Whether we go there for the umpteenth time or the first time, we never tire of admiring the magic of these blue mountains. You should know that the origin of their name comes from their bluish color created by the eucalyptus emanations that populate these mountains.
At that moment, you think that with all these eucalyptus trees in the area, you will surely see clusters of koalas clumped on the trees during your walks. Nay, it won’t be!
The Blue Mountains, Encounters with local wildlife
At the risk of disappointing you, therefore, the Blue Mountains do not shelter these pretty hairy beasts, the koalas, which feed only on a tiny variety of eucalyptus, and very few of those that grow in the Blues Mountains.
Don’t be so disappointed! On the other hand, you will come across birds that laugh, the kookaburras, and others that imitate all sorts of sounds, the lyrebirds!
And if you camp there, expect to see wombats at night, possums in your duvet or even frogmouths, owls with a funny look. But above all, to visit the Blue Mountains is to admire the beauty of these gorges, which can be up to 1,000 meters deep!
One day’s walk, always a day’s walk.
The Blue Mountains can be enjoyed for a day or several days. With an area of 1,436 km2, there is indeed plenty to explore! And the diversity of the landscapes will make you want to discover more and more or come back again and again.
A breathtaking view of the gorges, sometimes winding paths, precipices to climb, waterfalls to cross. In short, it is a multitude of landscapes that will give you a happy feeling of being an Indiana Jones of modern times and will delight all climbing enthusiasts.
For the less adventurous, don’t worry, you will also be able to laze around at the main points by merely enjoying the view, and that will be more than enough to be able to say: “I’ve seen the Blue Mountains, it’s beautiful.”
In particular, you should not miss the main point, “Echo Point,” which will give you a breathtaking panorama!
Echo Point is also the starting point for a 10-minute walk but not without sensation. The breathtaking Three Sisters can be reached via a series of stairs in the rock, which will be enough to satisfy your thirst for wonder!
If you extend the ride a few hundred meters, you can also descend into the depths of the forest and join the funicular for other dizzying sensations!
So you will have understood it, the Blue Mountains are countless walks to do with family or friends. You will then understand why these Mountains are as popular with tourists as they are with Sydneysiders themselves.
Just a 90-minute drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains offer a real breath of fresh air in the hot summer or a chalet feeling in Sydney’s mild winter.
Fireplaces and cozy restaurants await you in the surrounding villages. Don’t hesitate to stop in Leura for a hot chocolate before going for a walk, or to go there for a weekend for two days with your partner.
If you don’t have a car, or if driving on the left side of the road gives you chills, simply take the train, which from Central Station – Sydney, will take you to the nearest station in the Blues Mountains in two hours and a few minutes. From there, you can hop on a “Hop-on, Hop-off” bus that will take you around the area, stopping at every attraction.
Unequaled accessibility that will delight all kinds of visitors in search of landscapes worthy of a postcard, but who do not wish to travel miles for all that.
Whether you visit or live in Sydney, the Blues Mountains will be a great cool escape from the urban jungle on the coast! We’ll tell you again and again that the Blue Mountains are to be done assortment, or to be redone, of course!
Tips Before You Go
Tip #1 – Fires… Be alert!
During periods of drought, there are many fires. So, be doubly careful!
- Before you leave, listen to the news on TV or radio for information.
- On the roads, look out for the “Fire Danger Rating Today” signs, indicating the current conditions.
- Before starting a walk, check with an Information Centre to find out how the day has been rated and whether your location is safe.
Tip #2 – Don’t start too early!
If you’re only going to the Blue Mountains for 1 or 2 days, the weather must be on your side! If you can, decide to leave at the last minute, having checked the weather forecast beforehand!
In overcast weather, you can’t see the blue halo above the mountains. It appears too subtle for the magic to work when clouds and worse, rain occupy the sky. In short, to make the most of your stay, check the weather forecast first! The Blue Mountains are only an hour and a half from Sydney, which leaves a lot of flexibility in terms of organization!
Tip #3 – Leave Well-Equipped!
Equipment in-d-i-s-p-e-n-s-a-b-l-e for a hike :
- A hat
- Good walking shoes (no flip-flops!)
- A guide or a map
- Water (minimum 1L for 3 hours of walking /pers.)
- A snack
- A camera
- A vest (the weather can change very quickly)
- A raincoat
- A plastic bag for your garbage (do not throw anything on the ground)
If you come from Sydney at a time when the weather is mild and warm, you may be surprised at the temperature difference with the Blue Mountains.
As their name suggests, they are mountains! The mornings and evenings are more relaxed. Even if in the middle of summer it is hot like everywhere else, during the intermediate seasons, remember to take warm clothes!
Tip #4 – A guide for hiking!
The Blue Mountains are synonymous with hiking. There are all kinds of difficulties, with travel times ranging from 20 minutes to several days, with rocky paths and hundreds of steps, or concrete walkways that are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
But above all, there are many of them! To make your choice, equip yourself with a guide who will tell you at a glance what you want to do.
Where to get a guide?
On-site at an Information Centre like the one at Katoomba in Echo Point.
The Blue Mountains are above all synonymous with a “nature” holiday and a great breadth of fresh, invigorating air! When you walk through the forest, you will feel as if you are entering the lungs of the forest; the air is so pure and good. Whether you are athletic or a very moderate sportsman, whether you are among adults or accompanied by small children, rest assured, there are walks for everyone and all levels.
