Hunter Valley Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, New South Wales – Image courtesy of Destination NSW

Introducing the Blue Mountains

Escape to the world-famous, one million hectare Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, just a leisurely 90-minute drive west of Sydney.

The foothills of the Blue Mountains begin 65km (40mi) inland from Sydney, rising to an 1100m (3608ft) high sandstone plateau bisected with deep gorges and valleys eroded into the stone.

Here you can discover rustic towns and villages, bushwalks and wildlife in a pristine wilderness, all found within a series of linked drives and discovery trails that encircle the mountainous region.


What to do and see in the Blue Mountains

Indulge in gourmet treats at world-class restaurants scattered throughout the region and choose from a range of mountainside accommodation, from boutique hideaway to luxury resort.

This region offers a range of active pursuits, from horseback riding, hiking and cycling along bush-trails to golf and scenic, family-friendly rides on a cable car and historic stream train.

Must-see sights in the region, include…

Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Jenolan Caves

Explore one of the largest underground cave systems in the world. The caves began to form some 370 million years ago, which makes them the oldest open caves in the world.

The limestone Jenolan Caves is one of the most extensive, accessible and complex systems in the world – a truly memorable experience.

Named Binoomea (Dark Places) by the Gundungurra tribe, European explorers first passed through in 1836 and the caves were a major attraction by the 1860s.

Still being fully explored, the cave complex follows the course of a subterranean section of the Jenolan River through more than 40km (25mi) of multi-level passages. There are more than 300 individual entrances into this network of caves.

Here you can explore a labyrinth of vast subterranean spaces, unearthly stalactite-lined limestone formations and underground rivers.

Grand Arch, Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

The cave entrance is through the Grand Arch – the largest open cave in Australia at 24m (78ft) high, 55m (180ft) wide and 127m (416ft) long.

Jenolan Caves sits in a 24.3km² (9.3mi²) nature reserve and wildlife refuge, forming part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area on the western edge of Kanangra Boyd National Park.

Of the 22 major caves in the Jenolan system, only 10 are open for guided tours – the Imperial, Chifley, Lucas, River, Orient, Temple of Baal, Diamond, Pool of Cerberus, Jubilee and Ribbon.

Cave tours cycle between different spaces with guided tours operating throughout the day. Standard tours include Chifley Cave, Imperial Cave and Lucas Cave. You can also choose a night tour as well as adventure caving.

Numerous packages and special visits are available, including adventure caving catering to three levels, including the Plughole Adventure Tour (AUD$130, two hours), with no experience necessary this is a good introduction to caving and includes some abseiling.

Cave tours leave regularly between 9.30 am and 8.00 pm. Standard guided tours to the major caves take up to one hour 30 minutes. Tours need to be pre-booked online at https://www.jenolancaves.org.au/buy-cave-tour-tickets/.

Some cave-only tickets are available, but most cave tours come with either accommodation or dining bookings.

The Caves House complex includes a hotel, a restaurant serving breakfast and dinner daily and the ticket office. There are various accommodation options, including the heritage-listed Caves House. There is no public transport to the caves, but several tour companies offer trips.

Enjoy the sounds of the Jenolan Caves Concert Series, performed throughout the year in the Lucas Cave's Cathedral Chamber, or the annual Christmas Carols by Candlelight – an event that is hard to forget due to the superb acoustics.

The area surrounding the caves is extraordinarily beautiful with several excellent bushwalks and superb viewing lookouts in little known areas of the mountains.

There is no fee to use any of the scenic bush tracks, which are alive with native wildlife. Lookout for native wildlife including platypuses in the rivers and wallabies that roam freely in the bush as well as lyrebirds, wallabies, possums, kangaroos and wombats.

It's also easy to explore the area on a self-guided tour using the free Jenolan Caves IPhone App. The app is available from the Apple Store and Google Play Store.

Download the app, open it and then also download each of the three walks individually. For each walk, there is a map with images, text and audio files.

Carlotta Arch Walk, Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Carlotta Arch Walk – This 1km return walk starts opposite the historic Jenolan Caves House and climbs uphill on a winding trail to the dramatic, free-standing Carlotta Arch.

Steps lead from the lookout under the limestone arch to a lower viewpoint, with views of the brilliant Blue Lake far below.

Along the way spot Cunningham's skinks basking on the rocks, wallabies, and pretty little rock warblers.

The main trail continues uphill – beyond the Six Foot Track – to the Elder Cave, used for the Plughole Adventure Tour; while descending the steps takes you into the next valley towards the Devil's Coach House Cave. The track continues through this massive limestone chamber before meeting Jenolan Caves entry road. From here, you walk through the Grand Arch to return to Jenolan Caves House.

Also known as Shaping Waters Walk, the Carlotta Arch walk takes around 45 minutes return. Please note that the path is steep with many steps, so a reasonable level of fitness is recommended.

Wallby seen on the McKeowns Valley Track, Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

McKeowns Valley Track – This 4km (2.4mi) return walk trip takes you through the Devil's Coach House Cave, along McKeowns Valley to the Old Playing Fields and the Devil's Coach House Lookdown.

This walk starts between Car Park 2 and Carlotta Arch; from here stairs descend to McKeown's Valley to a trail that continues to the Old Playing Fields.

Along the way, learn about how the indigenous Gundungurrra people travelled great distances to bathe in the underground pools, which they referred to in their native language as Nadyung, or healing waters.

Look out for lyrebirds and wallbies along the track and kangaroos or echidnas at the Old Playing Fields.

When retracing your steps back to Carlotta Arch watch out for various karst features, including a blind valley, limestone gorge and the eerie Devils Coachhouse Cave. The path includes many stairs.

Allow up to one hour 30 minutes to complete the return walk.

Blue Lake seen from the Jenolan River Walk, Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Jenolan River Walk – This 2.6km (1.6mi) return walk starts from the eastern side of Grand Arch and provides great views looking back up to Carlotta Arch, as it follows the edge of Blue Lake.

Along the way try to spot the trout ladder next to the hydro hut, or glimpse the lake's resident platypus.

To make the most of this walk, pack a picnic lunch to relax beside the serene waters of Blue Lake.

