Beautiful, rugged, and breathtaking! I’m not talking about eye-candy here, but about the far more satisfying and awe-inspiring Blue Mountains.
If you’ve read my ultimate Australia bucket list, you’ll know that this national park is a must-see and do adventure.
In this guide I’ve included everything you need to know about planning your own Blue Mountains day tour from Sydney.
Including how to get there from Sydney, what to pack, the best things to see and do, the best time of year to visit, and in general what to expect from a Blue Mountains tour.
This mountain range peaks for itself (see what I did there), but keep reading to find out the best way to enjoy it!
- 1 About the Blue Mountains
- 2 Distance from Sydney to Blue Mountains
- 3 Why do a Blue Mountains tour?
- 4 Blue Mountains tour from Sydney highlights
- 5 What to pack for Sydney day tours to Blue Mountains
- 6 Best time of year to do Blue Mountain tours
- 7 Where to stay for a Blue Mountains day tour
About the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is, as the name suggests, a mountainous region found in New South Wales in Australia. It has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and consists of eight protected areas.
The national park is recognised for its diversification of the eucalyptus tree post-Gondwana (when the world was a supercontinent) isolation.
The Blue Mountains have spectacular plant biodiversity and are home to threatened animal species. It’s the perfect nature getaway from Sydney!
We only spent three days in Sydney and chose to spend one of them doing a day trip to Blue Mountains, and we’re glad we did!
Distance from Sydney to Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains are just over 51 miles (83 km) from Sydney. The drive takes about 90 minutes, and there are plenty of ways to get there.
Being so close to the city makes it one of the most popular day trips from Sydney.
It is fairly simple to hire a car in Australia. You need a valid Australian or international driver’s license and a credit card.
Prices vary between car rental companies, different car types, and insurance policies so that you will definitely be able to find an option within your budget.
Driving yourself is a great option if you want flexibility on your itinerary or even if you would like to spend a few days in the gorgeous Blue Mountain area.
Buses depart from several different locations within Sydney and take between three and five hours to get to the Blue Mountains region.
The train is by far the easiest and most convenient way to do a Blue Mountains day trip from Sydney. The journey takes approximately two hours on the NSW Trainlink.
Trains leave from Sydney Central Station every half an hour before 9:00 and every hour after that. You can purchase an Opal card to pay for your ride or tap in and out using a contactless credit or debit card.
However moving around within Blue Mountains without a car or tour can be tricky.
If you don’t want to drive the easiest way to visit Blue Mountains on a day trip from Sydney is to do a Blue Mountains tour.
These will include transportation from Sydney to the Blue Mountains, and the back at the end of the day. There are also other benefits to doing an organised tour.
Why do a Blue Mountains tour?
There are many reasons to choose to do a tour to experience an area as large and as beautiful as the Blue Mountains. Keep reading to find out about the best Blue Mountains tours.
Tours are a fantastic option for travellers who want ease and comfort. An all-inclusive Blue Mountains tour will leave you feeling relaxed, knowing everything is taken care of.
Your food, transport, and times are all pre-arranged so that you can focus your energy on taking in your amazing surroundings.
If big groups feel intimidating or aren’t your vibe, there are small group Blue Mountain tours available. A smaller tour group can make the day feel more intimate and personal.
Another benefit of taking a tour is that you will be led by a local guide. Guides have great knowledge of the area and the ecosystem.
They can answer all the questions you might have and enrich the experience by sharing their knowledge. They also know which plants and animals to look out for and are sure to point them out.
Tours will often book your tickets for entrances and activities beforehand. This allows participants to head straight to the front of the queue. And let’s face it, no one enjoys waiting around in long lines.
Tickets on certain tours include entry to:
- Featherdale Wildlife Park
- Scenic Cableway
- National Park fees
Tours ensure that travellers see the very best the area has to offer. Guides will lead visitors to the best viewpoints and less popular as well as well-known spots in the forest.
They know where to take you to get the best pictures. And to be honest, we all want stunning photos of our vacations.
Tours often give vacationers an experience that otherwise would have been difficult or impossible to organise yourself. Some Blue Mountains tours end with a sunset cruise back to Sydney along the beautiful Parramatta River.
Imagine spending the day in nature and making your way back to the city, not only in style, but with magnificent views of the Sydney Opera House too.
Blue Mountains tour from Sydney highlights
Tours vary in what they offer but there are a few attractions that you should make sure are on the list. These are the same attractions that you should try to get to if you have decided to visit the Blue Mountains without a tour.
The Three Sisters rock formations
The Three Sisters is an unusual and impressive rock formation. The three distinct cone-shaped rugged rocks attracts millions of tourists a year.
The Aboriginal legend behind the formation is that three sisters fell in love with three brothers from another tribe, and were forbidden from marrying them. The three brothers kidnapped them, which then started a war.
To protect the three sisters from the war a witch-doctor turned them to stone. However he then died in the war, and no one else knew how to turn the sisters back.
Featherdale Wildlife Park
Featherdale is a wildlife park of over 2000 native Australian animals. You can expect to see koalas, kangaroos, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, wallabies, birds, reptiles, and so much more.
The park is involved in amazing conservation work to aid threatened species.
