The Blue Mountains 10,000 square kilometres of world heritage National Park, it’s only a train ride away from Sydney and when you get here you don’t need a car to get around.
In this post, I will be writing for you a comprehensive review of The Blue Mountains in Sydney starting from how to get there, the best time to visit the mountains and ending with a variety of accommodation options for an overnight stay in the mountains.
If you are seeking a guidance or a bit confused on how to arrange your itinerary when visiting the Blue Mountains, read on this post for a detailed review of the most fabulous places and top attractions you can explore while visiting the Mountains.
How to Get to The Blue Mountains
There are two ways to plan your journey to the mountains:
- To visit the mountains as a Solo Explorer (To Self-drive or use public transport)
- To book a tour
This would be totally your call, to be on your own or join an organised tour.
If you choose to visit the mountains solo, whether driving your car or using public transport, this will give you some advantages, such as:
- Starting and returning whenever suits you.
- Absolutely less expensive than a tour.
- As an exploring freak, I tend to travel solo because this will give me the chance to visit spots off the tourist trail and explore great hidden gems.
- Longer hiking hours if you wish.
If you wish to drive your car to visit The Blue Mountains, this will be about a 1 hour 40 minutes drive from the city if there’s not much traffic.
TIP: try to head up as early as you can to avoid getting stuck in traffic and consider returning leaving after 5 pm if you can.
The train trip takes approximately 2 hours from Central Station in Sydney. On Sundays, return trip would be for just $2.70. However, the trains will be packed, so you might want to consider that when deciding. During weekdays, prices would be at $6.80 off-peak return trip (before 7 am or after 9 am on weekdays or all day Saturday), and $8.69 between 7 am, and 9am.
If you choose to go for the second option which is booking an organised tour, you will definitely find heaps of options to join an experienced guide with prices starting from $75 per person and can reach up to several hundred dollars for long tours.
When to Visit the Mountains?
To avoid any surprises and to be well-prepared, it is very important to check the weather forecast
before heading up there, in general temperatures range from a daytime average of 16°C (60F) in winter and 29°C (84F) in summer, and this what makes The Blue Mountains region a tourist attraction year round.
The area hosts heaps of festivals, key events and activities. For the upcoming event, you can check the festival calendar here.
Time Needed to Explore the Blue Mountains
If you are a bushwalker, there is absolutely a lot to explore in the region and you can easily stay for a week!
For me a 2 or 3 day visit is ideal but you can still have a good taste of the blue mountains in one day if you don’t have the luxury of time.
Top Three Attractions in The Blue Mountains
1. The Three Sisters – the most famous attraction in the Blue Mountains
You can’t miss this view!
I’m sure you’ve wondered why they are called the Three Sisters anyway.
Well the story that I’ve heard from an indegnious man in the region is that the rocks were three young sisters whose father turned them to stone while he fought an angry bunyip (evil spirit).
The father lost the fight, and his daughters were forever stuck in the rock.
Of course there are other stories floating around and some controversy over which is correct.
Three sisters is one of the most recognizable formations in the world, towering above the majestic Jemison Valley.
Echo Point or as I call it ‘Selfie Stick Heaven’will offer you the best view of the Three Sisters and where you will be able to see a landscape 300 million years in the making (that’s where I was standing when I took the picture above, sorry guys but not gonna post any selfies though because I look awful in all of them)
Back to the main topic, The Three Sisters is one of the most visited attractions which attracts lots of tourists on a daily basis so it can get sometimes crowded but it’s still definitely worth a visit.
To get to the Three Sisters, it is a short ride or even a walk from Katoomba train station.
2. Scenic World – Scenic Skyway, Railway & Cableway
Scenic World started in 1945 when Harry Hammond took over the old coal mine railway and turned it into a passenger carrying tourist attraction.
It is by far the most popular man-made attraction here and almost everyone who heads to the Mountains ends up at Scenic World.
The Scenic World offers you 3 experiences:
➢ The Scenic Skyway: It is a glass bottomed Skyway floats 270 meters above the valley and offers incredible views of the three Sisters and Katoomba Falls.
➢ The Scenic Railway: This is the steepest incline in the world. Originally was built to bring coal from the Katoomba coal mine on the valley floor. This will take you safely down into the depths of the Jamison Valley in just over two minutes.
➢ The Scenic Cableway: This fully enclosed and wheelchair-accessible cable car glides over forest, descending gently to the valley floor with fantastic views of the Three Sisters, Orphan Rock and Katoomba Falls.
You can then follow a 3km scenic walkway to the Scenic Railway for the ride back to the top.
3. Katoomba Town Centre and Street Art Walk
Katoomba is a derivative of the Aboriginal word Kadamba meaning valley of the waters. Initially developed in the 1860s as a service town for the railway, it soon became a thriving tourist destination.
Katoomba is traditionally been a town of artists and performers and there are festivals and events like winter magic to see everybody in action.
The first homes were built in the mountains in the 1870s and then developed in the early 1900s as a mountain resort area.
Katoomba, is approx 120km west of Sydney city and it is the main centre of the Blue Mountain.
If you are on a day tour, make sure to visit the three main towns below:
➢ KatoombaHome to the 3 Sisters, and the main town centre in the mountains. The town offers a variety of hotels, shops and restaurants.
➢ Wentworth FallsIf you are looking for good walking tracks. This is the start of great ones with great waterfalls views indeed.
➢ Leura VillageLeura is a postcard pretty village with beautiful gardens, and a variety of cafes and restaurants. It is a great opportunity to look through the arts crafts in traditional stores and have a cup of coffee or a meal.
Leura is famous for its beautiful gardens, and Everglades is the biggest and best of them all. In the 1930s, wealthy carpet manufacturer Henry Vanderbilt and garden designer Paul Sorenson assembled a team of workers to create an extraordinary family retreat from the city. The design features sweeping lawns european-style gardens against a backdrop of native bush land.
Decided to Stay in the Blue Mountains for a 2 or 3-Day Visit?
As mentioned in the beginning of the post, you can do the Blue Mountains in a day, but 2 or 3 days would definitely leave you with amazing memories and adventures.
If you plan to stay overnight in the mountains, then I would recommend Leura or Katoomba. There are lots of shops and restaurants, and the hop on services stop here.
Katoomba can be a better option if you are on a budget, as Leura is more like a lovely upmarket getaway with lots of beautiful old homes and lovely gardens.
To make things easier for you, I’ve included below different options you can consider for your stay, some are perfect if you are on budget:
➢ Hydro Majestic at Medlow Bath – https://www.hydromajestic.com.au/
➢ Echoes Boutique Hotel in Katoomba – https://www.echoeshotel.com.au/
➢ The Carrington Hotel in Katoomba – https://www.thecarrington.com.au/
➢ Fairmont Resort – https://www.fairmontresort.com.au/
➢ Blue Mountains YHA – https://www.yha.com.au/hostels/nsw/blue-mountains/katoomba/
Stay Safe in the Mountains!
The Blue Mountains is a safe destination and fine for solo travellers, however and as many of you know that Australia has a reputation for dangerous creatures, hence why it is recommended that you:
● Do not walk alone
● Check bushfire risk and weather forecast
● Always tell someone when you are expected to return if you are doing an overnight walk
● Always take water and food
Did I convince you to add the Blue Mountains to your bucket list if you haven’t been there already?
Been there, done that? Feel free to drop a comment below, share the post or even add to the list of places to visit or activities to do while visiting the Blue Mountains in Sydney.