A trip to New South Wales wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of its most unique UNESCO National Parks. Spreading over 1 million hectares, the Blue Mountains is an incredible place for lovers of the great outdoors. Though not my favourite National Park in Australia a Blue Mountains day trip is certainly worth doing! Whether you love hiking, photography or just want to drive around hunting for those incredible views, there is something for everyone to enjoy in The Blue Mountains Sydney.
We spent one night and two days in the Blue Mountains but for a lot of travellers, a day trip from Sydney is all they have time to squeeze in. Luckily you can see a lot in the Blue Mountains with just one day but to do so you will need to hire a car or go on a group tour of the Blue Mountains. But more of that as you read on!
I’ve decided to split this post into three sections:
- One Day Itinerary in the Blue Mountains – my recommendations of exactly what to see and how to plan your day!
- Best Photography Spots in the Blue Mountains – If you love photography but only have one day in the Blue Mountains then you might want to hunt down the best spots to get that perfect shot.
- Unique Places to Visit in the Blue Mountains – If you like to wander off the beaten track then you might want to visit these unique places in the Blue Mountains.
But before we get into these travel guides for a Blue Mountains day trip let’s get the logistics out of the way first! But before we start a quick disclosure;
Some of the photographs you’ll find in this post will be stock images and all photographers will be credited in the caption. We spent a lot of time during our two days in the Blue Mountains taking epic photographs. Then my very old very sad laptop completely died and took all my photographs beyond the grave with it! It was honestly a tragic moment and I have since invested in a lot of back-ups for my photos!
Where are The Blue Mountains?
The Blue Mountains National Park is located 1 hour North West of Sydney. Even though it might mean getting up early it’s easy to drive up to the Blue Mountains for a day trip. If you’re on a road trip of the East Australian coast then I recommend stopping at the Blue Mountains either on your way in or out of Sydney depending on where you started the road trip. When we travelled the East coast for a month in 2018 we actually left visiting the Blue Mountains out. We knew we’d be staying in Sydney for 6 months so we had plenty of time to visit. In the end, it would’ve been so much better to have visited when we had our campervan – just some food for thought!
Getting to The Blue Mountains for a Day Trip
For a Blue Mountains day trip the easiest way to get there is by car. We hired a car from the company Car Next Door in Sydney for a good price. The drive is only a couple of hours and it’s pretty straight forward. The Blue Mountains are very spread out and especially for those photographers out there if you want to find all the great spots in just one day then driving around is the best way.
Car Next Door – a little more info
Car Next Door is a really easy app to use. Basically, everyday people put their cars up on the website to rent when they don’t need it. You pay a total for the car and then like 19 cent per km for afterwards, it’s pretty cheap and you can have a membership for just $19 a month. There’s no talking to anyone required as the keys are placed in a lockbox by the owner which fits onto the car window. The instructions on where to pick the car up and drop back off are really simple! I highly recommend this app for renting cars in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. A quick word of warning you do pay a deposit for your first hire but get this back 7 days later.
If hiring a car for your Blue Mountains day trip isn’t possible then don’t worry you can take public transport. There are a couple of ways to reach the Blue Mountains via public trains. There are a few different routes possible so make sure you check on Google Maps or Sydney Transport Website before you go which route will be best for your situation. The only thing you’ll be sacrificing on the trains is time. It’ll take just over 2 hours to reach the Blue Mountains by train but once you arrive it is quite easy to explore the different areas of the Blue Mountains by train.
Day Tours to the Blue Mountains from Sydney
Planning a day trip to the Blue Mountains can be tricky. There is so much to see and when you’ve only got limited time to see it, it can be hard deciding which places are worth. This is one of the reasons why I decided to write this post! But if you really don’t want to mess around planning the day yourself or catching a train then why not take a day tour?
There are so many tour companies in Australia and a few tours running day trips to the Blue Mountains from Sydney. Obviously these tours come at a price but are a great way to this unique national park. There aren’t many places in the world where a blue haze fills the horizon! I’ve linked some of the most popular guides according to Trip Advisor right below! If you do decide to a day tour to the Blue Mountains from Sydney then I would recommend planning in advance especially in summer!
One Day Itinerary to the Blue Mountains Sydney
In this section of the post, I’m going to give you all the spots I recommend seeing during a day trip in the Blue Mountains. This itinerary is going from sunrise to sunset to make the most the only day you may ever spend in this gorgeous hinterland.
