The Blue Mountains is one of my all-time favourite locations for a day trip from Sydney. It is very rare to have a city to have a number of beautiful beaches and an amazing mountains range at a one-hour driving distance. The region is home to blue gum trees. The smoke from the burning of these trees creates a bluish-grey mist which is visible from a distance. This is where this region earns its name as "Blue Mountains".
The Blue Mountains National Park covers an area of approximately 11,400 sq km. The region stretches from Western Suburbs of Richmond in Sydney to Mittagong area in Central Highlands. The Blue Mountains region is approximately 400 millions years old. Some of the oldest subterranean caves in the world are found in this region. Most of the small towns in Blue mountains are home to early settlers and miners. Today these towns have become a Mecca for artist and nature lovers who seek inspiration in the wilderness of this amazing region.
How to travel to the Blue Mountains from Sydney?
If you are driving to the Blue Mountains from Sydney the shortest route is to follow Freeway M4 from Sydney Olympic Park towards Hawkesbury River in Penrith. The winding road ascends to beautiful towns of Springfield, Hazelbrook, Leura, Wentworth Falls Katoomba and Black Health. The landscape changes drastically as you climb higher. The road network has undergone an upgrade which makes the drive very enjoyable all the way to Katoomba and Lithgow.
Alternatively, catch a train from the central station from Country link Platform to Katoomba. The trains pass through Western Suburbs of Paramatta while stopping at all the small towns between Paramatta and Katoomba. This is a relatively slower but enjoyable way of travelling to the mountains.
For a day tour to the Blue Mountains from Sydney, it is recommended to book a day tour online. Most tours have pickups fro Central Station, Parammatta and Black Town Area. The tours briefly at most interesting places of interest and is definitely a hassle-free way to travel from Sydney to the Blue Mountains.
Explore the Blue Mountains with Ozasiatraveller
Each town in Blue Mountain has a history that goes back to the age of early explorers in the mid-19th century. Covered with thick vegetation and beautiful waterfalls, this area offers a pleasant retreat from hustle and bustle of city life. You can indulge in your passion for outdoor sports or spend a lazy day browsing through antique shops and exclusive clothing stores.
Book Tours in Blue Mountains
Three sisters, a rock formation in Katoomba is probably the most visited site in Australia. Several walking track into the valley can take you to secluded spots in the wild and you can explore hidden waterfalls and beautiful flora and fauna of the region. If you are into scenic rides, Scenic World is the best spot to visit as it has the world's steepest incline as well as a Sky Trolley that takes you across the Megalong Valley.
Three Sisters Lookout Katoomba
Three Sisters Lookout in the Blue Mountains, Katoomba
Scenic World Blue Mountains is the centre of attraction in the Blue Mountains as it contains the world's steepest incline descending into Megalong Valley. SkyLift takes you across the Megalong Valley with breath-taking views of mountains stretching to hundreds of miles.
Cable Car at Scenic World Katoomba
The restaurant at the scenic World Katoomba
You can buy one pass to take three different rides available at Scenic World, Katoomba. Be mindful of time as the crowd starts building up early in the morning and the rides finish by 5. Scenic World Blue Mountains is particularly crowded over the weekends and public holidays. The ticket for adult costs around $25.
The best way to leisurely explore the area at your own pace is to buy a ticket for the tourist bus that takes you through all the scenic locations in the Blue Mountains. This way get a chance to explore small town next to Katoomba, including Leura and Wentworth Falls as well. Once you get off at Katoomba Train Stations, the booking booth is right next to the train station.
Hop on and Hop-Off Bus is a great way to explore the Blue Mountains
You can also plan to travel to the Blue Mountains for a day and travel with a group. The benefit of the day tour is that you get to see most of the location in minimal possible time and do not have the hassle of using public transport. The Blue Mountains has a lot more offer for those who are into outdoor activities. If you fall into this category, a planned couple of days trip is a great idea, as you can explore hidden gems in the area while enjoying visiting small towns like Black Heath or Mount Victoria. You can also drive down into Megalong Valley to enjoy homemade scones and coffee in a beautiful cafe located at the bottom of the valley.
Remember that most of the places of interest including the lookouts are far-apart and it will not be possible to explore most of these places on foot. Driving is the best way to explore the region. Alternatively, hop on and hop off tour is the best way to explore most of the places in the shortest possible time.