Swimming is prohibited in the Blue Lake, as it's an important platypus habitat. However, you may swim in the waterhole located further downstream beneath the waterfall.

For a shorter walk, either return to Grand Arch or follow the trail downstream to reach the old Jenolan Hydro Electric Power Station and picnic area.

While here look out for bellbirds, rock warblers and lyrebirds which are often spotted among the area’s woodland. Goannas, kangaroos, wallabies and eastern water dragons are also never far away.

Also known as the Working Waters walk, this easy walk is suitable for almost everyone, all year round. Allow one hour 30 minutes hours to complete.

Devil's Coach House Lookdown – This strenuous 750m return trail winds up the hill to a spectacular lookout with views overlooking the Devils Coach House Cave and McKeowns Valley below. Allow 30 minutes for the return walk.

Hiking the Six Foot Track, Blue Mountains, NSW

The Six Foot Track – This 46km (28mi) historic trail stretches between Jenolan Caves and Katoomba, passing through state forests and Blue Mountains National Park.

Following an 1884 heritage horse track from Katoomba, this challenging walk takes you past cascading waterfalls and wild rivers into the Megalong Valley and village, before crossing a unique swing bridge, climbing the range, and arriving at Jenolan Caves.

The challenging three-day hike can be taken in either direction and takes in heritage sites, heath, woodlands and rainforest with opportunities for overnight camping.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to complete the entire walk, shorter sections can be undertaken individually.

The Six Foot Track is famous as the setting of Australia's premier trail marathon: The Six Foot Track Marathon.

Described as 'the toughest marathon in Australia, if not the world' the race is held each March in the Blue Mountains. The race is Australia's 5th largest marathon and attracts more than 850 entrants each year.

The gruelling race was launched in March 1984 to mark the centenary of the opening of this historic track. Since the first race, which fielded a mere seven runners, the event has attracted much acclaim for its toughness, its stunning scenery, challenging conditions and great camaraderie. The event now attracts a field of local, national and international entrants.

The Jenolan Caves are located 175km (108mi) west of Sydney via the M4 Great Western Highway. The route comprises 129km (80mi) on the highway and 46km (28mi) on the Jenolan Caves Road. The caves are 793m (2600ft) above sea level.


Kanangra Walls Lookout, Blue Mountains, NSW

Kanangra-Boyd National Park

Covering an area of 686km² (265mi²), this national park includes several notable features including the Thurat Spires, Kanangra Walls, Mount Colong, and three waterfall systems – the Kalang, the 225m (738ft) two–tiered drop Kanangara and the Morong falls.

Kanangra-Boyd National Park is situated approximately 180km (110mi) south-west of Sydney and is contiguous with the Blue Mountains National Park and the Nattai National Park.

The area offers a wide range of bushwalking and caving opportunities, including…

View from Kanangra Walls Lookout, Blue Mountains, NSW

Kanangra Walls Walk – This 3.2km (2mi) return trail in Kanangra-Boyd National Park follows an exposed spine of ancient rocks with marvellous views of Kanangra Deep, Kanangra Walls and Thurat Spires.

In the depths of the gorge, try to spot one of the Australia’s few native deciduous trees, the Australian red cedar – it has new red growth in late spring.

Look out also for the numerous small birds, such as the flame robin, which inhabit the heath and forest, which are most visible during early morning or late afternoon.

The views from the Kanangra Walls Lookout towards the Grand Gorge and across to Mount High and Mighty, Mount Stormbreaker and Mount Cloudmaker are some the best in the Blue Mountains.

Difficulty of access has ensured that they are not as popular as the famous lookouts at Katoomba, Blackheath and Leura.

Kanangra Walls lies 29km (18mi) beyond the Jenolan Caves in an area which has been largely untouched by tourism.

Plateau Walk – Located just before the main lookout, this walk leads onto the heath-covered Kanangra Tops Plateau with magnificent views. It is possible to continue on this walk to reach Katoomba and Narrow Neck. Allow up to three hours to complete the return walk.

Camping is available on the banks of Morong Creek, at the Boyd River campground, located on Kanangra Road.

Kanangra Lookout, Kanangra-Boyd National Park, Blue Mountains, NSW

Kanangra Lookout Walk – This easy and wheelchair accessible 30 minute return walk leads to the first lookout with views overlooking the gorges of Kanangra Creek and beyond to Mt Cloudmaker and the Blue Mountains escarpment.

The car park at the end of the Kanangra Walls Rd provides a map of the trails through to area, a covered picnic table and a long-drop toilet. From the parking follow a wheelchair-friendly walk path which brings you to Kanangra Wall Lookout.

The second lookout overlooks rugged ravines at the head of the gorges and Kanangra Falls.

Kalang Falls, Kanangra-Boyd National Park, Blue Mountains, NSW

Kalang Falls Walk – This 1.6km (1mi) return walk is accessible from the Lookout Walk, and descends into a gully where the 28m (91ft) high Kalang Falls cascades down into a deep pool.

From the Kanangra Walls Lookout descend the steep staircase to the base of the falls, with stunning views along the way.

The walk to the falls takes about 20 minutes; the walk back is harder due to up-hill section and takes around 40 minutes.

Mountain-biking the Boyd River loop, Kanangra-Boyd National Park, Blue Mountains, NSW

Boyd River loop – Enjoy the perfect cycling adventure on this 21km (13mi) ride that follows fire trails and roads in Kanangra-Boyd National Park.

Starting in the campground at Boyd River, this loop circuit takes riders south along Kanangra Walls Road before heading off down Morong Creek fire trail.

After crossing Hanrahans Creek, the Morong Falls fire trail – a 7.3km (4.5mi) return detour – takes you to Morong Falls and a beautiful natural swimming hole that is perfect spot to cool off on a hot day.

Returning to Morong Creek fire trail, there’s a wet crossing over Morong Creek before following the Boyd River fire trail back to Kanangra Walls Road. A gentle coast downhill takes you back to Boyd River campground. Allow two hours to complete the circuit.

Kanangra-Boyd National Park can be accessed either from Oberon or Jenolan Caves, along the Kanangra Walls Road.


