We have a soft spot for Katoomba Falls Tourist Park and its sister park, Blackheath Glen Caravan Park (dog-friendly). Both are maintained and run by Blue Mountains City Council and managed by Aiden and Benita, with live-in managers at each facility.
Katoomba Falls is on the busy thoroughfare Cliff Drive, which is also part of the Blue Mountains Scenic Drive. It is situated less than 500 metres to Scenic World Skyway and at the trail head of a number of easy and more challenging bushwalks. The Three Sisters are a leisurely 20 minute walk but, the closest viewing platforms are a 5 minute walk away. Katoomba town is a heart-pumping 20 minutes walk uphill or, 5 minute drive.
It is also fair to say that it is a ‘first stop’ for many international tourists who have arrived on an overnight flight, picked up their Britz van and got this far on the wrong side of the road with Sydney traffic as their introduction to Australian driving conditions. Lane Cove National Park (another favourite) in North Ryde has a similar ‘first-stop’ style clientele.
Keeping in mind, the Blue Mountains has very limited caravan stay options. Katoomba Falls Tourist Park lends itself to being a stop on the way somewhere. The overnight prices are set by the Blue Mountains City Council. They are not budget cheap but, for the Blue Mountains, they certainly could be considered budget. We pay $40/night plus $8 for DSX (total $48/night Off-Peak 2017). Stays of 3 nights or more do attract a discount. Unpowered sites are $32/night (Off-Peak 2017). *All prices should be taken as indicative and confirmation sought from the office.
Our observation is that the park is 95-100% booked all of the time. We book ahead as far ahead as we can. Weekends such as the Blue Mountains Music Festival or, Ultra-Trail Australia book out well in advance, if not twelve months in advance. We book for Ultra-Trail as soon as we know the dates even if we haven’t secured an entry.
All powered caravan sites are on concrete pads. There is a big concrete slab behind the amenities block (renovated winter 2016) or, slab sites. Because of the sheer volume of rainfall they receive, you park on the concrete slab and your annexe goes on the grass. Yes, if it rains you might have water run through your site but, 24 hours later it has drained away and it doesn’t seem to get boggy. The unpowered sites are really tent sites. I think there might be one or two unpowered sites suitable for a campervan but I don’t think there is sullage so I can’t imagine it being encouraged.
There are 11 self-contained cabins. Of these, 7 were upgraded in 2016. One of these has ramp access. Each has a little balcony with table and chairs to sit outside. We’ve stayed in one of the Wentworth cabins when travelling between Sydney and home and they were well kitted out. You do need to bring your own sheets and an extra towels if you are using the second bedroom. Alternatively, you can hire linen. We found there were ample doonas and spare blankets in the cupboards. Again, these cabins were spotless. The remaining 4 cabins are an older style and a bit smaller but still two bedroom sleeping 4-5 people.
Finally, dues must be paid to the on-site managers, Terry and Doug. Lets be clear, they are a straight shooting couple. Terry is happy to chat but, she is not your resident weather information resource nor, activities co-ordinator. Doug, has a Far North Queensland vernacular that could easily throw a jet-lagged tourist into a spin and the kind of dry delivery that many a local, let alone international, might not ‘get’. I can imagine that his turns of phrase might not fall well on the ears of ‘bones of your arse hanging out of your jeans’ backpackers, and that they might interpret him as, gruff, at the least and, positively cranky, at the most.
I gather there has been a history of the parks facilities being used ‘illegally’ by travellers. Hence, the signage referring to security and authorised persons only on the grounds. The vigilance around check in/out times, number of vehicles per site, use of amenities and the (positively sparkling) camp kitchen facilities adds to the overall good tone of the park. You know the management take pride in what they are offering.
If you do need a shower, the Katoomba Aquatic Centre is around the corner and can assist. As for a laundrymat, there is a coin laundry adjacent to the YHA. BBQ and picnic tables are in the park next to the Katoomba Cascades 150 metres away.
As I have mentioned, we have a soft spot for the Blue Mountains and what discovering this area has offered our family. When you stay here, its not jumping pillows or swimming pools that you get. What you do get, are clean, well maintained grounds and amenities, a safe spot to stay and access to some of the most breathtaking scenery you could ask for.
Blue Mountains Tourist Parks