How much do you know about your town? Whether you are local or a tourist you are guaranteed to learn something on a Blue Mountains walking tour with Sue from Mountains Tales, and its a great way to spend an afternoon!
A passionate lover of Aussie history, Sue developed her initial walking tours of Leura and Katoomba during the Covid lockdowns. She has recently added Mount Victoria to the lineup. While she hasn’t ruled out adding additional Blue Mountains towns to her repertoire, they do take a considerable investment of time to research and write so there are just the three on offer for now. Sue also offers Blue Mountains private tours for social groups, corporate and other private events.
I was pleased to accept Sue’s invitation to join her on one of her public walking tours of Katoomba. While I was invited along on this tour the experience and opinions detailed are entirely my own.
Blue Mountains Walking Tour of Katoomba
The tour kicks off in front of what once was the Gearins Hotel in Katoomba, conveniently located beside the train station. If you are coming by car the Gearins is also beside the commuter carpark, and is just off the highway so there is no need to drive into Katoomba itself in order to join the tour. The Gearins is now an eclectically styled cafe which features live music events and does amazing coffee Sue informs me.
Now I’ve lived in the Blue Mountains my entire remembered life, and while I don’t proclaim myself to be an expert in the history of the region I like to think I do know a thing or two about my local area. Sue’s walking tour was jam packed full of information and she is enthusiastic and passionate in her storytelling, and a great laugh to boot!
Sue first takes us over the highway to where the council building now stands, showing us pictures of what once stood there and the story of what happened to it, before showing us the location of the original mountains road and how some of the buildings that still stand came to be, and the purposes they have served since their construction.
We then cross back over the highway to the station where Sue explains how the town grew up around the railroad, as many towns do. Much of Katoomba railway station is original and remains intact with its modernisations contained within.
Crossing to the other side of the station Sue takes us to a specific spot where we can look down upon what was the original station master building and wooden platform, both still standing today. Beside them stands a massive crane, no longer in use but still in working order.
Sue then leads us around the corner into the beginning of the town. I’m not going to go into too much detail here as I don’t want to steal Sue’s thunder away, but what was definitely a big surprise to me to learn was that Katoomba had its own coal power station which supplied power to the town. The old smoke stack is still prominently visible from much of the town.
The tour will finish in the courtyard of the Carrington Hotel, itself a building steeped in a long history full of interesting tales Sue is just busting to tell!
What to expect on Blue Mountains Walking Tours
While it is an easy walk with minimal steps and inclines you will be on your feet for a couple of hours so comfortable walking shoes are a must.
Also think about weather protection. Katoomba can get quite a bit colder than lower down the mountains and in Winter the sun will be sinking as the tour is winding up so bringing another layer of clothing is a great idea.
And expect to learn something! Because you definitely will! Sue has approached the content of her tours with meticulous attention to detail. She has sourced original pictures, advertisements and even an original photobook which she shares on the tour while telling the stories of Katoomba and its people as it once was. It’s not difficult to imagine the past swirling around you as you journey through the towns history.
Location: Sue offers walking tours in Katoomba, Leura and has recently added Mount Victoria to the lineup.
Who’s it for: Anyone with an interest in learning about history or their local area. This would make a history experience for older kids too!
Duration: 2 hours
Distance: approximately 1.5 kilometres
Meeting point: In front of the Gearins Hotel Katoomba, 273 Great Western Highway
For more information or to chat with Sue about a private event check out the Mountains Tales website at https://mountainstales.com/