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Blue Mountains Australia

Updated on October 9, 2014

The Perfect Day Trip from Sydney

The Blue Mountains is a World Heritage wilderness that begins 60km west of Sydney Australia. The mountains are home to 400 different species of animals, 40 of them rare or threatened. It is surprising to most people to discover that they are not actually mountains but rather a valley that has been formed by thousands of years of erosion.

Only 2 hours from Sydney the Blue Mountains are the perfect distance for a day trip but a full weekend is the perfect amount of time to really experience the area.

This page will show you the main sights and attractions that are located in my 3 favourite places in the upper Blue Mountains; Wentworth Falls, Katoomba and Leura.

Why are the Blue Mountains blue?

Blue tinged blue Mountains
Blue tinged blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains get their blue hue from the oil in the eucalyptus trees. When the oil from the trees is dispersed in the air it give off a blue hue, well that is a layman's description but if you want more you can read more about the science behind the Blue of the Mountains here.

The Blue Mountains have been inhabited by the Gundungurra people for over 12,000 years

How to get to the Blue Mountains

Katoomba - the main centre in the Blue Mountains is 122km west of Sydney. There are also train stations at the towns of Wentworth Falls and Leura.

Train: The train from Central Station in Sydney takes approximately 2 hours to reach Katoomba. Tickets are cheaper after 9am or on weekends. The return trip can be made using a variety of tickets. The cheapest is the off-peak return (purchased after 9am) at $10.80 If you want to leave earlier than that the ticket is $15.60.

Car: It is approx 1hour 40 mins drive from the city. Most of the journey is via a motorway although the last section can be quite slow. Traffic on the weekends, particularly Sunday afternoons, can be very bad. For the quickest run back to Sydney it's best to leave the mountains after 5pm.

The YHA Introduction to the Blue Mountains

The Youth Hostel Association have a great hostel in the heart of Katoomba a few minutes' walk from the station. It's perfect for bush-walkers, backpackers or anyone travelling on a budget. This video gives a nice introduction to the area regardless of whether you plan to stay at the hostel or not.

Exploring the Blue Mountains without a car - Hop on Hop off services

The Blue Mountains  Trolley Bus
The Blue Mountains Trolley Bus

There are 2 hop on hop off tours operating in the Blue Mountains - The Blue Mountains Trolley Bus or the Red Explorer Bus.

The Trolley Bus costs $20 and is a hop on hop off service but you can only go around the loop once (in one direction). It covers almost all the same places as the more expensive explorer bus but which is best really depends on how organised you want to be.

The Explorer Bus has 26 official stops but some of them are multiple stops in the same town. It covers all the main areas between Katoomba and Leura and has limited stops to Wentworth Falls. Tickets are valid for one day and cost about $36 (2011)

If you are really travelling on a budget you can get around using the public bus system but it requires a bit more planning. Ask at the visitors centre in Katoomba for timetables and maps.

The Three Sisters Katoomba - The number one attraction in the Blue Mountains

3 sisters
3 sisters

The Three Sisters at Echo Point are a short drive or even a walk from Katoomba train station. They are the area's most visited attraction. Busloads of tourists flock here each day on one day tours from the city and it can get a little crowded sometimes but it's still well worth a visit. The 'sisters' are flood lit from dark until 10.30pm each night. They look equally amazing no matter what time of day you visit and even a foggy day can provide a great photo as the rocks pierce the fog.

The rock formation gets its name from a dreamtime legend that says the rocks were actually 3 young sisters whose father turned them to stone while he fought an angry bunyip. He lost the fight and the girls were forever stuck in rock. Well that is the version I was told on my indigenous tour of the mountains years ago. There are other stories floating around and some controversy over which is correct. Check it out on Wikipedia

The Three Sisters and the dreamtime story

The Giant Stair way or the Furber Steps - You choose 1000 or 800 step staircase down to the valley floor below?

