The Ultimate Guide to the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is a rugged region west of Sydney in Australia’s New South Wales. Known for dramatic scenery, it encompasses steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and villages dotted with guesthouses, galleries and gardens. Katoomba, a major town in the area, borders Blue Mountains National Park and its bushwalking trails. Echo Point affords views of the storied Three Sisters sandstone rock formation.
The Blue Mountains is perfect for exploring the best that NSW has to offer. The Three Sisters at Echo Point, bushwalking, galleries, dining, shopping, day spas, golf, and numerous attractions. The Blue Mountains is the ideal destination for that romantic getaway or family escape.
Located 60km West of Sydney, there’s no shortage of reasons to visit this amazing landscape. The vast wilderness covers over 11,400 km² . The area is home to 400 different species of animals, 40 of them rare or threatened.
There are 3 ways to visit the mountains:
On organised tours
By public transport
The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is about two hours drive west from the city of Sydney. It is best reached and explored by car, however you can also get there by train and on a coach tour. Sydney Airport is about one hour and 40 minutes east of the main Blue Mountains town of Katoomba.
Full day walks, sightseeing tours, dinner with wild kangaroos, overnight hikes and remote wilderness treks, canyoning and abseiling adventures are all available within the Blue Mountains. Adventures can be designed to travel through varying landscapes and diverse wildlife.
Discover the world heritage National Park
Explore World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park, home of the famous Three Sisters in Katoomba. Discover iconic lookouts and waterfalls, historic walking tracks, mountain biking, Aboriginal culture, adventure sports, and camping - right on Sydney's doorstep.
Visit the majestic Three Sisters rock formations
One of the most iconic and most spectacular landmarks in this region is the Three Sisters. Katoomba area is the heart of Blue Mountains National Park. Located at Echo Point Katoomba, the Aboriginal legend behind this rock formation states that three sisters in the Katoomba tribe fell in love with three brothers from the neighbouring Nepean tribe. As tribal law forbid them to see each other, the brothers caused a large battle resulting in a witch doctor turning the girls into stone to protect them from the battle, with the intention to reverse the spell upon conclusion of the battle; however, he too was killed, resulting in the three sisters forever frozen in time. This area is also packed with heritage walks, world-class views and waterfalls, including Wentworth Falls.
Explore Jenolan Caves
With 11 spectacular show caves, underground rivers and awe-inspiring formations, Jenolan Caves is among the finest and oldest cave systems in the world. You can explore the caves on a guided day tour, get goosebumps on a ghost tour or enjoy a monthly cave concert with natural acoustics and fairytale ambience. Above ground, stroll through the bush and marvel at Blue Lake – you may even spot a kangaroo, wombat or the elusive platypus. Have lunch at the award-winning Chisholm's Restaurant, in historic Caves House, where you can also stay the night.
Spend some time in the mountain community
It is easy to feel part of the Blue Mountains community. Each village is unique offering a laid back welcoming atmosphere. The many festivals and events organised by business and community volunteers unite the community and provide unique experiences for visitors to the region. There are numerous activities, clubs and associations throughout the region. The region also features numerous government and private schools, churches and sporting activities.
The Blue Mountains is a place to eat, drink and indulge. Lunch on Leura's pretty tree-lined streets, before browsing the galleries and boutiques. Sit down for coffee and cake in an Art Deco café in Katoomba, and shop for gourmet food at Blackheath. During winter in July embrace Yulefest celebrations, with many businesses putting on traditional Christmas spreads, with log fires, singalongs and mountain hospitality.
Go mountain biking in the Blackheath area
Blackheath area spoils you with amazing walks, mountain biking and cliff top views in Blue Mountains National Park. Visit Govetts Leap, conquer the Grand Canyon and explore the Grose Wilderness
Get your walking boots on for a forest trail
Soak up the streams, waterfalls, forested valleys and cliffs of the Blue Mountains along the many well-marked walking trails. Follow the original 1884 horse track from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves on the three day Six Foot Track, or take the easy 1.8-kilometre (1.1-mile) Princes Rock Walk to a lookout over Wentworth Falls, Kings Tableland and Mount Solitary. You can also wade and boulder-hop your way down Glenbrook Gorge, on the three-kilometre (1.9-mile) Glenbrook Gorge Track, or creep up the sheer cliffs around Wentworth Falls on the challenging National Pass.
See some rare plants at the Botanic Garden
With thousands of plants from the southern hemisphere and around the world, including the rare Wollemi Pine, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah is a must-see for nature lovers. The cool-climate garden is 1000 metres (0.62 miles) above sea level and has stunning views across the area. Wander around the estate and explore the many formal gardens. The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Exhibition Centre is also worth checking out to understand why the region was classified a World Heritage Area.