Sydney is known as a bustling, busy and large metropolis that can be overwhelming and expensive! However, many people don’t realise that just a 2 hour train journey outside of the city is the incredible and expansive Blue Mountains National park. This beautiful area is easily accessible and well developed for visitors no matter what level of adventure you are after as well as being a peaceful retreat in the serenity of nature close to the city. Here are our Best walks in the Blue Mountains!
How to get to the Blue Mountains
If you are anything like us then you like to do things yourself, The Blue Mountains is an ideal place to do that and without having to have your own transport too. Being well connected with trains and buses to many of the walking trails and viewpoints everyone can enjoy this region and get on one of the Best walks in the Blue Mountains.
Getting to the Blue Mountains from Sydney is really easy, quick and simple. Taking a train from Sydney Central station you can sit back and enjoy the scenery for a couple of hours. Trains usually run every hour and some go through even further to Mt Victoria. Expect to pay around $12-17 depending on peak times or if you get a return. You can use your Opal card too for this journey.
Where to base yourself
Of course, this depends on your situation, but if you are transportless backpackers as we were then the wonderful Victorian town of Katoomba is a great base. This is a small mountain town that also has a couple of hostels, good hotels, supermarkets, outdoors shops and good transport links to all the major sights and hikes. It has been welcoming visitors to the Blue Mountains from Sydney for over 100 years and still has that old world colonial charm. The town is well connected to the other towns of the area via the trains and buses.
The hostel we stayed in, Flying Fox, is a great little place where the owner takes a real interest in helping out his guests, cooking BBQ’s and meals together, connecting people for jobs or climbing trips and just sitting around the fire in the chilly winter months! They really helped us out in maximising our time and getting on the Best walks in the Blue Mountains.
Best walks in the Blue Mountains
Walks and views around Katoomba
Katoomba being the main town in the Blue Mountains is surrounded by amazing walks, hikes, climbing and sensational viewpoints. You can actually walk from the town right down to the ridge that these towns sit on tops off that opens up out into the vast wilderness of the National Park.
The Three Sisters:
The star attraction and most recognisable feature of the Bluey’s is the striking Three Sisters rock formation at Echo Point. What makes them pretty cool too is that if you are really short on time or not able to hike very far then they can literally be seen a stones throw from the carpark.
Think of the Blue Mountains as a huge ridge with towns on the top and huge cliff faces giving way to an enormous canyon of gum trees. These sit at the very edge of this ridge on which you can stand and take in their majesty against the vast landscape beyond.
You can then take the honeymoon bridge over to the first sister for a closer look at these fascinating formations that are sacred to the local Aboriginal community. Be sure to also walk along the cliff top trail that leads towards Scenic World and call in at the many view points along the way including Lady Darley Lookout, Echo Point and Spooners Lookout. Then also the Prince Henry Cliff Walk to lady Carrington Lookout in the other direction. This is certainly one of the Best walks in the Blue Mountains and one of the most stunning in NSW.
Walks around The Three Sisters/ Katoomba
This iconic spot is an idea starting or ending point to some great bush walks that take you down into the deep bush, jungle and rainforest areas below. There are many trails that lead in all directions from here but we descended down below the tree line and headed over in the direction of the Scenic World after doing some of the shorter cliff walks around the Three Sisters.
We followed the Three Sisters Track to the Lady Game Lookout taking the steps down to the Dardanelles Pass until it joined with the long and meandering Federal Pass that follows the forest floor. This is a long and quite isolated bush walk but one that takes you through a variety of scenery and view point starting and finishing at the top of the ridge so well worth doing if you are up for clocking between 10-15km on the trails. For its diversity is has to be one of the Best walks in the Blue Mountains.
As we approached Scenic World (A place to avoid if you want to see the real Blue Mountains) we passed by the lower end of Katoomba falls before ascending back up through the Queen Victoria lookout, Furber Lookout and Juliet’s Balcony to name a few of the stand out viewpoints. From here you can walk along the higher trails towards Katoomba Falls itself along several other viewpoints and lookouts.
Walks and views around Wentworth Falls
Another town that has to be visited in the Blue Mountains is Wentworth Falls, named surprisingly after the waterfalls of the same name!! The town can be reached a couple of stops down the tracks on the railway and the ridge line is walkable for most people from the centre of town.
The National Pass
One of the most historic, dramatic and epic walking trails you would ever imagine! Carved into the side of the burning orange cliff faces by hand over 100 years ago it offers unrivalled sweeping views of the magnificent valley below. The sheer edge offers not only some of the most intense and jaw dropping views of this beautiful place but also a step back into the history of this area. This is without a doubt the top of the Best walks in the Blue Mountains offering such dramatic views!
As we mentioned with Katoomba, this area was developed during the Victorian Era for tourism and this trail is an extraordinary relic of this time where people raced to provide the most innovative and impressive sights. Having been upgraded and improved from the original walkways it is still just as wonderful as it would have been 100 years ago!
The great thing about the Wentworth Falls area is that you can combine a great walk beginning along the National Pass where you can see the falls from above before continuing down and along to take in more view points and other waterfalls. However if you don’t fancy the quite extreme track or can’t handle a longer walk then there are several lookout points within a short walk from the carpark on the top of the ridge. Even if you do tackle the impressive National Pass then it is still worth coming back up to the top to see such incredible views as those from Jamison lookout, Princes Rock Lookout and the Eagles Nest Lookout alongside many others on these tracks. Even many of the short trails are some of the Best walks in the Blue Mountains due to their incredible views.
Other areas to explore if you have more time
Around Leura, just one stop before Katoomba on the train line, there are many other wonderful trails and viewpoints and being between Wentworth Falls and Katoomba they all join up at certain points. Over here be sure to check out Sublime Point, Gordon Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Majestic Lookout amongst many other amazing spots along the trails.
Get a map of the area to follow and also download “Maps.Me” which has offline maps and also lots of the main view points marked off.
Let your accommodation know your plans and which trails you intend to be on and look out for local updates on the condition of the trails
Take plenty of water and food as well as first aid, suncream and appropriate clothing for the weather, remember in winter it was get very cold up here!
Avoid Scenic World unless you really can’t get around the trails and viewpoints. It’s overpriced, touristy and not necessary at all. The beauty of the Blue Mountains is taking in nature, peace and quiet not busy cables cars and cafes!
Have you ever been to the Blue Mountains?
What do you think are the Best walks in the Blue Mountains?
For up to date info on the trails and tracks check out: www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/blue-mountains-national-park
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