Katoomba Stairway
Katoomba Stairway

The Giant Stair way takes about 20-30 minutes to descend. This track takes you out onto the three sisters themselves. You make your way down the stairs to the bottom of the valley and the Scenic railway. This walk is not suitable for anyone who is not fit. There are full details on Wildwalks guide to the Giant Stairway walk

The Furber steps are a little longer but I think perhaps a little easier. There are several lookouts that run off the walk.. don't miss Juliet's Balcony! Once at the bottom of the steps you can catch the scenic railway back up to the top. I have done this walk and it's not that hard. I would rate it medium difficulty, make sure you wear sturdy shoes. This link has some great photos of the views along the Furber Steps Track. Wildwalks guide to walking the Fuber Steps

It snows at least once a year in the Blue Mountains

Wentworth Falls - My favourite Blue Mountains waterfall

Upper Wentworth Falls
Upper Wentworth Falls

There are numerous waterfalls in the Blue Mountains but my favourite - and among the easiest to reach without a car is Wentworth Falls. There is a walk called Darwin's walk (after Charles Darwin) that begins at the station and ends at the falls. It takes a little under 2 hours to complete and is a pretty easy walk.

If you want to swim at the bottom of the falls the Wentworth Pass Track will be the best one to follow.

If you decide to eat in the area the Conservation Hut offers good food with great views.

Scenic World - The Katoomba Scenic Railway & Skyway

Blue Mountains Skyway
Blue Mountains Skyway

Almost everyone who heads to the Mountains ends up at Scenic World. There are 3 rides you can try here. The scenic railway was originally built as a way to bring coal from the Katoomba coal mine on the valley floor. Today this track which travels 405 metres to the top of the mountain is used to transport visitors.

The Skyway travels over 3/4 km across the Jamison Valley providing amazing views. The skyway has a glass floor that is opened to reveal Katoomba Falls and the valley below.

There is also a cableway which I have not personally tried yet that takes you down to 3km of scenic walkway and at the end of the walkway is the railway to take you back up. This ride is wheelchair accessible as is the first section of the walkway.

Where to stay in the Blue Mountains - You can do it in a day but it's even better when you take your time

Blue Mountains Map
Blue Mountains Map

If you plan to stay overnight in the mountains choosing which pretty village to stay in can be hard. If you do not have a car then I would recommend Katoomba. There are lots of shops and restaurants and all tours and hop on services start here. It's also home to the YHA if you are travelling on a budget.

Leura is great if you are looking to stay for a few days.. The town is very quaint, has beautiful old homes with lovely gardens and there is enough to do to keep you busy if you need to be.

There are also some great pubs or houses further up the mountains in Blackheath and Mount Victoria (The Imperial)

Leura Village

Leura cascades
Leura cascades

Between Wentworth Falls and Katoomba, you will find Leura, a pretty village with beautiful gardens, quaint shops, and a variety of cafes and restaurants. There is a old fashioned market every 2nd Sunday.

Leura is the closest town to Sublime point lookout that is just as its name says, sublime! It's also home to the Leura Cascades - a beautiful picnic ground and a beautiful short walk to the cascading water.

Katoomba Falls

Want more ideas for your visit to Sydney? My blog SydneyExpert.com is full of great ideas for your Sydney holiday

Stay safe in the mountains

Check the weather report and bushfire risk

Do not walk alone

If you are doing an overnight walk tell some when you expect to return

Always take water and food

I recommend this book for anyone wanting to take longer walks in the Blue Mountains

Have you been to the Blue Mountains?

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    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 3 years ago

      This is beautiful. It has to be worth the effort.

    • qikey1 lm profile image

      qikey1 lm 4 years ago

      I wish I had! It looks beautiful!

    • profile image

      Snakesmum 4 years ago

      Haven't been there yet, but your photos make me want to!

    • profile image

      Troywilson123 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the beautiful place...

    • profile image

      lawyer-marketing 4 years ago

      Beautiful !!!

    • kingandy profile image

      kingandy 4 years ago

      The pictures I took in the blue mountains made all my family and friends jealous. Thanks for reminding me about this amazing place.

    • kerrymc9 lm profile image

      kerrymc9 lm 5 years ago

      One of my favorite places to visit, it's close to me so I can go quite often. Great lens thank you.

    • kerrylea profile image

      kerrylea 5 years ago

      I love the Blue Mountains it is so peaceful and serene. Great place to go for a picnic and bushwalking, and perfect for a romantic weekend.

    • homeschoolkids profile image

      RitaAnn 5 years ago

      I have always wanted to go to Australia, it's that one place to go before I die. I met a girl from Australia years ago, her name was Jenny. She was here in Evansville, IN to meet her childhood penpal and I had the wonderful opportunity to meet her.

