Welcome to the Blue Mountains

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Enjoy a sunrise over the Blue-Mountains national park. Photo: Hugh Stewart, Destination NSW
 

Head to the Blue Mountains and reconnect with nature. The Blue Mountains is made up of quaint villages; friendly locals; and mountains, parks and gardens for as far as the eye can see. Get a selfie in front of the Three Sisters (huge rocks), add a visit to Jenolan Caves to your itinerary. If you’re feeling energetic, take a walk, go cycling or caving in the Blue Mountains national parks. 
 

How to get to the Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains is two hours from Sydney and is a popular getaway for Sydney-siders. You can do a day trip to the Blue Mountains but there’s so much to explore, you’ll probably want to stay overnight. You can get to the Blue Mountains by public transport, tour bus or car. 

  • Catch a train: Get yourself to Sydney's Central Station, and get on the Blue Mountains line. This is a very easy way to get from Sydney to Katoomba.
  • Hire a car and drive to the Blue Mountains. The roads are well sign-posted. There are so many places to visit in the Blue Mountains so you can go at your own pace.
  • Book a tour to the Blue Mountains so you can sit back and relax all the way.

Blue Mountain tours & attractions

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Go bike riding in the Blue Mountains national park. Photo: Destination NSW
 

I always recommend getting to know the places you visit. You can do this by booking a guided day tour or planning your own itinerary and going at your own pace.

  • There’s plenty of ways to enjoy a guided tour of the Blue Mountains including small bus or four-wheel drive, hiking and cycling tours, on the back of a Harley Davidson,  or an E-Bike tour around the Blue Mountains national parks and bushlands. 

  • See the Blue Mountains at your own pace aboard a Hop-on-hop-off Explorer Bus. The bus takes you to 29 key attractions and sightseeing spots in Katoomba and Leura and includes commentary so you get to know the Blue Mountains.

  • Visit the Three Sisters at Echo Point lookout in Katoomba. According to Aboriginal folklore, these 900m sandstone rocks were three young sisters from the local Gundungurra people who fell in love with three brothers from a neighbouring Dharruk people. It was against tribal law to marry outside your people so the sisters were turned into stone to keep them safe.

  • Scenic World is the Blue Mountains version of a theme park. It swaps out rollercoasters for an incredibly steep and super fun Scenic Railway. Instead of a ferris wheel, you ride the Scenic Skyway and cableway. There are three unique rides and a walkway that gives you a totally different view of the Blue Mountains.  

    • The Scenic Skyway has a glass floor and floats high above the rainforests.
    • The Scenic Railway is one of the steepest train rides in the world. This train takes you 500 metres down into the Jamison Valley, and into previously inaccessible parts of the World Heritage listed park. 
    • the Scenic cable car or panoramic views of the Blue Mountains. All rides connect you to the Scenic walkway (boardwalk through the rainforest). 
       


Take the Scenic cable car through the Blue Mountains.
Photo: Bernd Hildebrandt, Pixabay

 

  • Visit the Jenolan Caves which is one of the world's oldest caving systems (with 300 caves in total).  There are nine magnificent limestone caves that you can take a guided tour through. Each cave has underground rivers and lime stalactites decorating the cave ceilings. (Stalactites look like ice sculptures and are formed by the water constantly dripping.) Each cave is uniquely beautiful. The Lucas Cave is famous for its arching chamber that resembles a Cathedral and it’s often used for concerts. There are cave tours to suit all ages and levels of fitness.

  • Take a free guided walk around the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah. There’s more than 21,000 different plant species to see including the presumed extinct Wollemi Pine. The 200 million years old Wollemi Pine was rediscovered in 1994 in the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens, and is among the oldest and rarest tree species in the world.

  • Visit the Everglades historic house and gardens in Leura. This gorgeous art deco home is set among beautiful gardens, terraced lawns, fountains and a reflection pool. Walk around the Everglades for panoramic views over Jamison Valley.

  • Visit the Norman Lindsay Gallery (the famous and sometimes controversial Australian artist and writer) where you’ll see his paintings, artwork and sculptures. 

Bushwalking in the Blue Mountains

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Marvel at the Empress Falls in the Blue Mountains National Park.
Photo: Destination NSW

 

Take a bushwalk and discover why the Blue Mountains is on the World Heritage list. "Stunning" doesn't even describe how beautiful this part of the world is. There’s rainforests, lookouts, waterfalls and over 400 different bushwalking tracks to pick from.

A few of the most popular walks (in order of walking distance) include:

  • The Three Sisters Walk – an 800 metre circuit to the Oreades lookout for incredible views of these rock formations.

  • Echo Point Lookout (in Katoomba) - this 1 km circuit includes some stairs that end with views of the Three sisters and the Valley. From here, you can either head back or do the Katoomba Falls Walk, which is 2.5km round trip, and starts from Echo Point.

  • Govetts Leap Walk is 1.8km one way. This walk stars from Blackheath and is wheelchair accessible. This track takes you past George Phillips Lookout and Govetts Leap Lookout for unforgettable views over the valets, gorges and waterfalls.

