Through the beryl-blue haze of eucalypt forests, the bounding landscape of the Blue Mountains National Park spreads over almost 2,700km². Here’s how to explore this abundance of natural beauty only 90 minutes west of Sydney.
What must Governor Phillip and co have thought when they looked the swaths of eucalyptus trees and towering 1000-metre-plus mountains in their western path in the 1780s? I think the word they used was ‘impassable’.
Cook hadn’t known what to make of the Blue Mountains either. In fact, it wasn’t until 1813 that any white men managed, with great effort, to blaze a trail.
It must have been so disheartening for them to find that Indigenous peoples like the Gundungurra, Dharug and Wiradjuri had been living it up the valleys and peaks of Colomatta – the Blue Mountains’ real name – for centuries.
These days, visitors admire the incredible vistas over the region for its sense of grandeur and scale rather than seeing it as an obstacle.
Here are our top 7 ways to see the best the Blue Mountains National Park has to offer.
1. Echo Point
Easily the best vantage point to see the biggest draw card of the Blue Mountains – the Three Sisters rock formation.
Local Aboriginal legend has it that these rocks were once three sisters, who caught the eye of three brothers of a neighbouring tribe. The brothers tried to kidnap them, so to protect them a witchdoctor turned them to stone.
He meant to turn them back when it was safe again, but he was killed and so there they stand to this day, Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo – the Three Sisters.
2. The Giant Stairway
Round the base of the Three Sisters is one of the more popular bush walks you can do in the mountains. It’s an easy-to-medium walk and only takes about 1 ½ hours.
To get back up from the valley floor, you can take the Scenic Railway funicular train or climb back up the Furber Steps as you wish.
3. Scenic World’s Scenic Skyway
This cable car crosses the Federal Pass Ravine from the Scenic World HQ to take you to the amazing Cliff View Lookout.
From 270m up, your view from Australia’s highest cable car is amazing. The centre of the car has a glass bottom floor you can see all the way down to the valley at your feet.
4. Scenic World’s Scenic Cableway
This cable car goes from the valley floor back up to the Scenic World centre. It’s the biggest cable car in Australia, holding up to 84 people. If you look at the picture above you can just see the cable car!
The 360-degree views from this car out over the forests of the Jamison Valley are stunning.
5. Scenic World’s funicular railway
Certainly not for the faint-hearted, this train – the last working vestige of the coal mines that ran here 130 years ago – runs on a steep track to the bottom of the escarpment.
At 52 degrees, it’s the steepest railway in the world, so the views from the carriage are literally through the roof – I thank you!
6. Scenic World’s Scenic Walkway
The 2.4km boardwalk leads you around the stunning canopy of the forest in the mountain valley and is perfect for a relaxing stroll.
The walkway is elevated to minimise its impact on the local environment, and teaches you a bit about what you can see and what this part of the Blue Mountains was used for back in the day.
7. Bush walks
The Blue Mountains National Park covers an area of over 2,600km2 with hundreds of amazing bush walks you can take. The walks range from an hour’s walk to four days out in the wilderness.
Here’s a quick list of some of the walks with pdf maps and directions. Otherwise the Katoomba YHA has more detailed notes on bushwalks as does the Blue Mountains Visitor Information Centre.
If you’re not in the mood for getting up close and personal or if the weather’s a bit dodgy, there are still plenty of indoor options to enjoy the breathtaking views in and around the Blue Mountains.
My new favourite way to ‘window shop’ the Blue Mountains is from the comfort of the Hydro Majestic, a hotel and spa with a stately seat looking down over the Megalong Valley. It does an excellent high tea we highly recommend.
Check out our review of the Hydro Majestic and the high teas they do there.
Alternatively, try Echoes Boutique Hotel and Restaurant. The food they do there is sensational. We had dinner here, which was amazing, but due to the lack of sun we couldn’t see much of the views.
We returned the next day though and were rewarded with some amazing scenery.
Have you been to the Blue Mountains? Do you have any tips on where to go for a great view? Tell us in the comments!
Kat - The Organised Housewife
Absolutely stunning! It has been oh so long since i have visited the Blue Mountains. Must plan a trip soon.:)
It’s such a lovely area, isn’t it, Kat. People get so excited about the beaches in Australia, sometimes we forget to look behind us at the rest of this beautiful country!
Sonia from Sonia Styling
Gosh, what a pretty place. Looks so serene and beautiful and relaxing. The husband is always big on any place with an amazing view. The Blue Mountains would definitely make the cut!
It’s such a lovely part of the country, Sonia – well worth a visit. Reckon Mr SS would enjoy coming here. Well worth a trip up.