One Day Itinerary to the Blue Mountains – The Highlights:
- Echo Point
- Honey Moon Bridge
- Katoomba Falls
- The Yellow Deli
- Wentworth Falls
- Evans Lookout
Set off from Sydney early in the morning. Get the car packed up the night before and rise before the sun comes up. That could be 5 am in Australian summertime but it’s worth the early rise to get to the Blue Mountains just after or as the sun is rising. We arrived at Echo Point our first stop in the Blue Mountains for about 8:30 and it was perfect. There were hardly any other people around and honestly an hour later the lookout at Echo Point was packed full of people!
First Stop – Echo Point
Echo Point is probably one of the most popular lookouts in the Blue Mountains so I recommend getting there early. It’s located in the Katoomba area of the national park and offers panoramic views of the famous Three Sisters. The Three Sisters is a famous sandstone formation in the Blue Mountains and an important part of Aboriginal Culture in Australia.
Legend tells the story of the three sisters as three women who were sisters that lived in the Katoomba Tribe. The sisters fell in love with three men from another tribe nearby but marriage between these tribes was forbidden. Them and the men refused to abide by this rule so the men captured the sisters. The sisters were then turned into stone. Of course, you’ll read many different variations of this tale but it’s certainly interesting.
Echo Point is also the gateway to Honeymoon Bridge and some great walks including the Prince Henry Cliff walk and Giant Staircase. We managed to get about halfway down the Giant Staircase during our visit but we figured what goes down must then come up so we decided against the rest of the walk as we didn’t have loads of time! I do recommend enjoying The Three Sisters Walk to Honeymoon Bridge though, the views are fantastic and the walk will take around 20 minutes!
After spending some time at Echo Point take a quick drive around to Katoomba Falls. You can park for free next to the playground and then follow the short track to the lookout point. Katoomba Falls is a wonderful waterfall that cascades 150 metres down the cliffs of the Blue Mountains into the Jamison Valley. You can also watch the cable car that runs from Scenic World across the top of the national park. We didn’t do it but I can imagine that it’s a lot of fo fun with some incredible views! There are various other walks you can enjoy at Katoomba Falls but the Katoomba Falls Round Walk is perfect when spending just one day in the Blue Mountains.
Katoomba Falls Round Walk
The walk will take about two hours so will bring you up to lunchtime. The walk is a 4 km circuit so it depends how good at walking you are, you may be able to conquer it a little quicker. I think the walk took us about an hour and a half but we were taking photographs for a while at the smaller waterfall you can enjoy on the walk! If its summer you can also take a paddle.
Lunch at the Yellow Deli
The Yellow Deli is one of the most unique places we found in the Blue Mountains. It was actually a friend of mine who recommended this spot to us and I’m so glad we went! The food is great and the atmosphere of the cafe is incredible. The Yellow Deli is actually a chain ran any a family who started out in America. Their mission is to provide love and a network of people through the art and spirit of great food. You can read a little more about the history behind the Yellow Deli here! They also do AMAZING green bars too which you just have to try honestly you’ll be craving this healthy snack – if you do like it you can find the green bars at a few of these markets around Sydney: (yes, I became obsessed)!
- Bondi Junction Markets (weekends)
- Frenches Forest Farmers Market (Sundays)
Next stop is Wentworth Falls. Fletcher’s lookout provides an amazing view of these epic waterfalls (my favourite in the Blue Mountains). The Wentworth Falls track is another easy track I recommend enjoying during your Blue Mountains Day Trip. The walk is just 1.4 km so will probably take an hour depending on how fast you walk. The walk shows off incredible views and leads to the top of the great Wentworth Falls!
Evans lookout was quite a surprise during our time in the Blue Mountains. Located in Blackheath this lookout was so vast and the scenery below so incredible! As we arrived at Evans lookout the sun has disappeared behind the clouds and the clouds were low. The thing about this was that the blue haze that fills the horizon was even more evident from Evans lookout! The national park isn’t called ‘The Blue Mountains’ for the fun of it after all.
After spending some time at Evans lookout it’ll be getting close to sunset. The sunset in the Blue Mountains is wonderful and I highly recommend it if you don’t have to rush back to the city. Of course the weather in the Blue Mountains is highly unpredictable but hopefully, you get a beautiful day with an incredible sunset! Some of the best points for sunset are:
- Lincolns Rock – Wentworth Falls
- Three Sisters
- Hanging Rock
- Evans Lookout
- Grovetts Leap
Choose a spot or just take a look at the #bluemountains tag on Instagram – I LOVE doing this to find great lookouts in places I’ll be visiting!
