Katoomba is the most important and famous town in the Australian region of the Blue Mountains in the New South Wales state.
This city is located near the Three Sisters, which are three peculiar and amazing peaks that are considered amongst the main landmarks of the Blue Mountains. It is also the main tourist centre of the Blue Mountains and the headquarters of the administrative Blue Mountains City Council.
This small town is located 110 kilometers (66 miles) west of Sydney and 1030 metres (2500 feet) above sea level.
Its name “ka-toom-ba” means “shining falling water” in the native language and comes from a waterfall located in the Jamison valley close the current location of the town. Katoomba has a population of 7923 inhabitants and its main economic activity is the tourism. Katoomba has a mild climate.
Therefore, it is a popular destination amongst the Sydney’s people in summer; when the average daytime temperature in Katoomba is 20 ºC (68ºF), nevertheless, sometimes the temperature can increase until 30ºC (86ºF). In winter the average temperature is 10ºC (50ºF) but, it can decrease until 0ºC (32ºF) at night. The annual rate of rainfall is 1200 mm (48 inches) with occasional snowfalls.
This town was founded in the XIX century, when it was developed as tourist complex, after the discovery of a route to cross the Blue Mountains in 1813. During this time some grand hotels such as the Carrington and the Belgravia, were constructed here. In that time the town was known as William's Chimney or Collett's Swamp. Later in 1874 the town was named “The Crushers”.
In 1876 a railway station was established in the town, accelerating the development of the city and in 1877, the town was officially named Katoomba, achieving the status of municipality in 1889. Later the coal and shale mining became the most important activity in the region; however, the reserves of mineral were exhausted by the beginning of the XX century and the city became a tourist town again.
During 1960s, Katoomba declined as tourist destination and most hotels and restaurants of the town closed. But, in 1980s most part of the tourist infrastructure of Katoomba was restored and the city became the main holiday destination of the Sydney’s inhabitants. Today this town is a beautiful area full of colorful art-deco style shops and houses, being the home of many artists, poets, intellectuals and environmentalists.
One of the main attractions of Katoomba is the famous Scenic Railway, which is the steepest incline railway in the world and is considered one of the most important man-made tourist attractions of the country. This railway route passes through some of the most beautiful landscapes of Katoomba.
Another attraction of this town is the Scenic Skyway, an impressive aerial cable car that takes you on a 545 meters ride into the Greater Blue Mountains National Park, crossing the Jamison Valley to 200 meters height. Near the city, it can find also the Cascades and the Katoomba Falls, two of the most famous landmarks of Katoomba.
Nevertheless, without doubt, the most famous and spectacular view of Katoomba and the Blue Mountains is the view of the Three Sisters, which are the most representative rock formation of this region. According to an aborigine legend, these three peaks were once three sisters, turned to stones by a medicine man to protect them. The best view of these amazing peaks can be reached from the place known as Echo Point.
The city has also an excellent selection of restaurants and cafes as well as many art galleries, which are located along Lurline Street. Besides, Katoomba hosts some nice events and festivals, like the Six Foot Track Marathon, the Winter Magic Festival and Yulefest, the Spring Gardens Festivals, the Blue Mountains Music Festival and the Wines of West.
Therefore, Katoomba is a city that is really worth visiting.