A Day Trip to the Blue Mountains From Sydney, Australia: Katoomba and the Three Sisters
With a name like “The Blue Mountains” you may be expecting something a little different than what actually greets you in Katoomba. For a start, they aren’t blue. They also aren’t really mountains, not the kind you’re used to seeing anyway. Instead a huge expanse of green with a few rocky plateaus thrown in (which I guess may technically be mountains) spreads out before your eyes. But while the name might be a little misleading, there’s nothing disappointing about the Blue Mountains. It’s an amazing place (one of the grandest, greenest places I’ve ever seen) and should be high on your list of things to do while visiting Sydney, Australia. Keep reading to find out how to do a day trip to the Blue Mountains from Sydney, for as little as $2.70!
A Day Trip to the Blue Mountains from Sydney: Getting to Katoomba
The Blue Mountains region is quite large, and it seems like there is a lot to see. You obviously won’t see it all in a day, and if you’re travelling on public transport like we were then it makes sense to visit the Three Sisters in Katoomba. Katoomba is on the Blue Mountains train line and takes two hours to reach from Central Station. Public transport is capped at $2.70 on Sundays so if you want to save some money it’s a good time to go. Plenty of other people have the same idea though, so go early if you can or you might struggle to get a seat on the train. We took the 7.25 am train and it was a good decision. Planning on travelling by train from Sydney to the Blue Mountains? Check out the timetable here.
Once at Katoomba you can catch a bus from just outside the station to Echo Point and the Three Sisters. Katoomba is quite nice (some cool old buildings, street art and nice cafes and boutique shops) so consider stopping on the way back for lunch.
Echo Point and the Three Sisters
A short walk from the bus stop brings you to Echo Point, one of the best places to see sweeping views of the Blue Mountains. From there you can see the famous Three Sisters, which make an interesting foreground to the ocean of trees and rocky outcrops stretching into the distance. It really is an amazing place and it’s good to get there early, before the tour buses arrive and things get crowded. There’s also a lower viewpoint (accessed via a short path) which is even better (and quieter) place to see the Three Sisters.
Journeying into one of the Sisters
The trio of pointy rocks known as the Three Sisters are cool to see from above, but you can also climb down into one of them (which you definitely should do). By this point it was very busy (we did some other things first while waiting for the Three Sisters to emerge from the shadows) and it was a slow trip down. The staircase is very narrow, but it seems safe enough. You’ll eventually reach a bridge which takes you into one of the sisters. There are some great views to be had here and it’s definitely worth the effort.
From Echo Point there’s a track which follows the ridge, via a series of viewpoints, to Katoomba Falls. The views from along this track are awesome and it’s a good place to escape the crowds. There’s a bit of uphill hiking involved but it’s pretty easy. After a short walk you’ll reach Katoomba Cascades (a small waterfall) and slightly further around you’ll see Katoomba Falls crashing down to the forest below. Australia is a notoriously dry country and waterfalls are often reduced to a trickle, as was the case for Katoomba Falls, so don’t expect too much. Again though, the views are amazing.
Walking Back to Echo Point
You can either walk back along the track to Echo Point or walk along the road. The road seems easier (fewer uphill sections) and you can stop and get a coffee or an ice cream along the way. We went to Blue Mountains Chocolate Company, a boutique chocolate shop, and had a delicious hot chocolate. From there it’s a short walk back to Echo Point, where you can take another look at the Three Sisters (if they were shrouded earlier in the morning) and then catch a bus back to Katoomba Station.
You’ll notice a cable car travelling above you at certain points along the walk to Katoomba Falls. This is part of Scenic World, a kind of nature theme park thing featuring a few different rides offering unique perspectives of the scenery below. It’d be a cool thing to do (we would have been hosted if it wasn’t such a busy time, and we didn’t really want to pay for it if it meant having to queue up for rides) so consider checking it out on your Blue Mountains day trip.
After a quick lunch in Katoomba we caught the train back to Sydney, arriving back in the city around 4.30 pm. It was a relaxing day trip as the train rides were comfortable and not too long and there wasn’t too much walking involved once you get to the Blue Mountains. I think it’s the perfect way to do it, and if you go on a Sunday it’ll be an incredibly cheap day out. Of course, you can also drive yourself (meaning you’d be able to stop at a couple of other places along the way — maybe Wentworth Falls) or take a tour.
Are you considering a Blue Mountains day trip? Was this post helpful? Let me know in the comments below!