View of the Three Sisters from Echo Point Lookout, Katoomba

Katoomba

Head to Echo point to see the stunning rock formation known as the Three Sisters, overlooking the Jamison Valley.

Ride the Scenic World Skyway, a 7km (4.3mi) cable car ride through magnificent scenery, take a guided bushwalk or learn to abseil.

Check out the Carrington Hotel, built in 1882 and an elegant reminder of a bygone era, and enjoy hand made chocolates or coffee and pastries at one of the charming Art Deco cafés.

Don’t miss the Blue Mountains Festival in March, featuring folk and blues music; the Winter Magic Festival and Yulefest, celebrated throughout the Blue Mountains villages in June; and the Spring Gardens Festival, held from September to November.

Katoomba is the largest settlement in the Blue Mountains, and is located 102km (63mi) from Sydney via the Great Western Highway.

There are numerous walking trails in the Katoomba area, including…

View of the Three Sisters from Echo Point Lookout, Katoomba

Echo Point – Perched on the edge of the escarpment, Echo Point's cliff top viewing platform offers panoramic views of the Jamison Valley and the iconic Three Sisters.

A short 1km wheelchair-friendly walk leads to the viewing platform.

Note: It's best to arrive early or late to avoid the numerous tour buses from Sydney. Echo Point is also the location of the Blue Mountains Visitor Information Centre.

Echo Point is the gateway to several walks, from the easy pathway out to the Three Sisters to the more challenging Giant Stairway that descends almost 1000 steps to the valley floor below.

Dardanelles Pass Circuit Walk, Jamison Valley, Blue Mountains National Park

Dardanelles Pass Track – This challenging 5.3km (3.3mi) circuit walk offers scenic views of the Three Sisters and of the Jamison Valley in Blue Mountains National Park.

From Echo Point lookout the trail descends the Giant Stairway – more than 900 stairs – into a dense canopy of magnificent coachwood, sassafrass and lilly pilly.

Located at the base of the cliffs Leura Forest is the perfect spot for a picnic, with tables and shelters nestled amid the beauty.

The trail continues along Dardanelles Pass, where a crystal clear creek leads to the picturesque Marguerite Cascades. From here you can take Fern Bower track back out of the valley, and then enjoy the breathtaking views of Prince Henry Cliff walk as you stroll back to Echo Point.

The trail runs parallel to the Federal Pass Walking Track but closer to the cliffs. It was built by Council Ranger Jim McKay in 1915 to commemorate Australian involvement in World War I and the Dardanelles campaign.

Allow up to four hours to complete the walk.

View of the Honeymoon Bridge Lookout on Three Sisters Walk, Katoomba

Three Sisters walk – This family-friendly walk allows you to take in the ever-changing views of the grand Three Sisters, rising nearly a kilometre above sea level and the Blue Mountains' most famous geological formation.

The Three Sisters are part of an eroded plateau formed of sandstone during the Triassic period. A 500m trail from Echo Point lookout platform leads to several more lookouts and a bridge across to the first Sister.

After passing through the archway, next to the Echo Point Visitor Centre, you'll soon find yourself surrounded by soaring eucalypt forest, bird calls and fresh mountain air.

Watch out for the lyrebird and crimson rosellas as you walk the gently sloping path for 400m to Oreades lookout, from where you can admire the incredible views of the Three Sisters' weather-eroded sandstone turrets, and the hazy, blue-tinted Jamison Valley stretching to Mount Solitary.

From here, steps lead a further 50m to Lady Game lookout. A short but very steep set of stairs at the top of the Giant Stairway leads to Honeymoon Bridge (photo), which connects to the first sister.

On the way back, enjoy the short signposted detour to Spooners lookout. If you’re feeling energetic, there are plenty of longer walks nearby.

According to the Gundungurra Dreamtime story, the origin of the formation relates to three sisters who ran away from their tribe to meet up with three men. They were chased by a tribal elder but their father, who was in the Jamieson Valley, put a spell on them and they turned into stone.

Unfortunately he dropped the stick he had used to turn them into stone. The furious tribal elder then turned the father into a lyrebird. So, to this day, the three sisters remain locked forever in stone and the father, in the shape of a lyrebird, goes scratching around the valley floor endlessly looking for his dropped stick.

Prince Henry Cliff Walk, Katoomba

Prince Henry Cliff Walk – This 7km (4.3mi) one-way track follows the cliff edge from Katoomba Cascades to Gordon Falls in Blue Mountains National Park.

The walk boasts magnificent views, panoramic lookouts, and iconic scenery regarded as some of the best in NSW.

With more than 20 lookouts offering magnificent views of Jamison Valley and three waterfalls, this track is a visual delight at any time of year. From Echo Point lookout, you’ll see the iconic Three Sisters.

The track passes several unique hanging swamps. In summer, you may spot the beautiful yellow and gold flowers of Christmas bells.

By picking up the track at various lookouts along Cliff Drive you can easily choose the length of your walk. When you’ve found the perfect spot enjoy a picnic lunch with a million-dollar view.

Allow three to four hours to complete the route, depending on your preference.

Federal Pass Walking Track – This trail follows the floor of the Jamieson Valley. You can either begin the walk from the Scenic Railway and proceed around the valley floor under the Three Sisters or from the Giant Stairway at the Three Sisters and continue around past the Scenic Railway and beyond.

Furber Steps-Scenic Railway walk, Blue Mountains

Furber Steps-Scenic Railway track – This steep 2.4km (1.5mi) return track offers scenic views, waterfalls, birdwatching, a visit to Katoomba Falls, and the chance to ride the Scenic Railway.

This popular track descends into Jamison Valley through a world of lush rainforest and cascading waterfalls with views across to the majestic Mount Solitary rising out of the valley floor.

Explore the lush valley on a number of short detours, taking time for a picnic beside the tumbling waters of Katoomba Falls.

The opportunity to take the world-famous Scenic Railway or Scenic Cableway back to the top might just be too irresistible. However, if you’re after more heart-pumping action, return back up the stairs.

Allow up to two hours to complete the walk.