Find out more before you go!
The list is long, and there are paths everywhere in all the villages of the Blue Mountains. We won’t make an exhaustive list here, but just a few of our favorites that we wanted to share with you…
Wentworth – Kings Table Aboriginal Site
Duration 1 hour
Distance 1 km round trip
The walk itself is quite fast, but the viewpoints overlooking gigantic landscapes will freeze you on the spot.
Unusual, you will observe a large, naturally paved surface with wide striations resembling on a large scale the skin of a snake. These are said to be witnesses to glacial activities that existed between 18,000 and 30,000 years ago.
On this Aboriginal site, large shallow holes are grinding furrows covered with water, used by the Aborigines to soak their tools and then rub them against the stone to sharpen them.
Katoomba – Three Sisters, Giant Stairway, Cableway
Duration 2 hours
Distance 4km + bus back to the starting point
This is undoubtedly one of the most popular walks, as it bypasses one of the significant points of interest in the region: the Three Sisters. These are three vertical rock formations which, according to Aboriginal legend, are said to be home to three sisters (see box).
Once past this point, you will embark on a descent of 32 stairs and 910 steps! Then it’s time for a walk through the jungle, in the coolness and sounds of the birds, until you reach the funicular that will take you up the hill but not to the starting point (the last one is at 4.50 pm). Indeed, you will have to take a shuttle bus to return to Echo Point (5 minutes ride).
Note that the funicular is the steepest of its kind in the world (it slopes at 52 degrees…). Avoid it for those who are afraid of heights. Initially, in 1880, it was built so that men working in the mines could get there.
Legends of the Three Sisters
The Three Sisters, Blue mountains long, long time ago. Three sisters, ‘Meehni,’ ‘Wimlah,’ and ‘Gunnedoo’ lived in the aboriginal tribe of Katoomba.
- [version 1] The three sisters fell in love with three brothers from another tribe, which led to a fierce battle between the two rival tribes. To protect the sisters, a sorcerer from the Katoomba tribe turned them to stone but unfortunately died during the campaign.
- [version 2] The three sisters had a father named “Tyawan.” To protect his daughters from the “Bunyip,” a terrible creature from the mountains, he turned them to stone and transformed himself into an eye-bird.
Unfortunately, the maneuver made him lose his magic wand. Once the “Bunyip” was gone, Tyawan searched in vain for his wand, but never found it. Legend has it that he’s still looking for it… …and that is how the sisters were frozen for eternity…
Blackheath – Grand Canyon
Distance 5,5km circuit
Hiking is very popular because the landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful. No need to rope or abseil to find yourself in the middle of magnificent gorges. You will also walk along with projections whose upper edges overhang the walkers.
You will come across waterfalls, cross ponds by stepping over large stones. But beware of wet shoes that can easily make you slip! Nature is sumptuous, and even on the hottest days, you will find protected corners of shade incredibly refreshing.
Blackheath – Walls Cave
Distance 1.4km round trip
This hike, although easy, is composed of 80% of stairs that you will have to go down and up for the return trip. The path is naturally decorated with beds of wildflowers that you have certainly never seen before.
After a few minutes of walking, you will start to see a cave in the distance, which you will not even suspect will be your arrival point until you turn back.
Once the descent of the steps is over and you have gone a little further down, you will find yourself in a beautiful place, passing through a sort of small tunnel to discover a stunning gorge. The visit is not over yet, continue along the small brook until you reach the imposing open cave that looks like an amphitheater. This is the endpoint of the walk after you’ve landed there to appreciate the magic of the place; you’ll return by walking back on your steps.
The Charming Villages of the Blue Mountains
Leura a village in the Blue MountainsAfter the effort the comfort! What could be more pleasant than to be able to relax, refresh, and be satiated in a soft and friendly setting after a beautiful day (morning?) walking!
Rendezvous in the heart of the pretty villages and the main town of the Blue Mountains!
The main town Katoomba
Katoomba Street is the main street and leads directly to the train station. It is full of restaurants and cafes (Italian, Thai, Korean, Greek, pubs, etc.) and small shops. Some evening bands play in the pubs.
Katoomba also has a cinema if you are in search of movies!
The Ginger Bread House
For a special outing with the kids, go a little further down Waratah street on the right, and you will find “The Ginger Bread House,” a café-museum of sweets, lollipops, and cakes. Ideal for an excellent snack, especially as in beautiful weather, you can sit out on the terrace while the children play in the garden equipped with a slide.
The Cultural Centre
Art gallery and exhibitions, library, and free WiFi access in a modern and friendly center. There is also a very pleasant café and a museum shop.
One rarely goes to the Blue Mountains to lock oneself into an exhibition but rather for outdoor outings. But on a rainy day, the Cultural Centre makes it possible to occupy the day enjoyably!
Leura Mall Street is the main street and is dotted with charming little cafes and shops of all kinds: decoration, clothes, the famous Candy shop with a wide variety of sweets and don’t miss the tiny “Strands” gallery hidden on the right side of the street on the way up.
For children, the Toy and Train Museum is a good outing for both little boys and girls.
The village of Blackheath is a little smaller than Leura and also has small craft shops, cafes, and restaurants as well as a large antique center/brocante for the antique hunters.
In the summer you can also visit the open-air aquatic center with a swimming pool for children and another for adults. Blackheath also has a children’s playground, tennis courts, and golf courses.
You will surely discover other villages on the road, be curious, and stop!