Unlike the Northern Hemisphere, there’s no major holiday to break up the monotony of winter. While the cold weather in Australia isn’t all that cold (at least in Sydney), winter is still long enough and cold enough to make you wish it was summer again. This weekend, after living in Australia for almost three years, I ventured up into the Blue Mountains and to the towns of Leura and Katoomba and spent the day on a short bushwalk, followed by a fantastic brownie and coffee in a small, cozy cafe on the main street of Leura – an artsy little mountain town with wonderfully overpriced souvenirs and homewares (stuff I’d actually buy, but could find cheaper elsewhere).
The day never reached 10c, and the rain was on and off throughout the day, but it kind of made for a cozy day – especially whilst sipping on a flat white and eating a VERY decadent brownie at Cafe Josophan’s, a fine chocolatier.
We started the day at the Three Sisters lookout, over the Jamison Valley, which turned in to moderate bushwalk along the steep (it’s pretty much straight down) sandstone cliffs – some up to 760 meters deep. The Blue Mountains is a beautiful area of the world – especially during autumn months when the cooler temperatures turn the leaves a golden brown. The view from every outcrop is different, but equally awe inspiring. If you’ve got the legs for it, there are many trails that will take you down into the rainforests that exist in the valley below. These dense eucalyptus forests allow for spectacular bird life and a chance encounter with many of Australia’s unique wildlife. Just make sure you plan accordingly, as many hikers get lost and like any mountainous terrain, the weather changes fast.
The climate varies with altitude. At Katoomba (1,010 m) summer daytime temperatures are usually in the 20s with a few days extending into the 30s (Celsius). Night-time temperatures are usually in the teens. During the winter the temperature is typically around 12 to 13°C in the daytime with −3°C or so on clear nights and 2 to 3°C on cloudy nights. There are two to three snowfalls per year. In the lower mountains, however, the climate is significantly warmer.
Annual rainfall is about 1,050 mm in the Upper Blue Mountains with many misty days.
Here’s some shots from this past weekend. If you’d like to see more, and in higher resolution, click here. Enjoy!