Hike to the base of Wentworth Falls
TLC got it wrong, the Wentworth Falls are worth chasing. The falls are a steep 100+ yard (100 m) drop. The best spot to marvel at Wentworth Falls is from Fletchers lookout. It’s a sharp climb, but it’s worth it.
The hike starts with an epic view over the surrounding woods, from which you can see the summit of the waterfall.
We were visiting in dry season so the waterfall wasn’t as epic as it could have been, since there wasn’t as much water as there usually is, but it was still pretty awesome.
The walk to the base of Wentworth Falls is only 1.4km return and takes around 1 hour. The difficulty is in the 900 steps you have to walk down and then climb back up.
The steps are built into the side of the mountains and at times can be quite steep. I know you’re supposed to watch your step when you walk down steep stairs but with the views that surround that track it’s pretty hard to!
I personally found the walk more stunning than the waterfall itself, probably due to the little amount of water that was flowing at the time I visited.
See the wild kangaroos
The best spot to see wild kangaroos is from the Euroka Clearing at dawn or dusk. The clearing is in the Blue Mountains National Park at the foot of the mountains at Glenbrook. Listen out for the distinct thud-thud of their bounce.
Scenic World: Scenic Railway, Skyway, and Cableway in Katoomba
Scenic World is a fun and exciting way to immerse yourself in the forest. It gives a fresh birds-eye perspective of the mountainous land with its skyway and cableway.
The scenic railway, originally a 19th-century coal mine train, is a thrilling experience through a cliff tunnel and ending up at the bottom of the Jamison Valley.
Fun Fact: The Scenic Railway is the steepest railway gradient in the world!
Lincoln Rock is one of the most popular spots in the Blue Mountains, and amongst the most photographed spots in Sydney.
Besides having incredible views, at Lincoln Rock you will find a jutting piece of rock, where you can (more or less) safely sit on the edge. It makes for a very Instagrammable shot.
What to pack for Sydney day tours to Blue Mountains
Australia is a wild and rugged country. The Blue Mountains are no exception. A good packing list and remembering essential items can make a great trip, fantastic.
For a Blue Mountain day trip from Sydney, I suggest the following essentials:
- A small daypack to carry all of your belongings
- Refillable water bottle
- Comfortable closed walking shoes are important
- Sun hat (especially for summer)
- An outdoor jacket (wind and rainproof is always a good idea in the mountains)
- Insect repellent (important for the summer months)
- Swimming costume and towel (if this is something your tour offers)
- An excited attitude!
Best time of year to do Blue Mountain tours
Each season brings with it its own pros and cons. Picking the best time of year depends on what you’re after.
The colder winter months are a popular time to visit the Blue Mountains. Although it is a chillier time of year to visit, these are the driest months. However, it is still a good idea to prepare for rain if you go out walking.
If you’re after blossoming flowers and greener landscapes with warmer days then Spring is the season for you to visit in.
Summer is the rainy season for this region. However, it comes with all sorts of perks. The trees are alive with green colour and the waterfalls are overflowing with an abundance of water.
The clouds swirl around the mountains to create beautiful visuals. The summer is also a very popular time to visit the mountains.
If you are wanting to do a considerable amount of hiking and walking it is best to go towards the end of the summer months when the rain is more likely to be less.
The rain begins to subside during the autumn months making it the perfect season for trekking. Temperatures do begin to drop so make sure to pack layers of clothing to keep warm.
Where to stay for a Blue Mountains day tour
Since most Blue Mountains day tour will include pick-up and drop-off it doesn’t really matter where in Sydney you stay. I’ve included some great accommodation options for every budget.
Budget – Sydney Harbour YHA The Rocks: As far as hostels go, this is a pretty awesome one. Located in the heart of Sydney, it has an epic rooftop with view of Sydney Harbour, a bar and fun hangout area.
Mid-range – Meriton Suites Kent Street: Here you will find apartments for every budget and group size. The apartments are modern, some of them offering even epic balconies and views.
Luxury – Shangri-La Hotel: If you want to treat yourself, this is the place to do so. The Shangri-La has beautifully decorated and spacious rooms, as well as a unrivalled view of Sydney Harbour.
Final thoughts: Blue Mountain day tours from Sydney
A Blue Mountains Sydney tour is one of those Australian highlights for me. The beauty of the area, its biodiversity, wildlife, and incredible waterfalls make the tours to this area so memorable.
Whether you’re road tripping around Australia with all the time in the world. Or only have three days in Sydney, The Blue Mountains National Park is a MUST do and see.
Book one of the best Blue Mountains tours and don’t miss out on this Aussie gem! I hope you find this guide useful in planning your own Blue Mountains day trip.
Looking for more Australia travel tips? Check out these guides:
- Discover the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
- The epic fairy pools of Noosa National Park
- 3-day tour to Fraser Island
- The best day trip to the Whitsundays
- Great Ocean Road weekend road-trip itinerary
- 2-week Cairns to Brisbane road trip itinerary
- Best day trips from Cairns
- Scuba diving & snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef
- 3-day tour to Uluru & the Australian outback
- Everything you need to know about doing a Daintree Rainforest tour
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