Getting Back to Sydney
Of course, if you’re driving it doesn’t matter too much about what time you set off back to the city. Just watch out for those kangaroos once it’s dark! If you take the train then you might not be able to stay for the sunset!
The Best Photography Spots in the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is every photographer’s dream especially if you enjoy photography landscapes. The sunrises and sunsets on a clear day are spectacular and even in the middle of the day the Blue Mountains a great spot to photograph. A Blue Mountains day trip dedicated solely to photography would be amazing. In this section of the post, I’ve compiled some of the best photography spots in the Blue Mountains.
- Three Sisters – it may be one of the most popular spots but there is no denying the beauty of the Three Sisters. The way these rock formations tower over the valley is so impressive!
- Grovetts Leap – Watch the sunset over the valley and create beautiful images using the suns rays as they dip low.
- Hanging Rock – An Instagram favourite for sunrise!
- Lincoln’s Rock – Any time of the day would be amazing to photograph this spot but especially at sunset!
- Mt Portal Lookout – Not only is Mt Portal a great place for photography especially the lookout but it’s also great for those who love climbing or abseiling!
- Scenic Skyway – Scenic world offers the cable car 270 metres above the landscape that is the blue mountains. Though most photographers won’t want to photograph through glass you could definitely capture some awesome shots from up there if you wanted to!
5 of the Most Unique Places to Visit on a Blue Mountains Day Trip
If visiting the busy Three Sisters and famous waterfalls don’t take your fancy then step off the beaten track. The Blue Mountains National Park is huge. There are so many small villages, bushwalking tracks, places to try adventure sports and other things that are a little more unique to explore. When we travel I like to do a little bit of both.
I love seeing the landmarks that gave that destination their place in the world. I would never visit New York and not go and see the Statue of Liberty! But I also like to spend some time exploring different places too. It’s a great way to give back to the locals and just enjoy somewhere a little different and hopefully quieter!
Visit Jenolan Caves – The Jenolan Caves are millions of years old and most travellers visiting the Blue Mountains don’t even know they exist! There are tours running in the caves which you can attend all year round. These caves not only some of the oldest in Australia but in the world! Take a look at the website here to look at booking a tour of the Jenolan Caves!
Explore Mount Portal – If you’re an adventure junkie then why not try rock climbing or abseiling in Mount Portal rather than hiking or taking photos all day?
Katoomba Street Art – Explore the town of Katoomba and you’ll find plenty of very artistic street art!
Visit the Yellow Deli – As the only ‘Yellow Deli’ in Australia this place may be popular but it’s certainly unique to Katoomba!
Take a Horse Riding tour across the Blue Mountains – There are so many farms out in the Mountains and many of them offer Horse Riding tours around the Blue Mountains which I think is pretty cool!
Best Time of Year to Visit the Blue Mountains?
I’d say anytime during the Australian spring is perfect! Spring in Australia is anytime from early September to November. Don’t get me wrong, the views in the Blue Mountains will be epic in summer with those clear skies. The photographs I’ve seen of summer are perfect, especially at sunrise and sunset. But summertime in Sydney is extremely hot and my idea of hiking in Australia isn’t in summer. Honestly, you spend more time sweating than enjoying yourself. Summer is also the busiest time for tourism in Australia!
In spring the temperature is perfect for hiking and there are fewer crowds. If you really want to avoid the crowds then visit the Blue Mountains in winter but it will be cold and they do get snow up there so just do your research and be prepared!
Check out the Australian Tourism website for information about the best times to visit Sydney in terms of weather!
Sharing is Caring!
The Blue Mountains day trip is one of the best you can do from Sydney. After living in the big city for 6 months it’s so nice to have these beautiful places so close by. Sydney is busy and tourist-heavy it can be so overwhelming sometimes! But with the likes of the Blue Mountains not too far away, it’s easy and so refreshing to get out of the city even for just a day.
I hope you enjoyed this post about taking a Blue Mountains day trip! If you did enjoy it then I would so grateful if you could share this post with your friends.
Heading to Australia? Well, you might like some of my other posts on Australia which you can find here! Its the most beautiful country I’ve visited so far and will always hold a very special place in my heart! Make sure you sign up to my monthly newsletter (sidebar) to keep updated on where I’m heading next, life updates and the occasional travel freebie!