Rugged, yet urbane. Wild, yet cultured. The Blue Mountains has an experience for everyone – here, we explore ten of the best attractions.
Just 90 minutes west of Sydney, The Blue Mountains National Park is a paradoxical paradise where you can spend your days hiking jagged cliffs or indulging at a Japanese Bathhouse – and your nights roughing it under the stars or ringing room service from your 5-star suite.
Guest Post by Richard from One Adventure. Check them out for great tips on camping, fishing, boating & 4wding.
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- Explore the Jenolan Caves
- Camp in The Blue Mountains National Park
- Ride the Rails at Scenic World
- Trek the South Lawson Waterfall Track – Dog friendly!
- Canoe The Colo River
- Play At Leuralla Toy And Railway Museum
- Canyon At Empress Canyon
- Fish In The Wilderness
- Sip Vino In The Valley
- Get Amongst the Glow Worms
Explore the Jenolan Caves
No trip to this area would be complete without a visit to your 340 million-year-old friends, the limestone caves of Jenolan near Kanangra – Boyd National Park.
Among the world’s oldest, this collection of cavernous caves makes for a brilliant adventure. You can even brave a three-day walk there via the Six Foot Track!
There are nine caves to tour here. You can explore alone, or with a guide – a ghostly one if some of the local legends about paranormal activity are to be believed.
Good to know: The caves are a chilly 15 degrees, so dress accordingly.
CHOOSE YOUR OWN JENOLAN CAVES TOUR
Set in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Jenolan is Australia’s most spectacular cave system, the largest cave system in Australia that is open to the public. It’s 340 million years old – ranking it amongst the oldest caves on Earth. Choose the tour to suit you from easy to access beautiful cathedral like caves to hard core adventure caving.
Camp in The Blue Mountains National Park
Ready to go off the grid? Tranquillity calls from one of Sydney’s finest bush campgrounds.
Close enough to hear the Nepean River, Euroka Campground is the perfect place to unwind as starlight filters through the eucalyptus canopy. It’s also an ideal home base to explore the heart of the Blue Mountains.
Take the Jellybean track and cool off in Jellybean Pool, hike the Red Hands Cave track towards aboriginal art, or marvel at sweeping vistas from Tunnel View Lookout.
Of course, being in the Blue Mountains, winter camping can get very cold! Even during spring and autumn months, you will feel the crisp morning air. Be sure to pack accordingly and learn how to stay warm.
Campers often report high levels of bug and insect activity in the area. Remember to take insect repellent and read up on how to keep the bugs away.
Good to know: Euroka hosts five walk-in, tent-only camping areas, and only basic facilities, so come prepared and book in advance.
Read More : Free & low cost camping in New South Wales
Ride the Rails at Scenic World
This private, family-owned theme park in the heart of Katoomba is a great way to enjoy the incredible scenery of the ancient rainforest.
Ride the incline railway as it tilts and snakes through the canopy, the Skyway that glides 270 metres above the valley floor and Katoomba Falls below, and the Cableway, which takes you to the edge of the cliff.
With dining that offers spectacular views of the Three Sisters, Scenic World is fun for families seeking a bird’s eye view of the area’s famed lush greenery.
Stay the Night: The famous Hydro Majestic Hotel is just a 10-minute drive, so stay overnight to enjoy breathtaking views and high tea!
3 DAY HOP ON HOP OFF BLUE MOUNTAINS BUS PASS
Want the easy way to experience the Blue Mountains? Book a hop-on hop-off bus pass valid for three days. Your bus stops at 29 locations, where you can hop off to visit mountain towns, see the Three Sisters and Echo Point lookouts, and more. Plus, you can upgrade to the Lyrebrird Pass to add a Scenic World unlimited ride pass. Hop on and off as many times as you like.
Trek the South Lawson Waterfall Track – Dog friendly!
One of the rare tracks in the area to welcome dogs, this 2.4-kilometre loop is a fairly easy, very enjoyable walk that traverses a short, cool rainforest track punctuated by four stunning waterfalls.
Take a picnic to dine by the tumbling waters with lizards and water dragons to keep you company and see how many yabbies you can spot in the crystal clear creeks.
Good to know: While not too challenging, there are some steep stairs on this walk – while it’s wonderful to do with kids, be prepared to carry the littler ones.
BLUE MOUNTAINS TOUR WITH LOCAL GUIDE
Enjoy a full-day of guided hiking adventures and amazing lookouts. Learn about the ancient landscapes, flora and fauna with a local expert guide. This tour is perfect for those who wish to enjoy the natural splendour of the Blue Mountains. End the day with a cruise down the famous Parramatta River into stunning Sydney Harbour.
Canoe The Colo River
Derived from the Aboriginal word for ‘koala’, the Colo is 97 kilometres of pristine water that winds its way from the Wolgan River to the Hawkesbury.
