The Giant Stairway – Katoomba, Australia - Atlas Obscura

The Giant Stairway

A massive stairway that almost wasn't leads to one of Australia's most scenic vistas. 


Australia’s Giant Stairway is a series of metal stairways and steps hewn right into the rock that leads to from the base of the Jamison Valley up to the famous Three Sisters formation. 

Despite the clear demand for an easier pass up to the Three Sisters, the Giant Stairway was almost not to be. When the walkway was initially conceived, the cost of etching all those steps into the hillside was dismissed but just a few years later, a new Chief Ranger was hired who had a bit more vision. Realizing the potential revenue a grand new path would bring to the park new boss Jim McKay put forth the idea again, just two years later after the first proposal and it was approved. Unfortunately, the project only got a fourth of the way up the path when etching the grand staircase out of the rock was deemed too expensive and the whole construction was stopped. However, the tenacious ranger continued lobbying for the path and work was eventually recommenced, this time using metal stairs instead of using the ground itself. 

Today, the Giant Staircase is complete and leads up 800 stairs rising over 1,000 feet in elevation, to one of Australia’s most picturesque vistas, and just as McKay predicted, draws huge amounts of visitors each year.

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