The Three Sisters are located close to Katoomba. The names of the three rocks from the left to the right are Meehni (922 m), Wimlah (918 m), and Gunnedoo (906 m).
The Three Sisters rock formation and Echo Point are the most popular part of the Blue Mountains. To avoid the crowds come here early morning. For a good shot, they are best from midday until afternoon - perfect light on a sunny day. It's very crowded here with lots of tour buses. The hike itself is quiet and peaceful and the ideal way to enjoy the Blue Mountains' nature. Fewer crowds during winter.
More precipitation during summer from November to March/April. Winter months are drier and sunnier. The rainfall at the Blue Mountains is similar to Sydney. In the summer, day temperatures can increase up to 35 degrees and even higher but are mostly bearable. Nights are pretty cool. Nevertheless, each season is different and can be marvelous for hiking in the Blue Mountains.
Boodeere declared as a Nature Reserve in 1971 and established as National Park in 1992. The name originates from the Wreck Bay Aboriginal community and means bay of plenty or plenty of fish.
Steamers Beach is quite a popular beach yet not much crowded. Several trails are leading to this excellent place in the Booderee National Park but it's not accessible by car. We spotted colorful birds along the trail in the late afternoon. Expect more visitors and campers in the summer from December until February and during weekends. March is a pleasant month with warm temps, less crowded and swimming in the sea is still possible. Water temp over 20°C from December to April.
Rain is common throughout the year, but more precipitation during summer; winter is much drier. Temps in summer on average around 25°C but can be hot as well. Summer is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. In the winter the day temps are below 20°C and expect one digit temps during the night.
Birding at National Park Zapata is outstanding. We did this guided tour twice with different guides at different months. A car is necessary to go to this three different places.
The best time of day for birding is the morning. Don't go too early, otherwise mosquito might eat you up.
The best months are November until April in the dry season. Rainy season from July until October is not recommended, as areas can be flooded. Shoulder season May and June, showers may occur but easier to find a casa without booking in advance. July and August are the Cuban school holiday.
Yala designated as National Park in 1938 is the oldest one of Sri Lanka. It is divided into 5 blocks, four of them are open to the public at the moment (Feb. 2019).
Yala is a must if traveling to Sri Lanka. The National Park is popular for the biggest leopards, lots of wildlife and it's birders paradise. Of course, everybody wants to see a leopard at Yala, but to increase the chance of a sighting stay at least two nights! What is the best time to spot them? Read on for our detailed tips:
Yala has the highest density of leopards. The best chance to spot them is around new moon combined with a safari/tour in the afternoon when it’s also less busy. They are more active around dusk during new moon days.
It’s often very busy with many jeeps. It's super crazy if a leopard got spotted. Avoid weekends and public holidays. The morning safaris are the busiest. You can't enter the park immediately; first, your driver has to queue to get the ticket. Many tourists stay just for one night and leave at midday. The afternoon is much quieter.
The best time to spot leopards, as well as other wildlife such as elephants and wild boar, is from May to August. More animals gather around the waterholes during the drier months. From October to December it’s more likely to spot deer, crocodiles, and birds. The park is often closed in September until October (too aggressive animals after a heavy drought). The best time of the day to spot wildlife is either early morning or from afternoon till evening. From late morning until afternoon they usually hide under thick foliage.
Opening Hours and 3 Gates at Yala
The park is open from 6 to 6. Yala is divided into five blocks. Block 4 is not open for safaris. Most visited are Block 1 and 2 with two entrances. Hundreds of jeeps seek for a leopard in Block 1.
- Palatupana: Main entrance for Block 1 and 2 is the busiest - waiting time up to one hour in the morning.
- Katagamuwa: This entrance to Block 1 and 2 is far less crowded.
- Galge: Entrance for Block 3 and 5 and less known. Therefore, you do not need to queue at the Galge entrances.
Our driver Amare was checking the depth of a waterhole.
In general, you can visit Yala year-round. It's never really bad. The dry season runs from May to September. Increasing precipitation in October. The ‘mild’ rainy season runs from November to January and some more rainfall again in April.
Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for Yala from 1991-2015
Top Tips Where to Stay
First of all stay at least two or three nights to increase the chance of spotting a leopard. Choose an accommodation which is nearby. Pro; you can go on safari in the morning and afternoon and spend the lunch break at your hotel.
Horton Plains was declared as a National park in 1988 and World Heritage Site since 2010.
It's often discussed if it is worth to pay the high entrance fee to Horton Plains and hike to World's End. The hike itself is not outstanding, but the cloud forest with its inhabitants is. It's a unique hotspot for endemic species which you may watch here only at an altitude of 2000 meters and above. Continue reading to get all necessary information for this World Heritage Site.
The very best time of the year for visiting Horton Plains is from January to March very early in the morning. Early for two reasons; to dodge the crowds and for a spectacular view of World's End. You already need to leave Nuwara Elya at dawn. It's quite difficult to get here independent. It takes roughly 1 1/2 hours to get to the entrance. If you arrive early, you may spot samba deer. Their numbers increased in the last years. At the entrance, your bag may get controlled by rangers or security for plastic. The park is well protected and therefore very clean without rubbish along the trail. Try to be at the popular outlook before 9 am. Clouds and mist spoil the view frequently.
It's a circular trail. If you arrive a little late at Horton Plains walk to the left first. Direction left leads you faster to the World's End. Anyhow, don't come here in a rush otherwise you won't spot some of the endemic lizards like the rhino-horned lizard.
Rain occurs throughout the year, but there is less precipitation in the "dry" season from January to March. April is still a little drier. There is a big difference in the amount of rainfall. The highlands on lower elevation have an annual rainfall of more than 2000 mm while around World's End and the cloud forest on a higher elevation the amount is more than 5000 mm each year. The cloud forest is mistier during the rainy season especially from May to July. Usually the annual day temp is below 20°C due to the high elevation. Weather can change quickly, and it can get chilly within minutes. Bring a jacket for the evening. Expect one digit temps in the night.
World's End is a very popular and moderate hike also for the Sri Lankan people; the reason weekends are busier. Other trails in the park are not crowded. You have these trails almost for yourself. From 10 am onwards, it gets crowded.
Where to Stay in Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya has an immense variety of accommodations. We'd chosen the old colonial style Jetwing St. Andrew's. The breakfast and dinner were delicious. Ask for the renovated rooms. Anyhow, it's difficult to recommend one of the many hotels. Check out the 30 Best Budget and Luxury Hotels in Nuwara Eliya. There is much precipitation in this area. We got told that some of the hotels may have an issue with this high amount of rain. It can happen that rooms smell. Check out the guests' feedback before booking.