Home to shy platypus and partly protected by the Wollemi National Park’s World Heritage status, canoeing the Colo is a fun, family-friendly way to enjoy this peaceful place.
Enter at Upper Colo Reserve, Under the Colo Bridge or Skeleton Rocks Reserve.
Of course, if canoeing is too mild for you, you can also lilo (yep, an air mattress) your way down the river, though this is not for the faint of heart!
Good to Know: The nearest canoe rental to Colo is Penrith, so arrive prepared.
Read More : New South Wales’s Best National Parks
Play At Leuralla Toy And Railway Museum
A treat for the kids (and big kids) this historic mansion, set on five acres of award-winning gardens, is home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest collection of toys, trains and memorabilia.
From Barbies through the ages to the interactive Matterhorn Railway where you’re the conductor, the turn-of-the-century home promises a fun day for families.
The Leuralla Toy Museum is open 10 to 5 daily near Leura, just over 90 minutes from Sydney.
While you are in the area, check the stunning views from Gordon Falls Lookout and Sublime Point Lookout.
Stay The Night: Put the car ride home on hold and park the family at child-friendly Nesuto Leura Gardens Hotel (with a big pool) just 5 minutes away!
Canyon At Empress Canyon
If your idea of a perfect holiday sees you rappelling down a 30-foot waterfall, then you’ve met your match in the Blue Mountains!
The area houses over 100 incredible canyons for the truly adventurous to explore as you climb, scramble, swim, jump and abseil your way through a natural waterpark, carved between two cliffs.
Not only is canyoning a thrilling way to get close to nature, but it’s also a great workout – think Ninja Warrior, if the audience were a lush collection of the world’s oldest rainforest trees.
Good to Know: Empress Canyon is great for first-timers, but this activity isn’t without its risks, so it’s wise to enlist experts who can ensure your maiden abseil isn’t your last!
GO CANYONING & ABSEILING WITH AN EXPERT
Immerse yourself into the Blue Mountains on this abseiling and canyoning tour from Sydney. You’ll enjoy an up-close look at the natural beauty as you descend waterfalls and jump and slide down rocks. Equipment is provided, and the tour is suitable for both beginners and experienced climbers. This private experience is limited to four people.
Fish In The Wilderness
Pristine streams and lakes abound in the Blue Mountains, and with beautiful surroundings, it’s an ideal place to venture out with your rod and reel.
This heritage-listed environment has a variety of waterways and a wide range of fish species. Popular spots include the Nepean, Grose, or Colo Rivers, as well as Oberon Dam, Lake Lyell, and Wentworth Falls Lake.
If you’re looking for a longer fishing trip, consider camping in the Marrangaroo National Park and heading to the Cox River.
For those who are new to fishing, go prepared and learn how to catch more fish before heading to the streams and lakes.
Good to know: Before baiting, check the regulations for freshwater fishing in NSW and familiarise yourself with the endangered species in the area.
Sip Vino In The Valley
Few memories stay with you quite like sipping local wine as the amber sun dips below the horizon, and few places deliver those memories quite as well as the majestic Megalong Valley.
Surrounded by sandstone bluffs, the valley is home to boutique vineyards like Dryridge Estate and Megalong Creek Estate, where you can quaff drops made from local grapes, and enjoy gourmet delicacies created from home-grown produce.
Stay The Night: Many tour buses can get you here – and home – safe, or, unwind further with a stay at the cosy Werriberri Cottages, under 30 minutes away.
Get Amongst the Glow Worms
Only 25 kilometres from Lithgow lies an abandoned rail tunnel that, since the 1940s, has been home to a host of bio-luminescent bugs, creating a magical experience that’s a genuine highlight of any Blue Mountains trip.
Head to the middle of the 400m long tunnel, where daylight disappears, and give your eyes at least five minutes to adjust to the dark. You’ll soon be rewarded by the blue lights of the larvae, sparkling like stars.
Good to know: In normal weather, a small creek runs through the tunnel, so good walking shoes and a torch are essential gear. Glow worms are sensitive to habitat disturbance, so don’t touch and keep noise and light low.
LOST CITY AND GLOW WORK DAY TOUR
Go off-the-beaten track on this Glow Worm Tunnel and Lost City small-group day trip from Sydney. Journey to the old Zig Zag railway deep in Wollemi National Park, and marvel at the luminescent glow worms that shine out in the dark, disused rail tunnel. Then, trek through a fern-rich gorge & 4x4 to the Lost City. Includes lunch & Blue Mountain photo stops.
With over 800 National Parks and reserves in New South Wales there is plenty to explore making it worth purchasing a National Park Pass. 45 parks in NSW have entry fees. A variety of annual National Park Pass options are available.
In the Blue Mountains an $8 per vehicle per day fee applies only at attractions in the Glenbrook area.