Giant Stairway, Jamison Valley, Blue Mountains National Park

Echo Point to Scenic World via Giant Stairway – This challenging 4.7km one-way track from Echo Point lookout to Scenic World via Giant Stairway takes you through the scenic Jamison Valley in Blue Mountains National Park.

Enjoy a picnic amid the fresh mountain air and marvel at the scenic vista before descending the valley via the 800-plus steel and stone steps, originally constructed in 1909.

Along the way gaze up at the fabulous Three Sisters. From here it’s an easy stroll along Federal Pass to Katoomba Falls.

Allow up to three hours to complete the walk.

Scenic Skyway, Scenic World, Blue Mountains National Park

Scenic World – The region's premier tourist attraction comprises a skyway, railway, cableway and walkway each of which can be experienced individually or a ticket can be purchased for all four activities.

Scenic World is located on the corner of Violet Street and Cliff Drive close to Katoomba's town centre.

Scenic Skyway – Ride the aerial cable car some 270m (885ft) above the valley floor and enjoy views of the Katoomba Falls and Orphan Rock through the glass-bottomed cabin.

Scenic Railway, Scenic World, Blue Mountains National Park

Scenic Railway – Originally built in the 1880s by the local coal mining company to ferry miners down the cliff face to work in the valley. It’s the steepest railway of its kind in the world and tilts at 52 degrees.

Today you can experience the 415m (1361ft) descent into the Jamison Valley inside a glass-roofed carriage. The train operates every ten minutes.

Scenic Walkway – Experience this rainforest walk along the 2.4km (1.5mi) elevated boardwalk that sits at the bottom of the scenic railway.

Scenic Cableway – After walking through the rainforest you may return to the top of the escarpment either by the scenic railway or by the 545m (1788fy) Cableway.

The cable car has a capacity of 84 passengers and offers dramatic views over the Jamieson Valley.

Narrow Neck trail, Blue Mountains

Narrow Neck trail – This challenging cycling and walking adventure is recommended for experienced mountain-bike riders and self-sufficient hikers.

The 19km (11.8mi) return route crosses the isolated Narrow Neck peninsula. Starting from the locked gate 2km (1.2mi) along the unsealed Narrow Neck Road, the trail stretches along the plateau to Clear Hill, along the way passing through open forest, heath and swamplands with wildflowers and breathtaking views at every turn.

At its narrowest point, the cliffs fall away on either side of the trail, with the Jamison Valley on one side and Megalong Valley on the other. At the end of the trail, views stretching across to the Wild Dog Mountains, Kanangra Wilderness, and part of Lake Burragorang.

Narrow Neck is a paradise for birds: banksias and other nectar-producing plants make the shrub and heathlands a favourite breeding site for honeyeaters including the eastern spinebill and New Holland honeyeater.

In spring and autumn you might see migrating yellow-faced honeyeaters, or wedge-tailed eagles performing their figure-eight courtship dance high above the valley.

Allow four hours to cycle and longer to hike. Long-distance walkers can also tackle Narrow Neck as part of the 45km (28mi) Katoomba to Kanangra hike.

Cliff Drive – Admire the panoramic and ever-changing vistas across the Jamieson valley on this scenic drive as it winds around cliff edges from Peckmans Plateau Lookout to Katoomba and beyond to Leura.

The drive offers different points of view on the Three Sisters, the Ruined Castle and Mount Solitary. There also a number of excellent picnic spots along the way.


Discover the best hotel accommodation in Katooma – find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say at TripAdvisor.


Tulips in Leura, Blue Mountains, NSW

Leura

Meander down Leura’s pretty tree-lined main street and explore the town’s lovely parks and gardens.

Browse fashion boutiques, bric-a-brac stores and art galleries in what’s often regarded as the most sophisticated and urbane village in the Blue Mountains.

Or follow bush tracks that lead to stunning mountain and valley views. Don’t miss the short 2km (1.2mi) walk to Gordon Falls Reserve for stunning views over Gordon Falls and the Jamison Valley.

Leura is located 99km (61mi) west of Sydney via the Great Western Highway.

Some of the best walking trails in the area include…

Leura Cascades, Leura, Blue Mountains

Leura Cascades Walk – This short and scenic 1.6km (1mi) return bushwalk follows Leura Falls Creek to the pretty Leura Cascades.

Sit under the overhang and watch as the falls cascade down around you, then climb up to Majestic Lookout for great views of the Leura cliffline.

A couple of bridges sit just below Leura Cascades allowing you to get up close to the creek. Much of the track near the cascades has handrails and the bridges are fenced. One bridge leads to a sandstone cave next to the pool and falls, a great place to enjoy the small section of canyon.

Located above Leura Cascades, the lookout provides scenic views out through the top of the valley, with Mount Solitary framed by the cliff line.

The closest access to the lookout is from Leura Cascades picnic area, which is a open area beside Cliff Drive, with Leura Cascades Creek running through the middle.

Facilities include toilets and picnic tables as well as information signs and maps of the area. There is also plenty of shade from some large pine trees.

Leura Fern Bower circuit walk, Blue Mountains

Leura Cascades Fern Bower circuit – This moderately challenging 4.5km (2.8mi) loop track offers spectacular waterfalls and gorgeous scenic views of the Jamison Valley.

From the Leura Cascades picnic area, the trail passes through a stone arch and descends the stairs alongside Leura Falls Creek. From there it crosses the Prince Henry Cliff Walk at the foot bridge, and turns right downstream.

Along the way several vantage points offer views overlooking the cascades before reaching the lookout, with views over the Jamison Valley at the top of the Bridal Veil Falls.

The track continues with steps ascending along the western cliff line to the Amphitheatre Track. The track then descends the side of the cliff (photo) into Leura Forest passing through stands of eucalypts on the way to the Jamieson Valley.

Listen for the call of the catbird or wompa pigeon.

The track continues downstream for 100m, before ascending some steep stairs then traversing the half-way ledge to a natural amphitheatre. The track intersects with Fern Bower track, where you may climb steps back to Prince Henry Cliff Walk.

The last section offers several side trails to rock formations, overhangs and lookouts. From the bridge, visitors can retrace their original route back to the picnic area.