      I've never heard of the Blue Mountains but would love to go. I'm older now and sometimes feel I'll never be able to see Australia. This article has rekindled my hope, thanks for sharing and I would love to see more.

      RitaAnn~

      Evansville, IN City Wide Leukemia Awareness Party!

      http://evansvilleincitywideparty.wordpress.com

    • profile image

      JeffSawyer 5 years ago

      Its like heaven on earth

    • EditPhotos profile image

      Edit Photos 5 years ago from Earth

      On my bucket list...if only....

    • profile image

      gradientcat 5 years ago

      Looks like a beautiful place to visit.

    • Wes2012 profile image

      Wes2012 5 years ago

      I will have to add the blue mountains to my bucket list!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I've never been to the Blue Mountains, but sure would like to visit. Enjoyed your virtual tour here very much.

    • daisychainsaw lm profile image

      daisychainsaw lm 5 years ago

      What a lovely lens; I love Australia! I`ve not actually visited, but if I could I`d love to visit the Blue Mountains. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      seegreen 5 years ago

      My Grandmother's family are from Blackheath although I don't know if any of her family still lives there. I haven't visited since I was very little. I have an Uncle in Katoomba though, but I haven't visited him since he moved there.

    • Donallphin profile image

      Donallphin 5 years ago

      I haven't been to Australia as of yet but it's on the short bucket list. Thanks for some great photography.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      I like these Blue Mountains Australia thanks for the great photos too.

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 5 years ago from US/TN

      I haven't been, but I'd love to see them in person after viewing your photos.

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I have never been, but I do now I have read your lens! What a stunning area, I would love to walk down the Giant Stairway.

    • dawnsnewbeginning profile image

      dawnsnewbeginning 5 years ago

      Never been there but the pictures are gorgeous!

    • profile image

      myspace9 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens about blue mountains. thanks for sharing.

    • suepogson profile image

      suepogson 5 years ago

      I've seen them but not had time to explore. beautiful place and beautiful pictures here.

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 5 years ago from France

      Fabulous photos. I've added this to my lens about Lantana Lane by Eleanor Dark who used to live in the Blue Mountains.

    • profile image

      cmadden 5 years ago

      They're beautiful - I woul love to visit!

    • profile image

      Auriel 5 years ago

      Amazing places...

    • Mr-Panda LM profile image

      Mr-Panda LM 5 years ago

      Great lens =) This was my 1,000th SquidLike! Just thought I'd tell you =)

    • loveanime22 profile image

      loveanime22 5 years ago

      no, beautiful mountains

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 5 years ago

      Amazing lens and seems to me like location to have fun.

    • profile image

      TravelEase 5 years ago

      No I have not been to the Blue Mountains, but I will one day. Looks beautiful.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 5 years ago

      No, but I'd love to go to Australia one day and as i love mountains I might well visit in the future.

    • HomeDecorKnight profile image

      HomeDecorKnight 5 years ago

      The Blue Mountains is very beautiful to look, Amazing scenery, I like the lens.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      I would love to visit the Blue Mountains. This was an excellent introduction. Love your waterfall photos. Congrats on the Purple Star!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      No I haven't been to Australia, but it would be nice to see the Blue Mountains. Nice lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      NewUsedCarsSacramento 5 years ago

      I had never been to Australia before. But it seems beautiful. Hope to visit these mountain one day...great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Haven't been there, it's very beautiful place.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      No, but I would love to go. Great lens.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Actually, I have been to the Blue Mountains and enjoyed the beautiful scenery very much. It was about 20 years ago, so time for a revisit.

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Haven't been there, but think it's a must visit for sure. I hear a didgeridoo calling. Very nice tour of the Blue. Thanks

    • eTravelSense profile image

      eTravelSense 5 years ago

      Look over the Three Sisters was stunning. I love Australia

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 5 years ago from France

      I've never been but they look fantastic! As soon as I win that million I'll be there. Added your Blue Mountain lens to my lens about the Author Eleanor Dark who lived near the Blue Mountains and set her novel Lantana Lane there.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      I come back to pin it and look one more time to the great water falls. I didn't realize that the Blue Mountains are so close to Sydney... just 2 hours. Thansk

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      What lovely pictures - we are planning a trip to Australia and this is very helpful ~~blessed~~

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      You have great pictures... and I love the mountains. I am glad you put the map as well. Blessings!

