As part of the Blue Mountains, the Megalong Valley is a firm favourite for those looking for seclusion, peace and tranquility. With a population of just 164, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, this small farming community offers natural respite and a range of gentle activities just two hours' drive from Sydney. By hiring a vehicle from East Coast Car Rentals, take in the rustic splendour of the Megalong Valley to give your batteries a well-deserved charge.
Six Foot Track
The Six Foot Track is a walking trail some 45 kilometres long, snaking through the Megalong Valley on its way to the Jenolan Caves. Passing through several great forests and national parks, the Six Foot Track was initially designed as a bridle path six feet wide, in order to provide enough passing space should two horses meet. This is where it takes its name.
The Six Foot Track is popular for walkers who can choose to complete certain segments on a day-trip or a three-day camping adventure. Start at the Explorer's Tree, where the first known adventurers to cross the Blue Mountains carved their names. The Six Foot Track crosses old bridges, through deserted settlements far out into the wilderness and past forgotten cemeteries – it's a walk that offers as much to the historian as it does to the budding photographer.
Katoomba is the biggest town found in the Blue Mountains, but don't allow any images of tower blocks, subways or pollution enter your mind – it's a quaint settlement, just over 8,000 in population. Built on a bed of coal, the mine that slices into the mountain side can be visited by way of the Scenic Railway, a track which includes the steepest incline in the world. Additionally, you can also ride the adjacent Scenic Cableway, a cable car equally-steep as the railway.
The sheer cliff faces, sky-piercing mountains and rocky outcrops form the backdrop of your view – a popular way to see it all is to ride the railway down into the valley, take in the scenery of the walkway and then climb back to the top by way of the cable car.
The Three Sisters, a rock formation found close to Katoomba, is among the most famous of all the Blue Mountains attractions. Three enormous pillars of rock, over 300 metres in height, soar skywards, their jagged shapes and shadows forming different colours in the Australian sunlight. They are also spectacularly lit at night, offering a quite unique view and a photo opportunity that cannot be had anywhere else on Earth.
In the town itself, you'll find friendly friendly guesthouses, jovial pubs and charming cafes alongside the local shops offering regional produce and handmade wares – a perfect memento to your time in Katoomba.
Hartley is really a collection of tiny villages that were formed on the mound of gold that was discovered here in the middle of the 19th century, and it hasn't really changed much since. Colonial in its history, Hartley is home to a number of building steeped in the heritage of that time, reluctant to change as the modern, commercial world has. What you'll find in Hartley is all you'll need – a pub, a church, a shop and a post office, as well as a courthouse just in case you are caught in the wrong side of the law.
This little town is one of the highest in altitude in Australia, rising high above the mountains on its own summit. For such a small settlement, you'll find a range of things to see and do, including camping, hiking and mountain biking in the surrounding countryside. A beautiful place to while away a day or three, Mount Victoria offers sweeping, panoramic views that can be taken from the vantage point of the many excellent restaurants and guesthouses in the area.