Allow up to three hours to complete the walk.

Gordon Falls Lookout, Blue Mountains

Gordon Falls lookout – With sweeping views, excellent birdwatching, bush walking and a playground for the kids, the Gordon Falls lookout and picnic area is a popular spot for a day-trip.

From the lookout, the waterfall plunges over a 200m (656ft) drop, with impressive views of Mount Solitary and Kings Tableland.

Look to the skies for peregrine falcons circling high on valley thermals. Closer to ground, lyrebirds are often seen foraging in the forest litter.

From here, there’s no shortage of walks including Lyrebird Dell - Pool of Siloam.

Lyrebird Dell and Pool of Siloam Circuit Walk, Blue Mountains

Lyrebird Dell and Pool of Siloam Circuit Walk – This 2km (1.2mi) loop walking track leads through spectacular gorge country to a unique cave site of Aboriginal significance.

This medium difficulty track starts at Gordon Falls picnic area, and explores the lush escarpment near Leura.

This trail descends a steep set of stairs into Gordon Creek, through a small fern-filled canyon dotted with hanging swamps, before arriving at Pool of Siloam.

From here, follow the winding trail up the creek to Lyrebird Dell and the large sandstone cave that has a long association with the traditional Aboriginal land owners of the area.

Along the way, look out for silvereyes or mistelle toe birds flitting through the undergrowth. Lyrebirds are often seen scratching through the leaf litter.

Allow up to one hour 30 minutes to complete the walk.

Sublime Point Lookout, Blue Mountains

Sublime Point Lookout – This lookout is at the end of an easy 20 minute walk.

A popular spot for picnicking, birdwatching and rock climbing, the lookout offers sensational scenic views of the Jamison Valley and across to The Three Sisters and Mount Solitary.

Located southeast of Leura, this sharp, triangular outcrop narrows to a dramatic lookout with sheer cliffs on each side.

The sheer cliffs attract experienced rock climbers, who are often seen tackling climbs including ‘Hells Bells’ and ‘Sweet Dreams’.


Discover the best hotel accommodation in Leura – find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say at TripAdvisor.


Megalong Valley, New South Wales

Megalong Valley

Best seen from the escarpment at the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath.

From here you can appreciate the thick eucalypt forests and the route of Cox's River as it passes through the valley with the spectacular sandstone cliffs receding into the distance.

Pack a hamper and picnic by the Cox’s River at the Old Ford Reserve, alongside Megalong Creek; go horseback riding in the Megalong Valley; hike the historic Six Foot Track; then relax over a scrumptious Devonshire tea in the Megalong tearooms. Don’t miss visiting the Megalong Australian Heritage Centre.


Upper Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains

Wentworth Falls

Wander past the town’s historic buildings, galleries and specialty shops, play a round of gold in the crisp mountain air or follow trails into the Blue Mountains National Park.

Don’t miss the walking track from Wentworth Falls Reserve to the Princes Lookout for great views of Wentworth Falls and the Jamison Valley.

Dine in the imposing Grandview Hotel, one of 13 History Highway Inns in the Blue Mountains and later do some stargazing from the Kings Tableland Observatory.

Wentworth Falls Reserve – The falls that lend the town its name launch a plume of spray over a 300m (984ft) drop. This is the starting point of several walking tracks that explore the Valley of the Waters, with waterfalls, gorges, woodlands and rainforests.

Be sure to stretch your legs along the 1km return to Princes Rock, which offers excellent views of Wentworth Falls and the Jamison Valley.

The reserve is 2.5km (1.5mi) from Wentworth Falls Station on the other side of the highway.

Overcliff-Undercliff track in the Blue Mountains

Overcliff-Undercliff track – This 3.5km (2.1) loop track near Wentworth Falls combines scenic clifftops, rainforest and birdwatching.

Starting from the Wentworth Falls picnic area the trail follows the cliff edge to the scenic Valley of the Waters. Along the way experience exposed clifftops and large rock overhangs, swamp, heath and lush rainforest, with wonderful views across Jamison Valley.

In the warmer months, the area erupts into a dazzling display of wildflowers, including the vibrant red and yellow Christmas bells.

Undercliff track joins Overcliff track at Den Fenella track junction.

You can round off your walk by following Overcliff track to Lyrebird lookout, then climb the steps to Conservation Hut. From here you can take Shortcut track to get back to Wentworth Falls picnic area.

Allow up to two hours to complete the walk.


Blackheath, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Blackheath

Enjoy the Blue Mountains' experience in the region’s highest town, offering fresh air, brisk walks, fine dining at superb restaurants and quaint, quality accommodation.

Stroll around the village to discover a treasure trove of antique shops or follow one of the many walking trails for an exhilarating or easy bushwalk.

Play a round of golf on the tree-lined fairways of Blackheath Golf Club, horseback ride through the Centennial Glen and Megalong Valley, shop for gourmet food in one of the delicatessens, enjoy a picnic at Perry's Lookdown; and admire the spectacular views across the rolling expanse of World Heritage-listed wilderness from Hargreaves Lookout, Govett’s Leap or Evans Lookout.

Blackheath is located around 112km (70mi) north-west of Sydney.

Evans Lookout, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Evans Lookout – Experience a magnificent perspective of sandstone cliffs dropping into the valley and canyon below from one of the most scenic of the Blue Mountains lookouts.

Located 4km (2.4mi) from the highway in Blackheath, it's also a trailhead for the Grand Canyon Walk.

Grand Canyon Walk, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Grand Canyon Walk – Starting out from Evans Lookout this challenging 6.3km (3.9mi) circuit trail takes you into the heart of this World Heritage-listed landscape.

The well-shaded trail meanders through luscious native vegetation of ferns and golden wattles, and remains close to Greaves Creek. Along the way discover sandstone walls, waterfalls, abundant native plants and scenic views.

Allow three to four hours to complete this walk.

Govetts Leap Lookout, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Cliff Top Walk – This 6km (3.7mi) return trail follows the cliff edge from Govetts Leap Lookout to Evans Lookout and offers inspiring views over the iconic Grose Valley and some of the most breathtaking scenic views in the Blue Mountains.

