Sydney City has some of the most beautiful landscapes ranging from pristine beaches, national forests and beautiful mountain ranges at a driving distance from the city. If you are planning a day trip from Sydney, Lithgow is a great destination for a day trip from Sydney. The scenic route through Richmond has beautiful lookouts, rolling hills and plenty of nice places to stop.
M4 offers the shortest and quickest route to Blue Mountains regions from Sydney, I think that a more enjoyable and scenic route is to take Bells Line Road past Richmond to Mount Victoria and Lithgow.
Sydney to the Blue Mountains - Lithgow
James Ruse Drive near Parramatta turns into Windsor Road that takes you all the way to the town of Richmond. A59 passes through Richmond town centre connecting it with Kurmond and Kurrajong. The road is quite a steep past Kurrajong where you can stop for a brief break to enjoy amazing views from the Bells Lookout.
The landscape changes drastically with rolling hills on both sides. The region of Bilipin is famous for apple orchards and a botanical garden. Bells Line road is quite popular for bike riders and people taking a scenic trip to the Blue Mountains. Several roadside cafes and pie shop have popped up in the last couple of years offering gourmet delights and coffee.
The Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens at Mount Tomah are worth visiting. The Garden is open throughout the week and closes around 5 pm.
The region between Mount Tomah and Mount Victoria has a number of lookouts and walks. Mount Banks Summit Walk is a popular walk covering a distance of 2.5 km. This is a grade 3 walk which can be covered under 4 hours. Make sure to carry a topographic map and a safety beacon for an emergency. The emergency beacons can also be loaned from Blue Mountains Heritage Center in Blackheath. Enjoy the panoramic views and unique landscape of Mount Banks.
The landscapes between Mount Victoria and Lithgow changes drastically. The area is more spread out and you can see the rolling hills from the distance. The bushfire from 2019 has left its marks on the trees and landscape along the road. You can see burnt out tree and backend rocks along the main road.
Lithgow is an old historic town surrounded by national parks and plenty of heritage locations. Wollemi National Park is home to Wollemi Pine a Jurrasic age tree. Lithgow is one of the last stations on the Sydney Railway Network. Historically, the town has seen its boom period due to steel production. There are plenty of heritage streets and building dating back to the last century.
Enjoy a relaxing day at the famous Japanese Bath House located close to Lithgow. Else, book a stay at Big Trout Moter Inn at Oberon to enjoy the old tradition of this interesting region.
Another place of interest on the way back from Lithgow to Katoomba is Lake Lyell which is popular for water sports including swimming, water skiing and canoeing. Lake Lyell recreational park has all amenities for overnight camping stay or a day picnic. The recreational facilities are open to the public and you can enjoy pre-booked picnic and campsites. Lake Lyell is a great location for summer fun activities for the entire family.
Lake Lyell, NSW: source: https://www.lakelyellrecreationpark.com.au/
Medlow Bath has one of the oldest and most reputed heritage hotels in the Blue Mountains, The Hydro Majestic Hotel . This amazing establishment is serving the region for over 120 years. Recent renovations to the hotel have preserved the rich architecture and added amazing decor to the hotel. Visitors can enjoy high tea and dinner at the majestic halls inside the hotel. You can also visit the bar and cafe inside for light meals and refreshments. You can enjoy lavish meals at one of many restaurants overlooking the beautiful Megalong Valley. Here are some photos from my recent visit to the Hydro Majestic Hotel.
Visiting Katoomba on a foggy day in summer is a unique experience as you can experience winters in the middle of summers. The temperature can drop substantially at night. Therefore, if you are planning a hiking trip or trekking in the region, be mindful of the weather hazards.
Katoomba's main street is always an excellent place for a walk and window shopping at the unique clothing stores selling exclusive clothing, hats and branded hiking and climbing equipment. In recent years, a number of art galleries and antique shops have popped up selling items from early days of exploration in the region.
I enjoy staying late in Katoomba and enjoying dinner at some local restaurants before heading back to Sydney.
Visiting Katoomba on a foggy day