A stretch of silky-green tall trees perched over a dainty blue horizon, carpeted by rocky cliffs, canyons and sparkling waterfalls makes up the historic gem and aesthetic wonder known as the Blue Mountains.
Located in the western part of Sydney, Australia, the Blue Mountain region is Australia's 14th world heritage area and covers about a million hectares of land, with its steep and beautifully positioned mountains being the highlight. These mountains get their name from the densely populated eucalyptus trees on the mountains that spread oil vapour into the air which is mixed in with the dust and water vapour, creating a hazy blue colour over the mountains when seen from a distance.
Thousands of tourists visit yearly to witness the ambient vibe that stems from this ancient site, which is home to over a thousand canyons and a National park with a yearly range of about 3.5 – 4 million visitors!
With the mountains, trees, waterfalls and beautiful quaint towns all working together to form a magical view, you will have a blissful time adventuring through mystical places. Here are a few captivating things to do in the Blue Mountains.
Somewhere on the rugged tablelands of the Blue Mountain region lie the puzzling and intriguing stone formations known as the Three Sisters. They are inarguably one of the most spectacular destination points on the mountain, with millions of excited tourists pouring in yearly to catch a glimpse. Riddled with various legends and myths, the Three Sisters can be found standing tall at Echo Point, Katoomba, which is about 2.5 kilometres from the Great Western Highway. The Sisters are more than just another historical view to be stored in pictures or simply looked upon at just a glance, it would be next to impossible to stare at these unusual and rather captivating 900-plus meters tall rock formations and not have your jaw dangle like a Christmas ornament — a totally mesmerising feeling!
- Head to Echo Point lookout for the best view and catch the stunning sunset over the Three Sisters and Jamison Valley.
- While staring at the Three Sisters, set your eyesight a bit farther into the distance to catch a glimpse of Mt Solitary and Ruin Castle
- A walk from Echo Point to Scenic World would allow you the privilege to climb the great stairwell (about 800 steps). You can opt for a ride back on the historic railway or climb back on the steps.
- There are parking meters at Echo Point, priced at about USD 4* per hour.
There are so many places to visit in the Blue Mountains; however, this is definitely one of the best! What could possibly be more enchanting than exploring one of the oldest caves on the planet? The 340 million-year-old Jenolan caves can be found 30 kilometres from Katoomba and happen to be the oldest caves in the world to remain open! Built from limestone formations, the caves are about 400 in total with 300 entrances and 10 accessible caves, each possessing its own characteristics and thus making it hard to decide which to visit first.
Good to know:
- The Jenolan caves make for a perfect wedding venue; the Lucas cave houses a cathedral chamber with amazing acoustics
- Combined tours of the Three Sisters and Jenolan Caves are available for an easier expedition
The name explains it all. This private, family-owned tourist attraction is another delightful place to visit while in the Blue Mountains, mostly because it is the hotspot for adrenaline junkies and extreme exploring. From skyways to stunning walkways, down to cableways and historic railways, there are so many ways to keep yourself entertained here.
- The cableway ride offers marvellous views of the Three Sisters, Katoomba, Orphan rock and Mount Solitary all at once – very thrilling!
- The regular entrance fee starts from USD 30* to USD 33 for adults and USD 16 to USD 18 for children.
Katoomba — the most visited and breathtaking town in the mountains — is an excellent base for Blue Mountains sightseeing as you get the best views of the Three Sisters and easy access to Jamison valley and Scenic World. This lovely and eloquent little town has an estimated population of about 8,000 and boasts of impeccable architectural designs, some dating far back as the 1800’s. This is the perfect place to unleash your adventuring spirit and there are also lots of art shops and cafes to visit. Get those backpacks on and explore!
- To get the most out of Katoomba, we recommend exploring the town on foot.
- Try to visit the miner’s cottages — a true architectural wonder.
- There are so many festivals held in Katoomba including the Wines of the West festival (every last weekend of January), the Blue Mountains Festival of Folk, Roots and Blues (March), Chestnuts in the Mist festival (from March to June), Winter Magic festival (3rd week in June), Oktoberfest (first week of October) and the Songlines festival (3 weekend days in October).
A good season to visit the Blue Mountains is in winter (June to August). Cool days and evening campfires make it a perfect time to gather the family around and have an epic vacation at one of the best places on Earth. Just make sure you are properly dressed and ready.
February is probably the busiest month in the mountains, followed by May. During this period, flight and hotel prices skyrocket, so make sure you book ahead of time.
July is the least busy month and thus prices are at a normal (or even lower) rate.
Summer and autumn (December through February and March through May) have that crispy dry vibe about them, due to average high temperatures ranging from 30–26˚C. On down days, there might be a fair amount of downpour or snow, however, these are also amazing times to visit the Blue Mountains.
Check out our Travel Guide on the Best time to visit Sydney to find out more.
- By car: Using the M4 motorway, you should expect a 90-minute drive from Sydney. Another alternative option is following the Hawkesbury along Bells Line of Road, this route takes a bit more time to arrive at the Blue Mountains (approximately 2 hours) but the passing scenes of beautiful quaint towns are totally worth it.
- By train: The Blue Mountains can be accessed by the Blue Mountains Line train located at Central Station. The train leaves every hour and takes about 2 hours to arrive at Katoomba. When in Katoomba, you can purchase an all-day pass on the trolley, which allows you instant passage to any of the amazing 29 stops like the Scenic railway, Leura village, the skyway, the Jenolan caves and other fascinating places. The price for the trolley tour is capped at USD 25* per adult, and free for kids ranging from the ages 0–5 years (however you must book them beforehand as “infants”)
There are always new things to be discovered at the Blue Mountains. From beautiful towns to mystical caves and stone formations, this is a destination that continues to attract tourists from all parts of the world.
Looking for other great places to visit near Sydney? Check out the top places to go in Sydney.
*Prices quoted are as of April 2018.