The trail takes you through dense, windswept heathland, past she-oaks, banksias and stunted mallee scrub. Along the way look out for yellow-tailed black cockatoos and king parrots.

The heath comes alive with colourful displays of wildflowers in spring, attracting nectar-loving birds such as the white-naped honeyeater.

The view back towards Govetts leap from Barrow lookout offers scenic waterfall views.

Crossing Govetts Leap Brook, the track passes the junction with Braeside walking track. Enjoy a picnic at Evans lookout, before retracing your steps.

Allow three hours 30 minutes to complete this walk.

Burramoko Ridge (Hanging Rock) trail, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Burramoko Ridge (Hanging Rock) trail – This medium difficult 10km (6.2mi) return trail is perfect for bushwalkers and cyclists with wonderful gorge views in in the Grose Wilderness.

Easily accessed from Blackheath via Ridgewell Road, the trail meanders through heathland and open forest along a ridge to a dramatic rocky bluff.

In spring, look out for distinctive red waratahs, and grass trees that bloom with creamy coloured flowers.

If you're cycling, you may leave your bike at the turning circle at the end of the trail to walk up a short bush track to the unfenced Baltzer lookout, also known as Hanging Rock.

Enjoy the sublime views of Hanging Rock and the Grose Valley while taking care around the sheer cliff edge drop off.

Located in the Grose Wilderness of Blue Mountains National Park, near Blackheath, this trail and other trails in the area are limited to cycling and walking groups of 8 people. Allow two hours to complete.


Lennox Bridge, Glenbrook, New South Wales

Glenbrook

Located at the eastern gateway to Blue Mountains National Park, the quiet township of Glenbrook provides camping in the wild, natural swimming spots, Aboriginal rock art, and a choice of bushwalking and mountain biking trails.

Stop at the Blue Mountains Visitor Information Centre for brochures and maps of the region. Then head off to admire the ancient hand stencil rock art at Red Hands Cave, inspect historic Lennox Bridge – Australia's second-oldest bridge (photo) – and learn about the earliest attempts to cross the Blue Mountains.

Unwind on the sandy beach at Jellybean Pool or try the more secluded Blue Pool. Enjoy a leisurely picnic then cool off in the calm waters as currawongs and rainbow lorikeets chatter above.

If you’re feeling adventurous, walk, cycle or run the Bennetts Ridge fire trail or the Woodford-Oaks trail. Or try the short but challenging Glenbrook Gorge track or intrepid Jack Evans walking track.

The purpose-built 1.5km (1mi) section of Woodford-Oaks trail offers graded technical challenges for mountain bikers. A shorter option is the mountain bike and 4WD trail along Murphys Road from Woodford to peaceful Murphys Glen campground.

Euroka campground is a good base to explore the area’s tracks, trails, lookouts and waterholes. Pitch your tent among the grassy clearings and tall gums as the local kangaroos look on, and fall asleep to the sounds of the bush.

Don't miss the wheelchair-accessible Mount Portal lookout: perched atop the sandstone escarpment, you’ll see where the Blue Mountains meet Sydney.

Glenbrook is located on the eastern edge of the Blue Mountains around 60km (37mi) west Sydney via the M4 and Western Highway.

Some of the highlights in the area include…

Jellybean Pool, Glenbrook, New South Wales

Jellybean Pool – A short 1km walk takes you to Jellybean Pool – a pretty spot to swim and enjoy a picnic surround by nature and flanked by sandstone cliffs.

Starting at the Glenbrook entrance to Blue Mountains National Park this walk takes you into the Glenbrook Gorge, passing mountain spotted gums and grass trees.

Look out for various species of birdlife including kestrels, rainbow lorikeets, gang gang and kingfisher zipping around the water.

Allow up to one hour to reach Jellybean.

Blue Pool, Glenbrook, New South Wales

Blue Pool – A short yet challenging 0.5km return bushwalk leads to an idyllic swimming hole and sandy riverside beach in a tranquil bush setting.

Look for the vibrant red flowers of the bottlebrush and the flowering tea tree in the warmer months. Enjoy a picnic lunch as currawongs and rainbow lorikeets chatter above. For views of the surrounding landscape, head to Mount Portal lookout.

Allow up to 30 minutes to reach Blue Pool.

Mount Portal Lookout, Glenbrook, New South Wales

Mount Portal Lookout – Perched atop the lower ridges of Blue Mountains National Park, Mount Portal Lookout offers magnificent views of the junction between Glenbrook Gorge and the mighty Nepean River.

Gaze across the dramatic tree-lined gorge to the water and you’ll notice how the grand sweep of Nepean River opens up to the Cumberland Plains on the western edge of Sydney.

Evidence that the ridge top was an ancient river bed can be found in the large rounded pebbles, called lapstones.

The shapely angophoras, with their elegantly contorted limbs, thrive in this rugged terrain and bearded dragons are often seen sunning themselves on the surrounding rocky outcrops.

The lookout is on a wheelchair-accessible path.

Red Hands Cave, Glenbrook, New South Wales

Red Hands Cave – Visit one of the best displays of Aboriginal rock art in the region via the 8km (5mi) Red Hands Cave loop walking track.

The walk starts at the causeway near the park entrance in the Glenbrook area of Blue Mountains National Park.

Alternatively, drive about 13km (8mi) past the park entrance along the unsealed Oaks trail and Red Hands trail to Red Hands Cave car park, then take a short 1km return walk.

Thought to have been painted between 500 and 1600 years ago, you can still see the vibrant, earthy colours of red, yellow and white, which combine to make an overwhelming collage.

Red Hands Cave trail, Glenbrook, New South Wales

Red Hands Cave track – Walk in the footsteps of Aboriginal people on this 8km (5mi) loop trail through remote bushland to one of the best Aboriginal stencil galleries in the Sydney Basin.

The track has quite likely been used by Aboriginal people for thousands of years.

From Glenbrook Causeway, follow the medium-difficulty track along Campfire Creek where you’ll see axe grinding grooves on the water’s edge.

