The Blue Mountains is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful regions in the whole of Australia, thanks to its dramatic, rugged scenery and unspoilt bushland. They are considered as a must to see while spending time in Sydney, often explored on organised tours departing Sydney. Yet many visitors are so overwhelmed by the natural beauty of the Blue Mountains that they do not know where to start when it comes to exploring the region.
We have put together this essential guide to Blue Mountains attractions, and how to get the most out of your stay.
The Blue Mountains is a rugged, mountainous area of NSW, located approximately two hours’ drive west of Sydney. Best reached by road, it is an essential stop on any tour of NSW, allowing visitors the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and explore the true beauty of the Australian landscape.
The main attractions of the Blue Mountains include 140km of walking trails, taking in dramatic sandstone rock formations, bushlands, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and picturesque villages along the way. Framed on all sides by rivers and lakes, the Blue Mountains region offers spectacular views and an opportunity to get close to nature in an unspoilt environment. However, there are also fascinating towns and villages here, including the main town of Katoomba and the township of Leura.
The Blue Mountains region also forms an important part of Australian history. For thousands of years this area was home to the Gundungurra and Darug Aborignal people, whose stories can still be explored here to this day.
Thanks to its outstanding natural beauty and its historical and cultural significance, the Blue Mountains is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, and it draws millions of fascinated visitors from around the globe each year.
This breathtaking region offers plenty to do for all ages. Here are some of the highlights of the Blue Mountains for you to consider:
The Three Sisters
The Three Sisters is a famous rock formation which looks like three towers, overlooking the Jamison Valley. According to the Indigenous dreamtime legends, the rocks were originally three human sisters who were turned to stone by an elder, but he was killed in battle, and nobody else had the knowledge to bring the sisters back to life.
Today this iconic landmark is one of the major Blue Mountains attractions. It can be viewed to great advantage from Echo Point, which also marks the beginning of a bushwalking trail which leads you down to the Three Sisters and the surrounding valley via the Giant Stairway, a series of over 800 steps constructed of stone and steel.
The views from Echo Point are so spectacular that it is visited by up to two million people each year.
Mount Solitary is the only mountain in the Jamison Valley. Its Indigenous name, Korowal, means “strong one”, and when you see the mountain, you will understand why – as its majestic form dominates the scenery of the region. Almost entirely covered in eucalyptus forests, Mount Solitary is a vast mountain, with a summit measuring five kilometres in length.
The mountain can best be reached by a walking track known as the Golden Stairs, which begins near the town of Katoomba. One of the highlights of a walk along this route is the Ruined Castle, a rock formation which can be seen on a ridge close to the track.
The Grand Canyon walk is one of the most popular walking routes in the entire Blue Mountains region, due to the breathtaking beauty of the scenery you encounter along the way. The track leads in a circular route for six kilometres through a varied landscape of rugged sandstone cliffs, waterfalls and rainforest, enabling you to experience the natural wonders of this region at their very best.
One of the main reasons this walk is so popular is due to the stunning views from Evans Lookout, over the Grose Valley. At sunrise and sunset, this vantage point is particularly spectacular, as the sandstone is illuminated with a golden glow.
The Jenolan Caves form the largest and most famous cave system in Australia, and they are an essential place to bear in mind when you’re considering what to do in the Blue Mountains. These limestone caves are also the oldest open caves in the world, and offer a remarkable insight into geography of the Blue Mountains region, as well as its ancient history and culture.
The fascinating rock formations and underground rivers here have been sites of spiritual importance for thousands of years, as the Gundungurra people who traditionally inhabited the area would bring sick people down to bathe them in the reportedly healing waters.
Today nine of the caves are open to the public, with regular guided tours available, and the caves are one of the main attractions on any Blue Mountains tour.
Located 1,000 metres above sea level at Mount Tomah, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is the highest botanic garden in the whole of Australia, and features thousands of plants from Australia and around the world
This 28-hectare garden also offers stunning panoramic views over the Blue Mountains World Heritage area.
Located at Doondale, on the way to the Blue Mountains from Sydney, Featherdale Wildlife Park is a firm favourite with visitors of all ages. It offers one of Australia’s best collections of native wildlife, giving you the chance to get close to all your favourite animals. You can feed the kangaroos and wallabies, or even have a cuddle with a koala!
There are a huge variety of species here, including wombats, Tasmanian devils, reptiles and birds, with “meet the animals” encounters available daily.
Katoomba is the main town in the Blue Mountains region, and is the main starting point for many of the walking trails which enable you to explore the scenery of the region. However, Katoomba also offers a wide variety of experiences for all visitors, including cultural experiences, dining, live music, and of course, stunning views.
Scenic World is a major Blue Mountains attraction based in Katoomba, which offers a variety of ways to discover the beauty of the region, including a cable car which takes you over the spectacular Katoomba Falls, and the Scenic Railway, claimed to be the steepest railway in the world, travelling through the stunning Jamison Valley.
There is also a café and restaurant here, which offers beautiful views across the Blue Mountains National Park.
The Blue Mountains region has been the home of indigenous people for thousands of years, and the Waradah Aboriginal Centre enables you to discover more about their history and culture. Highly informative talks are held at regular intervals each day, and there are also a gallery and shop here, where you can take in some of the finest examples of Aboriginal art, and purchase souvenirs of your visit.
This unforgettable venue instantly immerses you in the atmospheric beauty of the Blue Mountains, with a World Heritage display offering projections of the scenery on the walls and ceiling, and the sounds of the rainforest filling the air.
The centre also houses an art gallery and library, as well as the famous viewing platform, which offers beautiful views across Katoomba and the Jamison Valley.
The charming village of Leura is a popular destination for visitors to the Blue Mountains, as it offers a number of memorable experiences.
For a shopping experience in a picturesque setting, Leura Mall is hard to beat. The mall basically consists of one strip, with shops on either side selling clothes, toys, books and handmade gifts, giving you an ideal opportunity to pick up some souvenirs of your Blue Mountains visit.
If you visit in spring, the cherry blossoms here are a major attraction, making the backdrop even more beautiful.
Leura Cascades is a popular Blue Mountains attraction, with a picnic area which forms the starting point for many beautiful walking trails around the area. The Leura Cascades walk is a circular route which takes in a number of the region’s waterfalls, via a series of bridges, enabling you to get close to the creek and enjoy the scenery along the way.
If you are visiting the Blue Mountains region and would like to see the highlights of this beautiful part of the world in a convenient and comfortable way, Sydney Tours R Us can help. We offer guided tours of the Blue Mountains in luxurious, air-conditioned coaches, led by highly experienced professional guides who can show you all the main Blue Mountains attractions and make the experience come to life with their in-depth knowledge.
Please contact us for more information, and take the first step towards visiting one of the most spectacular regions Australia has to offer. Or book your Blue Mountains tour now.