Explore Antique Shops & Art Galleries in the Blue Mountains
In the last couple of years, Blue Mountains has become a hunting ground for antique lovers as some of the shops carry antiques from early settlers in the region around 18th Century. You can find a wide range of furniture & home decoration items.
Paragon Cafe in Katoomba
Carrington Hotel is one of the earliest building in the Katoomba area catering to rich clientele who have visited this interesting tourist town over the last 150 years. The amazing structure is preserved in its original design and decoration. Carrington Hotel takes you back in time with a beautiful wooden staircase at the entrance and immaculately kept dining room where dinner is served with the original menu.
Carrington Hotel is one of my all-time favourite locations to visit in the Blue mountains. The lounge area is a great place to relax and enjoy drinks and light snacks.
Carrington Hotel in Katoomba
If you want to relax after a long day of exploration in the area, I suggest you find a comfy couch near the fireplace in the main hall and order tea and scones with home-made jam or potato wedges with sour cream and milkshake. Surprisingly the food is priced quite reasonably.
The hotel provides lavish accommodation for honeymooners as well as families with two-bedroom suites. You will find a wide range of modern amenities including a beautiful spa where you can pamper yourself with beauty treatments.
Other facilities on premises include a Billiard Room, Conference Room, Study rooms as well as a small library.
Explore interesting towns around Katoomba
Katoomba is the central location in the Blue Mountains region. The region, however, comprises a large number of small towns and communities offering unique visiting experience to the travellers. A large number of private properties are turned into bread and breakfast accommodation offering comforts of home and very enjoyable holiday experience in the Blue Mountains. You can easily book a small townhouse to a villa if travelling with a large group. This gives the luxury of space and other amenities along with easy access to all public areas.
To get a real feel for the bush you can also rent remote country cottages with nice fireplaces and wooden structure. This requires a bit of exploration online as most properties are managed privately through Airbnb and similar services.
Some interesting towns to explore near Katoomba includes
- Mount Victoria
Famous for zig-zag railway ( currently closed down ) and walking trails to Victoria Falls
- Wentworth Falls
Amazing lookouts as well as calm and serene country houses
Famous for Bilpin apples and Botanical Gardens
Next to amazing Megalong Valley and beautiful Cafes and historical building
Blue mountains offer a number of trails for people into outdoor activities including camping, trekking and bush-walking. You can pick and choose the trail based on your fitness level and interest. Make sure you get all necessary information about the trails as some of the locations are quite remote and every now and then people get lost in bush and rescue missions have to be organised to find them.
On long trails, you are required to notify the authorities about your plans and carry an emergency beacon in case of trouble. Most trails are properly marked, however, some trails bear the signs of weathering so it is a good idea to carry navigational & communication equipment.
Blue Mountains region is the most visited tourist area around Sydney. Consequently, you can find accommodation ranging from 5-star resorts to basic youth hostels. I have had a chance to stay in Blue mountains more than ten times and here are my recommendations on various types of accommodation
1. YHA offers cheap and affordable accommodation in the heart of Katoomba. This location is very close to the train station and all amenities & cafes are within walking distance.
2. Motels like 3-sister Motel are very close to three sisters lookout and offers daily rates under $100. Weekday rates are a lot lower than weekend rates.
3. Mountain Heritage Hotel: This is one of my favourite places to stay offering world-class accommodation and dining experience in a unique location overlooking the Megalong Valley. The breakfast is amazing as you can see the clouds even below the hotel level. The rooms are lavishly furnished and all basic amenities are accessible.
Another hour drive from Katoomba will take you to 400million-year-old Jenolan Caves. You can explore cave adventures to find pristine subterranean channels, stalagmite and other cave formations.
Please Note: Jenolan Caves are currently closed as of June 2020 due to COVID-19 Restrictions.
Other places of interest in Blue mountains include Wentworth Falls, Carrington Hotels and local markets over the weekend.
Catch Blue Mountains Explorer Bus to get the most of the location and beautiful lookout in the Blue Mountains.
Planning a trip to the Blue Mountains? Here are some great ideas:
- Book a Blue Mountains Day Tour from Sydney
- Book a Blue Mountains and Feathersdale Park Day Tour
- Book a Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves Tour
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