Keeping to the right at the track junction, you might see eastern water dragons sunning themselves. Climbing steadily through the gully, you’ll reach the sandstone overhang of Red Hands Cave.

Enjoy a picnic lunch in the unspoilt bush, as rainbow lorikeets and gang gangs chatter above.

Retrace your steps or continue the longer loop walk. For a refreshing swim, detour via the swimming holes along Blue Pool walking track.

For a longer hike, you can walk from the Glenbrook park entry down to the causeway. Make sure you allow extra time for the steep walk there and back, around 6km (3.7mi) return.

The track takes up to two hours to complete.

Glenbrook Gorge trail, Glenbrook, New South Wales

Glenbrook Gorge – Discover the beauty of Glenbrook Gorge by walking the challenging Glenbrook Gorge track.

The 3km (1.8mi) return trail offers rock-hopping along the Glenbrook Gorge creek bed through beautiful bushland in Blue Mountains National Park.

While following the base of the gorge, look out for the historic railway tunnel built in 1911. The rubble from its construction can still be seen on the sandbar where Glenbrook Creek meets Nepean River, near the end of the track.

You may choose to climb out to Lapstone Station, or retrace your steps up the gorge and enjoy a refreshing dip in Jellybean Pool on the way back.

Allow up to two hours 30 minutes to complete the return walk.

Woodford – Oaks trail, Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales

Woodford – Oaks trail – Experience scenic views through Blue Mountains National Park on an invigorating bike ride or walk on the Woodford – Oaks trail.

This 27km (16mi) one-way trail from Woodford to The Oaks offers expansive scenic views as the trail winds through heath and open forest. From The Oaks picnic area – named for the nearby casuarinas – the track continues as a dedicated cycle track with a steep ride up Glenbrook Gorge to the station.

In the warmer months, the aroma of wildflowers and eucalypts mingle to create a heady perfume.

The trail is also a very popular track for cyclists and runners, and attracts more than 850 participants in the annual Woodford to Glenbrook Classic.

Allow up to three hours and 30 minutes to complete the ride.

Note: Drinking water is available just inside the gate to this trail at a tap installed by NPWS. Use this tap to fill your water bottles rather than the neighbours' garden taps.

Nepean Lookout, Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales

Nepean Lookout – A short and easy track leads to this unfenced lookout where you can gaze down the steep tree-lined gorge on your left and Nepean River on the right.

Admire the magnificent angophoras, with distinctive salmon-coloured bark that grow nearby.

Spring is an excellent time to visit as the surrounding heath erupts with colour and fragrance. This is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, with silvereyes, thornbills and striated pardalotes often seen flitting among the trees.

Fairlight Gorge was created millions of years ago as the Nepean River etched a path through the sandstone landscape.

With great river views of Fairlight Gorge, Nepean Lookout boasts birdwatching and scenic wildflowers in Blue Mountains National Park.

Jack Evans walking track, Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales

Jack Evans walking track – This challenging 2.6km (1.6mi) return walking track to Erskine Creek offers swimming, rock-hopping and wildflowers in Blue Mountains National Park, near Glenbrook.

Named in honour of a labourer from the nearby Warragamba Dam, Jack Evans walking track leads through picturesque rock formations.

This walk stretches from the end of Nepean Lookout fire trail to Erskine Creek – a great place to rest and wet the toes before the climb back up to the car park.

Passing towering angophoras and grass trees, the track descends steeply into the gorge. Be sure to look for the rare ground orchids when you stop to admire the shifting light and shadows across the rock walls.

Arriving at Erskine Creek, deep swimming holes provide a refreshing dip in summer. You might be lucky to glimpse a platypus in the waterways that form part of the Blue Labyrinth; an enigmatic maze of canyons and gorges.

Allow up to two hours to complete the walk, and longer to swim and enjoy a picnic.

Note: The second section of the track is no longer available to walkers, due to Scheduled Lands for water protection. To maintain the cleanest water possible for Sydney, please don’t use the portion of the track across the creek.


Zig-Zag Railway, Lithgow, New South Wales

Zig-Zag Railway

Ride the famous Zig-Zag Railway – one of the most innovative engineering feats of the 19th century – from the Blue Mountains into the Lithgow Valley.

The train offers great views as it descends the mountain over three sandstone viaducts and through two hand-hewn tunnels.

Located at Clarence, the Zig-Zag track is a series of gently slopes in the form of a letter Z, where the train is alternately pushed and pulled along the escarpment. Built between 1866 and 1869, the Zig Zag Railway was regarded as one of the engineering wonders of the Victorian age.

Take the steam train on weekends, public holidays and most school holidays, or a diesel-powered vintage engine during weekdays. The diesel vintage option includes a tour of the workshop and allows more time to study the viaducts and scenery. It takes about 2 hours 30 minutes return.

Having suffered through two disastrous bush fires, the Zig Zag Railway is working towards reopening in late 2021. Check the website (https://www.zigzagrailway.com.au) for more details.

Lithgow is located 141km (87mi) west of Sydney via the Great Western Highway.

The Lost City, Lithgow, New South Wales

The Lost City – Located on the Newnes plateau above Lithgow, the Lost City is one of the rarely seen wonders of the Blue Mountains.

The sandstone was laid down by a massive river delta that flowed across the area around 250 million years ago.

From the Bungleboori Picnic Site an unmarked track leads to a car park with views across the weather landscape. From here it's a short walk down the hill to inspect the formations.

Located a few kilometres north of Lithgow and to the north of the Zig Zag Railway station, the Lost City can only be reached by 4WD.


Hassans Wall Lookout, Lithgow, New South Wales

Hassans Walls Lookout

Drive to the highest scenic lookout in the Blue Mountains at 1130m (3707ft) and take in views to Mount Wilson, Mount York, Mount Tarana, Mount Blaxland and the Hartley Valley below.

To the south lie the Kanimbla and Megalong valleys and Mount Bindo at 1363m (4471ft). Drive past Hassans Walls Lookout to Braceys Lookout for great views over Lithgow.

Hassans Walls Lookout is located 5km (3mi) south of Lithgow along Hassans Wall Road.