Just a heads up – the view from the Hydro is Megalong Valley 😉 the one from the Cable car is Jamison Valley. Lots more to the Mountains than Katoomba! Try Mt Victoria, Blackheath and surrounds for more amazing views. Wentworth Falls, Lawson and Hazelbrook for more awesome bushwalking.
Hi Mtns Mama (love your handle btw!). Thanks for the corrections – apologies for that. Have corrected our mistakes. Hold your horses on us not covering anywhere else in the Blue Mountains though – this is only just the start! Oh, plus we featured the Schwartz Patisserie in Wentworth a while ago too. Love this part of NSW. There’s so much more going for it than just Katoomba. Did you know the first camping trip Mrs Romance ever went on was at Kanangra Walls? We took a hike down to the Dancing Cave – amazing bit of our history.
Anyway, thanks for your input. Hope you enjoyed the rest of our post. 🙂
Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
Scenic World has breathtaking views but there are so many beautiful bush walks in the mountains and almost all of them have breathtaking views. One of my favourites is Govett’s Leap in Blackheath. Definitely worth a peek! We’re going to the Mountains in a few weeks and I cannot wait!
Hey Sammie. Yes, Govett’s Leap is a classic destination – we love Blackheath too. A great range of restaurants there. When you go to the Blue Mountains, be sure to check out Parklands in Blackheath. Awesome value for money and beautiful rooms.
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Lyn - A Hole in my Shoe
Oh wow, Jim are you really trying to entice us to the Blue Mountains or this coincidence? I feel if we never make it there we have seen it with this beautiful snapshot of the area… and high tea? Hmm maybe we just have to make it there sooner rather than later. Thanks so much for sharing and especially for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard.
Ha ha! Thank you, Lyn. So glad you liked the pics and the write-up. Yes, I’m definitely trying to entice you to the Blue Mountains – it’s one of those places that shouldn’t be missed. And if it takes high tea to get you there, so be it!
Thanks for inviting us over on to your link-up party. Lots of fun. 🙂
Elaine J. Masters
What a discovery. I had no idea there were so many ways to see the Blue Mountains. Great pictures.
So glad you found us, Elaine! Yes, the Blue Mountains has so many amazing vistas. These 7 are the ones we’ve found and love, but there are so many more. Glad you like the photos. Thanks for stopping by.
I love when legends are tied up in rock formations or waterfalls or nature in general. Makes the place more interesting. This is a really beautiful Park that I haven’t even heard about so far. I recently took a trip up a mountain in Switzerland in a cable car almost identical with the one in your picture. Thanks for linking up to The Weekly Postcard. When you have a chance, please display our badge. You can copy it at the end of my post (in the highlighted gray area) and paste it into yours (in the text editor).
Hi Anda. It’s great when you get to know a place by its local history, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by.
I haven’t actually ever made it to the Blue Mountains but I would love to and hope to get there one day. Especially if there is the option of high tea if the weather is gloomy.
Ah, you should get over there, Malinda. It’s amazing how close to built up areas all this nature is. Well worth a visit. As for the high tea, I think it’s still a good option on sunny days too! 😉
Ruth - Tanama Tales
Amazed by your article! What a beautiful place (and I love waterfalls). Thanks for sharing. I felt like I went there for a moment.
Thank you, Ruth! That’s a really lovely thing to say. So glad you enjoyed our write-up. 🙂
Marcella @ WhatAWonderfulWorld
Oh wow, how beautiful! I absolutely adore the photo looking up at the trees – the patterns made by the leaves are incredible!
Hi Marcella. So glad you like the photos. Mrs Romance’s work really does this part of New South Wales justice. Those palms are amazing, aren’t they?
A great post! My parents own the Blackheath Motor Inn and I love going to visit them. The Jenolan Caves are also a great place to visit. The whole of the Blue Mountains a such beautiful part of Australia!
Ah yes, I remember driving past the Motor Inn, Meghan! What a small world! Yes, the Jenolan Calves are awesome. Mrs Romance took me there years ago when we first started going out. Stunning in the caves, and the Blue Lagoon is amazing too. Very underrated part of the country, the mountains.
Kirralee @ Escape With Kids
Your photos are so beautiful. Just breathtaking scenery. It’s been many years since we’ve been, so I should plan a day trip up there, but wouldn’t it be freezing at the moment? It’s cold enough down here in the city!
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You can see the other side of the Three Sisters from Sublime Point in Leura. Easy to find. The walkway is 175 metres. There’s steps and a bit up and down but manageable by most. It’s a beautiful view from there and well worth the visit.
Thank you Diane! That’s such a great tip. We’ll have to check it out next time we’re up in the mountains. We love Leura as well. Beautiful alpine town.