Everybody should do a Blue Mountains day trip from Sydney at least once. Being a Sydney local, I have made the journey many times. The Blue Mountains region is an easily accessible area of stunning natural beauty on the city fringes which encompasses dramatic sandstone formations, impressive canyons, steep cliffs, virgin bush land and stunning waterfalls. Dotted with quaint villages, local galleries and award-winning gardens, the Blue Mountains has much to delight. With so much to see, day trippers will have to carefully decide what to include in their Blue Mountains trip because it is not possible to see it all in a day. Read on for all the details …
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About the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains have been inhabited for several millennia by the Gurdungurra and Darug people. There are a number of significant sites in the area and visitors can learn more about the rich cultural heritage at the Waradah Aboriginal Centre. The term the Blue Mountains was first coined in the early days of European settlement as a result of the distinctive blue haze in the area. The Blue Mountains National Park covers 267,954 hectares and is criss-crossed with over 140 kilometres of walking tracks. In the year 2000, UNESCO bestowed a 10,000 square kilometre swath of pristine natural bush land with World Heritage Status to preserve it for generations to come.
Blue Mountains Day Trip From Sydney By Car
Those planing a Blue Mountains trip have a few transport options. By far the easiest is to take you own vehicle. If you don’t have a car handy, consider renting one through Airport Rentals who have some of the lowest prices in Oz. It’s an easy 90 minute drive from the Sydney CBD down the M4 and Great Western Highway.
Blue Mountains Day Trip From Sydney by Train
The trip from Central station to Katoomba takes about two hours and trains run roughly every hour. Tickets are just under AUD$9 each way but savvy travellers will go on Sunday when it only costs $2.50 return with an Opal card. The attractions in the Blue Mountains are rather spaced out so getting around is a little tricky. The 686 bus will get you to nearby Scenic World but if you are planning on exploring more of the region consider the hop on hop off Explorer Bus which has 29 stops along the route (AUD$50).
Hiring A Private Blue Mountains Bus
There are countless tour companies who have options for a Blue Mountains day trip from Sydney but if you have a larger group why not pool you pennies and hire a private bus. I recently had a group of friends visit from the US and we hired a 13 seater bus from Shuttlemate for just AUD$790 for 10 hours. If you fill the bus that is just $60pp and when you consider the hop on hop off explorer is AUD$50 it’s not a bad deal at all. The beauty of a private booking is that you can control the itinerary and are not beholden to others.
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Blue Mountains Trip One Day Itinerary
Once you have made it to the Blue Mountains the next step is to decide which attractions to visit. You can’t see them all in a day so compromises must be made. Here is my favourite one day itinerary …
Stop 1 – Jamison & Wentworth Falls Lookouts
Jamison Lookout is one of the most accessible lookouts in the region. Both the Jamison and Wentworth Falls lookouts are reached by a short, easy, flat walk on sealed paths from the car park at the end of Sir H Burrell Drive. While easy to get to, the Wentworth Falls lookout does not offer the best views of this stunning three-tier waterfall. Those that are able and have the time check out one of the many walking tracks which branch off the main path.
Stop 2 – Leura Village
When tummies start grumbling head to cuter-than-cute Leura for a pit stop. Last visit I ate at Leura Gourmet Cafe & Deli. My steak sandwich was OK but my friend’s corn fritters looked so much better. The space has views from the rear and the front of house stocks so many gourmet goodies it’s tough to leave empty handed. Before you head off explore the main street for a spell.
Stop 3 – Echo Point
No Blue Mountains trip would be complete without visiting Echo Point which offers one of the best views of the Three Sisters. The three striking sandstone rock formations proudly rise from the Jamison Valley and are likely the Blue Mountain’s most recognisable site. It is also almost always one of the busiest. Car parking is metered or you can try your luck in the surrounding streets. Walk at least part of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk while you are there or stop in at the Waradah Aboriginal Centre. Did you know that even Queen Elizabeth has visited Echo Point? I bet she didn’t have to battle the crowds like I did!
Stop 4 – The Gingerbread House Katoomba
If you have a sweet tooth, this is the place for you. The Gingerbread house is lined with all manner of candy and sweet treats. They also serve simple, but tasty lunches. The kids will love the outdoor playground.
Stop 5 – Scenic World
The last stop on my Blue Mountains day trip from Sydney is always Scenic World. If you are a keen walker you can follow to Prince Henry Cliff Walk from Echo Point all the way there but it’s just as easy to drive. Ride the world’s steepest incline railway, take a leisurely cable car across the valley or explore the many trails. There is ample parking and a café onsite. Scenic World is currently home to a unique art exhibition. Sculpture at Scenic World is in residence until 12 May 2019 and Autumn is a great time to visit the mountains. The art starts not far from the railway station in the valley and meanders for 2.4 klms towards the cablecar station. The 25 artworks are spaced every few metres or so and certainly make teh walk more interesting. My favourite exhibit was ‘cascade’. Make sure you vote for your favourite in the people’s choice awards.
Want To Stay Longer? Blue Mountains Accommodation Options
One day not enough? There is no need to head back to Sydney to get a good nights rest as The Blue Mountain is scattered with unique accommodation options. I highly recommend Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa where I stayed for two nights on a work trip a few years ago. After sampling the plush rooms, fabulous restaurant and relaxing spa I didn’t want to leave. Situated right next to Echo Point it truly is right in the middle of all the action.
Have you been to the Blue Mountains? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below.
Until Next Time …
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