What You Need to Know Before Visiting the Blue Mountains in Australia
Written by: Kelly Dunning
Want a break from the big city bustle of Sydney? Travel just two hours away from this Australian metropolis and find yourself surrounded by enormous craggy peaks shrouded in a bluish haze.
The Blue Mountains are one of the most beautiful natural wonders in Australia, making them an essential day trip, especially for those looking for a budget-friendly destination. Here’s some important info to know before you go.
Why Are They Blue?
Are you wondering why these mountains look so blue? It actually has to do with the eucalyptus trees. They disperse their natural oils in tiny droplets into the atmosphere. When the sunlight attempts to shine through and penetrate the mist, the short-wavelength light rays are refracted and create a fog with a blue tinge.
Take a deep breath in. That eucalyptus haze smells like a cough drop and is so refreshing!
How to Get There from Sydney
One of the best ways to see the Blue Mountains is on a day trip from Sydney. Most packages will include pick up in Sydney and will take you to the main Blue Mountains attractions such as Wentworth Falls, Scenic World and the small town of Leura.
It is also possible to get to the mountains via train and bus — it will only take you around two hours from Sydney. Check out this very helpful guide for details on train times, bus routes and more.
What to Do in the Blue Mountains
The Three Sisters
The mountain known as the Three Sisters is the most recognizable landmark in the Blue Mountains. It is comprised of three sandstone peaks that have been weathered over thousands of years, jutting out above the Jamison Valley.
The mountain is incredibly significant in Aboriginal culture and, according to legend, the peaks were once three sisters named Gunnedoo, Wimlad and Meehni. They fell in love with three brothers who lived in another tribe, which was forbidden under tribal law. They were turned to stone by a witch doctor to protect them, but when the witchdoctor was killed in the ensuing battle no one could turn them back. (Here’s a more detailed account of the Aboriginal legend.)
A trip to the Blue Mountains would not be complete without a visit to Scenic World — a scenic park that was once a working mine. It’s home to the only glass-bottomed cable car in Australia, as well as the steepest passenger-carrying railway in the world. There’s also a Scenic Walkway — a beautiful boardwalk path through the ancient rainforest.
The Scenic Railway is quite a thrill. It travels up a cliffside tunnel at a 52-degree incline, so it feels like you are almost travelling straight up the mountain. You can even “choose your own adventure” by altering the angle of your seat to make the trip even more exciting.
This stunning three-tiered waterfall is supplied by Jamison Creek, which runs past the town of Wentworth Falls. It’s one of the most impressive and beautiful waterfalls in the area.
If you visit during the dry season, the waterfall may be low enough for you to walk across on the stone pathway and see the falls up close. This is impossible during the wet season, as the heavy flow of the waterfall would sweep you down the mountain.
Take a trip to the Jenolan Caves and you’ll discover an impressive subterranean wonder, filled with crystal-clear underground rivers, stalagmites, stalactites and limestone formations.
This is one of the oldest and most well-preserved cave systems in the world and it is possible to take a guided tour through the caves to learn more about their geology.
If you’re looking for a nice spot to stop for lunch while exploring the Blue Mountains, the small village of Leura is a great option. It is ridiculously sweet and charming, with cute cafes, quirky boutiques and local art galleries lining the streets.
There’s even a Teapot Museum, filled with an adorable collection of teapots that have been chosen for their rarity, odd qualities or interesting history.
What to Bring
The weather can be very different here than in the heart of Sydney — it can be up to 10 degrees colder than the city! So, bring along some warm layers and a rainproof jacket.
You’ll also want to bring sunscreen, lots of water, snacks, a hat, comfortable walking shoes, and a camera.
Ready to explore what Sydney has to offer? Check out our Group Tours!