Another good lookout is Bracey's Lookout. Located 8km (5mi) south of Lithgow via Hartley Valley Road, Bracey Lookout provides an excellent, panoramic view over the township and the Lithgow Valley.


Mount Wilson village, New South Wales

Mount Wilson

Explore the canyons and natural wilderness of this remote corner in Blue Mountains National Park on foot or mountain bike.

You can enjoy the short walk to Du Faurs Rocks lookout and Chinamans Hat.

Take a leisurely drive along the winding Bells Line of Road, part of the Greater Blue Mountains Drive, with several scenic viewpoints available along the way.

Stretch your legs on the short Walls Lookout track, near Pierces Pass picnic area, with magnificent views of Mount Banks and Mount Hay. From here you can also tackle the Pierces Pass to Blue Gum Forest wilderness walk.

Check out the historic Mount Wilson village – the smallest village in the Blue Mountains and a must see during autumn and spring for the colours of the gardens. Mount Wilson offers beautiful scenery and is a great location to start many of the best walking trails in the Blue Mountains.

Try the Mount Banks Summit walk (1049m – 3438ft) from the Mount Banks picnic area.

Climb through windswept heath for staggering views across the Grose Wilderness. The fertile summit is home to tall monkey gum forest, a favourite habitat for lyrebirds, wombats and nocturnal greater gliders.

Mount Banks Road cycle route also starts from the picnic area. Ride or walk deep into the wilderness, and marvel at the 510m (1673ft) high waterfall of Banks Wall plunging into the Grose Valley.

The region is especially beautiful in September and October, when the track is dotted with red waratahs, grevilleas and delicate native iris flowers.

Mount Banks Road cycle route, Mount Wilson, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Mount Banks Road cycle route – With scenic wilderness views, wildflowers and birdwatching, Mount Banks Road is a great mountain bike ride and walking track in the Grose Wilderness.

Located near Mount Tomah, in Blue Mountains National Park, this medium-difficulty 10km (6.2mi) return gravel trail has several steep sections. The track can be overgrown and obstacles including rocks and fallen trees are common.

Starting at Mount Banks picnic area, the route sweeps around the base of Mount Banks, taking you through diverse open heath and woodland, to the edge of the escarpment high above the Grose Valley wilderness deep into the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains.

In spring and summer, look for wildflowers along the trail before arriving at the cliff top above Banks Wall. From here admire views across the valley to the Grose River, Govetts Leap and the Blue Gum Forest.

Along the way, look out for wedge-tailed eagles or peregrine falcons soaring on the valley thermals. Unpack a bite to eat or head back for lunch at the picnic tables.

If you're feeling energetic, continue along the narrowing clifftop trail for a further 1.1km to a second unfenced lookout, with views across to Lockleys Pylon and Mount Hay.

Allow two hours for a moderate bike ride or up to five hours to walk

You can also connect with Mount Banks Summit walk around 2.5km (1.5mi) from the picnic area, via a 1km uphill track. For a longer ride or walk of around 12.2km (7.5mi) return you can continue along the road to a second clifftop viewpoint.

Mount Banks Summit walk, Mount Wilson, Blue Mountains, New South Wales

Mount Banks Summit walk – This challenging 2.4km (1.5mi) return trail offers some of the best scenic views across Blue Mountains National Park.

Located near Mount Wilson, the distinctive double hump of Mount Banks is visible for kilometres.

From Mount Banks picnic area, the trail ascend steeply through a windswept dramatic landscape that includes a unique basalt cap that is home to a tall forest of monkey gums, so named by early explorers who mistook resident greater gliders for monkeys.

Hiking to the summit of Mount Banks can be done on either of two trails. For the most scenic views take the shorter but steeper of the two trails that roughly follows the cliff edge all the way to the top.

The second option that follows Mount Banks Rd is slightly longer and not as steep but doesn’t offer the best views.

You can also combine the two trails for a longer 4.7km (2.9mi) walk by connecting with Mount Banks Road cycle route.

The intersection of the two walking tracks is clearly signposted just before the top of the mountain. If you’re choosing the shorter walking track to the summit, you will need to look for the path that starts behind the big rock.

The summit of Mount Banks may be a bit of a disappointment as there are no 360° views as one would typically expect to enjoy on top of a mountain. Instead, the top of Mount Banks is covered with a tall, thriving forest of monkey gums, with a triangulation station erected in the centre.

Hiking to the summit of Mt Banks is all about the journey, not so much about the amazing views from the top.

Along the way, look out for wildlife including wombats, mountain goats and lots of different species of birds.

Allow up to three hours to complete the longer circuit walk.

Mount Banks Rd is located 10km (6.2mi) west of the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Mount Tomah and 28km (17mi) east of Lithgow.


Hartley Historic Village, New South Wales

Hartley

Explore the charming township known as Hartley Historic Village which is located on the western side of the Blue Mountains – a merging of the three small villages of Hartley, Little Hartley and Hartley Vale.

By-passed by the railway in late 1800s the once prosperous township quickly declined in importance. Today all that is left is a remnant of a town largely unchanged since the mid-nineteenth century.

Stroll through the village and examine the colonial architecture of the Hartley Court House, where convicts have scratched their names, sentences and crimes into the walls; and the Shamrock Inn, built in 1856, with numerous large chimneys and a prominent sagging roof.

Browse the local art galleries and savour a light lunch at one of the quaint tea houses.

Hartley is located 148km (92mi) from Sydney via the M4 and Great Western Highway.


Did you know?

The Blue Mountains look blue because of the eucalyptus trees covering their slopes: the trees disperse eucalyptus oil into the atmosphere and make the blue light rays of the sun seem more prominent.


Getting There

Trip length from Sydney 3 days Total distance 295km
Road conditions All sealed roads Segment distances: Sydney to Wentworth Falls – 95km, 1hr 35min; Wentworth Falls to Jenolan Caves – 80km, 1hr 15min; Katoomba to Sydney – 105km, 1hr 45mins.
Suggested overnight stops: Wentworth Falls and/or Katoomba.

Accommodation: Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about these hotels in the Blue Mountains at TripAdvisor.


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Latest update: Blue Mountains: 20 February, 2021


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