Only a couple of hours away from Sydney by train, The Blue Mountains is a great getaway from the city. Iconic views, rich history and some excellent bush walks for all levels make for a great (long) weekend trip.
Getting to the Blue Mountains couldn’t be easier since the town of Katoomba is served by local trains from Sydney and tickets only cost $8.50 AUD. The train ride alone offers some great scenery as you leave the city and approach the hills. Arriving in the town of Katoomba, you can immediate sense the fresh air and calmness about the place. Settle in and rest as the next couple of days will likely keep you on your feet most of the day.
The Blue Mountains get busy. And by busy we mean bus loads of tourists looking to snap a picture of the iconic 3 Sisters rock formation. To avoid all of this, you simply get up early and make sure to be at 3 Sisters soon after sunrise before tour busses from the city arrive. This is also a great place to start your walks as the Visitor Centre is here. If you are in the area only for 2 days, you might want to do a day walk on both days. If you are here longer, consider making the effort to hike Mount Solitary or the Six Foot Track (if you are inexperienced in bush walking, hire a guide or join a group for the longer overnight walks).
Walks for all levels of experience
Walks in the Blue Mountains will take you through lush rainforest, over rocky terrain, under and around great waterfalls and along breathtaking cliffs. One moment you might be admiring a picture perfect view and the next you are walking deep in a forest that could be out of Jurassic Park.
Prince Henry Cliff Walk, Federal Pass & Giant Stairway: This walk or combination of short walks is easily accessed and gives you many alternatives based on your time and fitness. If you take the walk in the direction mentioned above, you will end the walk with a 1000 step climb from the valley to 3 Sisters. If you reverse the direction of the walk, you can end with a gradual hike to the top of the cliffs or alternatively take the Scenic Railway to avoid walking up. The views along Prince Henry Cliff Walk are spectacular and likely you will even get a better view of the 3 Sisters than from the crowded viewing platform near the visitor centre.
Ruined Castle: The Ruined Castle Walk is an approximately 10-11 km return walk (from the Visitor Centre) which will take around 6-7 hours to complete (depending naturally on your fitness level and how often you wish to stop for photos). The walk will take you all around the edge of the valley along the bottom of the cliffs to a beautiful rock formation with a great view of the entire Jamison Valley.
Mount Solitary and the Six Foot Track: For longer walks and for those who have the time we have heard great stories about the 2 day return hike to Mount Solitary and the 3 day one way hike (bus/car back to Katoomba) along the Six Foot Track. Unfortunately we have not walked these ourselves so we cannot give any personal tips for these other than that there are many guided walks along the Six Foot Track.
Top 3 of Katoomba
- Accessibility – Just a short train ride away from Sydney Central Station this must be one of the easiest mountain ranges to access.
- The views of the Blue Mountains and Jamison Valley – Get up early and head to the cliffs for some sunrise and early morning views of the valley. See eagles circling above the hills on thermals rising from the valley, Take a moment to admire the numerous waterfalls and smell the fresh air of the lush rainforest.
- Yellow Deli – No day walk or hike would be anything without a reward at the end of it. Yellow Deli is just that. A reward for the efforts of the day. You will need to visit this place to experience it, but we can guarantee no food has tasted as good as the food we had after a long day of walking.
There is much more to see in the Blue Mountains than what we were able to explore. If you have a car you can cover a larger area easier than us as we relied purely on public transport