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      There truly are so very many beautiful areas of the world. The Blue Mountains of Australia can certainly be included as one of these. Gorgeous landscape.

    • lisann-hall profile image

      lisann-hall 5 years ago

      Stunning and beautiful! I love the gorgeous mountains and the waterfalls. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • anaisfraiche profile image

      anaisfraiche 5 years ago

      I never been to Australia but my mom been there once, to visit some relatives in Sydney. One of the places she went to was Blue Mountains. One must visit place to add to your list - Sarawak, Malaysia (my home state), not that far from Australia. I left a youtube link in your Cinque Terre lens. Hope you don't mind :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Yes, they are the best. To bad I have to fly so long to get there.

    • savateuse profile image

      savateuse 5 years ago

      No, but I'd love to visit some of these beautiful places.

    • profile image

      moonlitta 5 years ago

      Me too. (I also want to visit one day)- hope it to be soon! Thanks "for the wonderful "excursion"- iyou've been a wonderful guide through Blue Mountains!

    • Cassidy Wadsworth profile image

      Cassidy Wadsworth 5 years ago

      I've wanted to see this part of the world since I was a little girl. Someday I'm buying a plane ticket. Thanks for these awesome pictures and tips! It's made me even more excited :)

    • pestcontrolprod profile image

      pestcontrolprod 5 years ago

      I loved the Blue Mountains when I visited them 20 years ago. Unfortunately I live in the UK and can't get there as often as I like :-). But if anybody is going to Sydney they definitely should take some time out to go and visit them.

    • PaulaMorgan profile image
      Author

      Paula Morgan 5 years ago from Sydney Australia

      @ViJuvenate: The stairs are a killer Viluvenate, last time I walked them my muscles hurt for days!

    • PaulaMorgan profile image
      Author

      Paula Morgan 5 years ago from Sydney Australia

      @julieannbrady: Thanks Julie, you really should if you get a chance, they are sublime!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      OMG, I have yet to visit the Blue Mountains in person ... such lovely and captivating photos!

    • Mim Art profile image

      Mim Art 6 years ago

      Love the Blue Mountains! Great lens - pulled at my heartstrings! Thank you!

    • aaron-jones profile image

      aaron-jones 6 years ago

      wow that Leura village pic is fantastic, i would luv to be there right now!

    • ViJuvenate profile image

      ViJuvenate 6 years ago

      I would love to see this place. Very like our Smoky Mountains, perhaps a bit bluer. I can't imagine the smell of eucalyptus that must pervade the air. I can't help but think what terrific exercise it would be to climb down and up those stairs once a day. LOL

    • FionaCarroll profile image

      Fiona Carroll 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I'm going soon for a few days. I almost want to walk now thanks to your beautiful pictures!

    • MindPowerProofs1 profile image

      MindPowerProofs1 6 years ago

      I haven't been there but I love to. It seems like a piece of heaven. Especially I loved the water falls. Thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      janettemj 6 years ago

      Beautiful lens!

    • profile image

      grega85 6 years ago

      It is wonderfull there..i hope i will get there oneday :)

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 6 years ago

      I will probably never get there but thanks to you I had a magical few minutes

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 6 years ago

      What a beautiful place that is! Thanks for the tour.

    • tricomanagement profile image

      tricomanagement 6 years ago

      AWESOME! Cannot not wait to see in person

    • ShazTapp profile image

      ShazTapp 6 years ago

      I love visiting the Blue Mountains. I'm well overdue for another trip, thanks for reminding me how beautiful it is up there :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What an adventurous trip it would be to the Blue Mountains. Simply love your lens and the way it is presented. You've got skills!

    • williemack58 profile image

      williemack58 6 years ago

      I my be a little bias, nevertheless this is a great lens, emerald125.

    • williemack58 profile image

      williemack58 6 years ago

      I have not, however the Three Sisters at Echo Point, the Blue Mountains, Wentworth Falls and Katoomba are all breath taking. I have enjoyed the videos, you have done a wonderful job with this lens.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      i like to visit this place

    • profile image

      andreablogger 6 years ago

      The waterfall shots are amazing. Makes me wanna visit these places soon.

    • profile image

      andreablogger 6 years ago

      The waterfall shots are amazing. Makes me wanna visit these places soon.

