulous tour guide. :)

    I must confess that when I originally read 'T is for the Three Sisters' I thought it was about the '3 Sisters' in gardening: corn, squash and beans. lol

    Great post.

  6. Thanks for visiting Valentina.
    Julie, how interesting that you know the place, it's a really lovely spot to spend a day.
    Thanks for visiting Anonymous.
    Hi E.C. I had no idea that trio of veggies was called the 3 sisters, lol, now I too have learned something new!!

  7. Those "travel options" seem interesting. I think I'd love the railway. What a scenic trip it must be!

  8. How beautiful the area is! However, you would not catch me climbing up all those stairs! - mind you it would burn a lot of calories :)

  9. Lovely Light - the scenic rail is scary when you first sit down, and then going downhill it's a bit of a thrill.

    Carole - I had no inclination to use those stairs either, not fit enough to climb up or down 900 steps!!

  10. As always your descriptions are so real that we were there. Hugs

  11. Sami-
    I have just loaded your beautiful blog in for my Grow Your Blog party. I look forward to your special post on the 19th. I hope you make lots of friends at the party-

  12. I would definitely like to climb the stairs..seriously! Really interesting post Sami..

  13. Passei por aqui e aproveito para deixar os meus desejos de um fantástico 2013 à Sami! :)

  14. Obrigada Sara, igualmente. Como vai a idea de virem para a Australia?

  15. They are gorgeous photos! Tasmania is one of my most favorite places. I hope you have a wonderful 2013 Sami :)

  16. Thanks Sharon, happy New Year to you too.


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