  • Victoria Falls Track is a 3 km circuit that takes 2 hours. The walk starts at the Victoria Falls lookout and takes you past beautiful cascades and waterfalls and into the Grose Valley. It’s a challenging but beautiful walk.
     


Look out for wallabies in the Blue Mountains National Park.
Photo: Destination NSW

 

  • Katoomba Falls Round Walk is a 4km circuit and takes around 2 hours. The walk starts at Scenic World. You’ll walk through Rainforests to arrive at Katoomba Falls for panoramic views over Jamison Valley.

  • Leura Cascades Walk is a 4.5 km loop takes you through the rainforest for up-close views of the cascading Wentworth Falls. I highly recommend having a picnic at the very beautiful Leura Cascades. 

  • Giant Stairway and Dardanelles Pass Circuit Walk is 5km circuit and takes 3 hours. You’ll hike through Leura Forest, along cliff edges, and take the 900 steps of the famous Giant Stairway for views of Jamison Valley. You can always add to your challenge by linking onto other walking tracks.

  • Grand Canyon Walk is a 6km walk and takes 2.5 hours. You’ll walk through rainforests, over creek crossings, under waterfalls and overhanging sandstone rocks.

  • Prince Henry Cliff Walk is a 7km circuit and takes 3.5 hours. This walk takes you past the Katoomba and Leura Cascades, and Echo Point lookout.

 

Insider information: 

The Blue Mountains are not really blue. The weird thing is that the Blue Mountains definitely look blue from a distance. The intense haze of eucalyptus oil from the trees surrounding them creates an optical illusion that makes the Blue Mountains appear blue.

There's walks for all levels of fitness and ability. First-timers can enjoy a stroll & advanced mountaineers can power through the bush. Most walking trails start from Katoomba, Wentworth Falls, Leura & Blackheath. All bushwalking tracks are well marked and maps are available.


Where to eat in the Blue Mountains

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Great food and views in the Ble Mountains. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

The Blue Mountains shows off homestyle cooking at its finest, serving up the best local and seasonal produce. The villages of Katoomba, Blackheath and Leura offer a smorgasbord of restaurants and cafés, complete with open fires for the chilly winter months. Don't over-think it, just follow your nose and enjoy the flavours of the Blue Mountains.

TIP: The Blue Mountains is renowned for its Christmas in July “Yuletide celebrations” so be sure to experience an Aussie winter Christmas. 

  • For fine dining, enjoy Darleys at Lilianfels resort with its focus on slow-cooked dishes and local and organic produce.

  • Leura Village many wonderful eateries including Cafe Bon Ton with its modern Australian food and locally roasted coffee; or Silks Brasserie with its ever-changing contemporary menu.

  • The Leura Garage restaurant, cafe’ and bar is full of delicious flavours to melt your tastebuds. Try their tasting menus for a bit of everything delicious.

  • There's a great choice of pubs and bistros including the Grand View Brasserie.

  • Chisolm's restaurant at Jenolan Caves House has one of Australia's two remaining 'grand dining rooms' from the 1920s.

  • Enjoy great views and food at Solitary Restaurant. Try the Moroccan vegetable tagine or seared barramundi fillet, finished off with steamed almond & apple pudding, butterscotch sauce, cinnamon ice cream.


Pamper yourself in the Blue Mountains

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Enjoy a little pampering in the Blue Mountains. Photo: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels
 

If you’re after a relaxing weekend, here’s a few ideas on what to do in between stoking the fireplace and reading a good book.

  • Take a gentle stroll to a lookout or two and breathe in that fresh mountain air

  • Head to Leura village which has an eclectic range of art, galleries, crafts, antiques and delicious cafes and restaurants. Art-lovers must visit the Norman Lindsay Gallery.

  • Taste test the local wineries or visit the Blue Mountains farmers markets and get your fresh produce. (Bilpin Farmers Markets is every Saturday; Oberon Farmers Markets is the 1st Saturday of the month; Blackheath Growers Market is the 2nd Sunday of the month; Glenbrook Rotary Markets is the 3rd Saturday of the month.

  • Why not head to one of the day spas for a bit of TLC. Just a few suggestions include:

 


Adrenaline activities

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Go rock climbing in the Blue Mountains. Photo: Taylor Burnett, Pixabay 
 

The Blue Mountains is paradise for lovers of the great outdoors. The adventurous can go canyoning, abseiling, rock climbing, caving or four wheel driving. If you take a canyoning tour, you will trek, climb, rappel, swim and jump your way through caves, waterfalls, and rainforests. Otherwise take an abseiling adventure to see some truly spectacular parts of the Blue Mountains & beyond!


Where to stay in the Blue Mountains

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Imagine waking up to the Three Sisters. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

The Blue Mountains has a wide range of accommodation to suit any budget. Choose from quaint guesthouses in landscaped grounds to luxurious five-star resorts where your biggest decision is what colour drink you'll have at the end of the day. Some suggestions include:

  • the historic and magnificent Jenolan Caves House
  • the luxurious Lilianfels resort
  • Mountain Heritage Hotel and Spa Retreat
  • Fairmont Resort

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