    • PaulaMorgan profile image
      Author

      Paula Morgan 6 years ago from Sydney Australia

      @anonymous: Hi Outback Jack... Thanks for your comments. I highly recommend visiting the Blue Mountains. If you can stay over night and take one of the longer walks. 3 of the images I took myself and the others were taken by travellers who visited the mountains with me and allowed me to use copies of their images.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Excellent lens, when I was in Sydney for the first time last October visiting my brother I saw this journey advertised at the train station. I wanted to do it but my daughter travellling with me wanted to do Luna Park. I promised myself when I went back in 2012 I would do this trip. After seeing your lens I REALLY need to go now. BTW did you take those fantastic photographs? Also thanks for visiting my lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Terrific article, I think I'll follow up your purple star award with a ... *blessed*!

    • profile image

      MobileAppMan 6 years ago

      I have never been but a trip to Australia is high on my list. Very nicely done Lens. Quite informative.

    • profile image

      Embels 6 years ago

      I spent a few days in Katoomba in 2008 and had an amazing time. As far as I'm concerned the Blue Mountains is one of the best places to visit in Australia as its just so stunning and Katoomba has a great 'country town' feel to it.

    • Marcel W profile image

      Marcel White 6 years ago

      This lens is smashing! And I can't understand why it is not sorted when we search for "dream vacation" (I checked till page 35). It should be in the first page. Congratulations!

    • Apalmer001 LM profile image

      Apalmer001 LM 6 years ago

      No, but I have a friend who lives in Australia. I'm going to suggest this place to her. It is so beautiful!

    • itgraphix profile image

      itgraphix 6 years ago

      Beautiful place to visit. I have been there once with my English teacher in 1997. First time try Kangaroo steak on the way down from Blue Mountain.

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great travel lens. Blessed.

    • theSEOmama profile image

      theSEOmama 6 years ago

      Looks beautiful. I've never been to Australia, but it's definitely in my top 10 of places I'd like to visit. The Blue Mountains look beautiful. And the The Katoomba Scenic Skyway looks like fun!

    • tcorbs profile image

      tcorbs 6 years ago

      Love the Blue Mountains in Australia.

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 6 years ago

      I've never heard of The Blue Mountains before its beautiful. I want to visit.

    • profile image

      KarenCookieJar 6 years ago

      Looks like a stunning place to visit!

    • profile image

      mavens 6 years ago

      I should visit this place. Thanks for sharing.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Love to visit this place after reading your lens. Really beautiful.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      You even have a picture of a bus on this lens :) Blessed by an angel on the labor day bus trip ~ lovely tribute to the Blue mountains in Australia.

    • SidneyMorgan LM profile image

      SidneyMorgan LM 6 years ago

      As always Great Lens. You could have covered more areas in Blue Mountains. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      The leura cascades holds a few fond memories for me, it's a beautiful place.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great lens. Thanks.

    • lisasboutique profile image

      lisasboutique 6 years ago

      We used to visit the Blue Mountains when we lived down in NSW. I remember bush walking with our oldest boy! He was a baby, and was in a baby sling....we walked all the way down, and then caught the train back! Gosh that was good exercise :) Thanks for the gorgeous photos!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have heard about this place but I have never seen it until now!!! I would Really like to see it in person, what an Amazing area!!

    • Krafick profile image

      Krafick 6 years ago

      Not yet. I'd love to go there. Looks fabulous.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      No, not even on the continent yet, but would love to come! It's on my list. Enjoyed this informative lens.

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 7 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      I have been there twice in my life. The first when I was a child and then just earlier this year I returned with my own family on a stopover on our road trip home. We only had two nights there which was not enough. We spent pretty much the whole day at Scenic World and then went to the 3 Sisters at dusk. We had a ball, despite the morning being misty and wet.

    • wildlens profile image

      wildlens 7 years ago

      Fantastic lens. Wentworth Falls are gorgeous. Blue Mountains seem to be a great place to visit. So maybe... some time... :)

    • TrebAllen profile image

      TrebAllen 7 years ago

      Another great lens emerald125! Came across this one from your Tasmania Travel Guide lens. This one is also very informative with great pictures.

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      Tony2Stark 7 years ago

      Just amazing place...

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      ohcaroline 7 years ago

      What a great place to visit. I hope I make it to Australia some day. Thanks for sharing about it.

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