Katoomba & the Blue Mountains



Katoomba, the home of Varuna, the Writers' House, is in the World Heritage Area, the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia.

Katoomba is one of a string of towns stretching along a ridge of the Blue Mountains, and is home to the famous Three Sisters rock formation. The mountains look blue because of the eucalyptus trees covering them; they disperse eucalyptus oil into the atmosphere and make the blue light rays of the sun more prominent.


The Three Sisters

At Echo Point in Katoomba is the stunning rock formation known as the Three Sisters, which overlooks the Jamison Valley. According to Aboriginal legend, they were once three sisters, turned to stone by a medicine man who sought to protect them. Katoomba is 110 km west of Sydney, and with a population of 9000, is the largest of the Blue Mountains towns.

Climbing the Giant Stairway


There are spectacular views and exciting bushwalks just minutes away from Varuna. The more adventurous visitors might tackle the Giant Stairway, 800 steps descending 300 metres into the wild Jamison Valley. (Photo courtesy Anne Spudvilas)



Crimson Rosella in winter

The Blue Mountains can experience climatic extremes, often hot and dry in summer and very cold in winter - snow is not uncommon and bush fires are an occasional occurrence. As Katoomba is 1000 metres above sea level, however, it can be cold at almost any time of year. Despite Varuna's good heating system and lovely open fire it's advisable to bring warm clothes, even in summer.

For current temperatures and forecasts for Katoomba and the Blue Mountains, click here.

Services & Facilities

Katoomba shopping centre
The shopping area of Katoomba is less than 15 minutes' walk from the Varuna house.

You'll find all the shops, supermarkets, banks, medical services, restaurants, liquor stores, chemists, movie theatres and other facilities you need in Katoomba or in one of the nearby towns. Gyms, yoga classes and other leisure activities are also plentiful.

Katoomba's proximity to Sydney means it is quite possible to go down to the city for the day, and interstate or overseas visitors often do this.

For details of travel to and from Varuna, the Writers' House, click here.