Walkers: Bruce, Maddie, Tony, David, Suan.
Leader: Bruce
Date: 14/1/2015

Some more good weather luck on this walk. Although rain had been forecast for the morning, in fact it had past over overnight so we had a clear day for the walk.

Maddie and I arrived at Central, got the train there and collected Tony and his niece and nephew David and Suan. When we got to Katoomba it was a pleasant surprise to find the weather to be quite cool; must have been at least 10 degrees cooler than at Penrith. So in 20 Degrees and a clear sky, we set off towards the top of Furber’s Steps, stopping for a coffee at a cafe on the main street. at the start of Furber’s Steps we quickly descended down these quite steep steps, noting the various waterfalls on the way that were running full after the previous night’s rain.

At the bottom we reached Federal Pass and stopped to see the Scenic Railway cars descend, as we wanted to see what the new refurbished cars looked like. Totally enclosed in perspex now.

So we continued on and reached the start of the point where Federal Pass branches off the boardwalk at the old mines there. This continued on until reaching the Landslide section, where the track gets somewhat more rough. Indeed there are a couple of places where sliding down on your behind is the most efficient method of progress. We also noted some abseilers high up above us on the cliff face. Eventually we left the Landslide section, and the track levels off somewhat, being the old mine tramway to Ruined Castle. At one point Suan let out a yell. A snake? No, a leech. We stopped off briefly to look at the entrance of the Mt Rennie tunnel and felt the blast of air coming through it from the other side of Narrow Neck. Didn’t hang round there too long though, as it is leech territory. We continued on to the Junction of Federal Pass and Golden Stairs, and as time was getting on, we decided to not continue to Ruined Castle but go up Golden Stairs and have a late lunch at the top.

Golden Stairs is the shortest of the three routes out (other being Furbers steps and the Giant Stairway). It is one of those climbs which never seem to end, when suddenly you find yourself at the top. On the way Suan let out another yell. Another leech? No, in this case it was a small Brown Snake on the steps. It didn’t hang round and neither did we.

After a short lunch break, and admiring the view of the Megalong Valley, we set off along Glenrapael Drive until reaching Narrow Neck Drive. Instead of following it right I turned left and immediately spotted a vacant block almost directly opposite Glenraphael Drive with a track on it which turned out to lead directly to Violet Street and Scenic World. This cut off almost 1.5Km of road bash. Not only that, but we reached Scenic Drive just as the next bus to Katoomba was pulling in.

So we got on the bus which got to Katoomba Station 2 minutes before the train! Maddie and I got the train but Tony, Tin and Anh stayed behind to get a Pizza and a later train. On reaching Penrith, when the train doors opened I thought that the air conditioning must have stopped working, it was so warm. In fact it was the heat from the outside air; that demonstrates what a difference in temperature there was between Katoomba and Penrith.

It was a good trip on a weekday with good weather and luck with the transport connections making it hassle-free.

No photos this time

Bruce Stafford