Looking for the best things to do in the Blue Mountains? Don’t miss our mini guide with everything you’ll need to know, including how to get there!
One of the most popular and iconic day trips from Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a spectacular display of New South Wales nature at its finest.
This area of Australia is sure to give you awe-inspiring viewpoints, a variety of hiking trail options, and wildlife spotting opportunities.
You might be surprised to find that the mountains are actually as blue as you’ve seen in pictures. It’s one of those natural phenomena that only adds to the natural beauty of the area and makes it seem almost other-worldly.
The mountains get their blue tint from the mass of Eucalyptus forests in the park.
The Eucalyptus trees release oil to the atmosphere, which then mixes with water vapour and dust particles to reflect a blue haze. No matter which viewpoint you’re at, that blue colour always seems to be emanating from the mountains themselves.
What To See And Things To Do In The Blue Mountains
Spend an afternoon, a whole day, or maybe even a few days here if you have the time. No matter your time constraints, there are countless activities to keep you busy in the Blue Mountains.
Check out our list of the best things to do in the Blue Mountains, and be inspired for your next visit!
Echo Point /Three Sisters Plaza
The Three Sisters rock formation is one of the most popular sights at the Blue Mountains, and one of the main reasons why visitors make the trip out here.
The legend behind the landmark is that there were three beautiful sisters from the Katoomba tribe who were in love with three warriors from the Nepean tribe – the Katoomba tribe’s archenemies, of course.
When the three warrior men tried to capture the sisters, a tribal war broke out and a witchdoctor turned the sisters into rock to protect them from the fighting.
His idea didn’t quite work out as planned though because the witchdoctor was killed in battle, leaving the sisters in their rocky appearance still to this day.
Today, the Sisters proudly stand tall at 3,000 feet above sea level. They’re surrounded by the blue hues of mountains and valleys that expand out for miles on end.
You can also hike to the Three Sisters if you want to view them up close. To get there from Echo Point, take the Three Sisters Track and walk down the Giant Stairway until you reach the famous rocks.
Note that this is a pretty steep set of stairs that go almost straight down into a canyon, so just remember that you have to have the energy to come back up after taking selfies with the rocks.
One of the many waterfalls to see at the park, Wentworth Falls is a popular spot that you can get to from the Wentworth Falls Track. In fact no proper list of what to do in the Blue Mountains would be complete without mentioning these cascades!
The trail goes by Jamison and Wentworth lookouts, before leading you to Fletchers lookout, where you can have an unobstructed view of the falls and their 100m drop into the valley.
Wentworth Falls, near where the waterfall is located, is actually another little town in the Blue Mountains. It’s an optimal spot for relatively easy bush walks that give you impressive lookouts and sweeping views.
Arguably one of the most famous lookouts in Australia, Govetts Leap provides a stunning view of thick gum tree forests and a waterfall that has a 180m drop. If you’re lucky, you might spot a king parrot or yellow tailed black cockatoo that are known to inhabit this area.
The lookout can also be a starting point for a more vigorous hike that descends into the Grose wilderness.
A picturesque little village within the national park, Leura is worth visiting just for its unique atmosphere and abundance of nearby trails and good views.
The village offers a variety of gardens that are privately owned, but open at different points of the year to the public. Everglades Gardens is one that is open year round, and offers sandstone terraces, picnic areas, and views of Jamison Valley.
Leura Cascades is another ideal spot for a picnic, and a starting point for walking to a variety of other waterfalls and lookouts, including Leura, Linda, Lila, and Bridal Veil Falls, and the Copelands Lookout and Fly Fox Lookout.
What I love about Katoomba Falls is that it’s a segmented waterfall that has almost a staircase or balcony effect. The dramatic scenery that surrounds it doesn’t hurt either. It’s also an easy waterfall to get to if you’re short on time.
From Echo Point, walk along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, pass the Katoomba Cascades, and arrive at the Cliff View Lookout which gives you an excellent view over Katoomba Falls from a distance.
If you want to get closer to the falls, follow the easy circuit track, Round Walk Trail, that starts from Scenic World.
Scenic World is one of the best places to visit in the Blue Mountains, as it is here where you can enjoy the view from the world’s steepest scenic railway.
Sounds equally terrifying and beautiful, right? Okay, it’s not actually that scary of a ride since it’s a railway not a rollercoaster, but it’s a gorgeous (and yes, touristy) way to take in the beauty of the Blue Mountains.
You can also experience the scenic walkway, cableway, and skyway here, all of which provide different views and experiences over the Blue Mountains.
Personally, I prefer taking in the beauty of the area through hikes and trails, but if you’re more into a novel tourist experience, Scenic World can be a fun way to spend an hour at the park.
How Much Time You Need In The Blue Mountains?
At minimum, give yourself a half day to explore the most popular sights around the Blue Mountains. Remember that this national park is huge and it takes time to get from one sight to the next, even if you do the hop-on-hop-off bus.
Unsurprisingly, the national park is best taken in through walking its trails, so give yourself time to go on at least 1-2 short hikes around the park. If you can spend a full day at the Blue Mountains, or more, you won’t be disappointed.
Lastly, the earlier you get there the better, for crowds and the heat. If you’re doing the trip on your own via car or train, leave Sydney before sunrise to get an early start and experience that magical early morning glow to the mountains.
While you’re in the city, don’t miss out this great list of the best free things to do in Sydney.
How To Get To The Blue Mountains
Now that we’ve convinced you to take a trip out there, you’ll need to know the best way to get to the Blue Mountains.
Depending on your budget and style, you have three options.
There are a few train stations and small country towns that span the Blue Mountains, but the one that seems to be the best starting point and transport hub is Katoomba.
This is where you’ll find the main visitor center if you want to get more information and detailed maps before you tackle any hikes. Katoomba is also where many of the tourist activities start from, such as the hop-on-hop-off Blue Mountain Explorer bus.
From Sydney, take the train to Parramatta, where you’ll connect with a local Blue Mountain Line train that’s heading toward Lithgow. Again, you can get off at any of the stops to explore the area, but I recommend starting from Katoomba Station.
The journey from Sydney takes just over two hours, and once you arrive you can either choose to sign up for one of the hop-on-hop-off buses, or walk to the first main attraction of the day – the Three Sisters. The walk from the station to the Three Sisters Plaza is only 20 minutes.
If you have the luxury of your own wheels, the drive to the Blue Mountains only takes 90 minutes. From Sydney, take the Western Motorway (M4) to the Great Western Hwy (A32), which will lead you to Katoomba.
If you really don’t want to deal with driving in Australia or taking public transit, there are also plenty of options for bus tours to the Blue Mountains that leave from Sydney, such as this popular one for AUS$89.
This guide should get you started with planning your Blue Mountains trip, but just remember that it’s only the beginning of what you could see in the national park.
There are countless outdoor adventures and trails to experience that couldn’t fit into one guide, so don’t be afraid to be spontaneous once you get there to discover more history, sights, and lookouts that you might not have heard of before.
Trails are well marked and it’s one of the most popular national parks in Australia. Come prepared to hike in Australian bushland but don’t forget to enjoy it to its fullest.
Looking for other outdoorsy day trip ideas from Sydney? Read about my experience at Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park.