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Blue Mountains, Just Outside of Sydney

Wentworth Falls, Australia
Wentworth Falls from the viewpoint across the canyon. You can't even see the entire thing!

The Blue Mountains are just a couple hours away from Central Sydney, and worth a visit if you have a few days. There are several tours operating out of Sydney, they cost about $70 aud and provide round trip transport, a guide, tea and cookies. The tour we went on included a boat cruise from Olympic Park Wharf to Circular Quay as well, stopping at Darling Harbor. This was a pleasant surprise as it meant we got a quick overview of Olympic Park also which was pretty cool, and saved me the train ride and time doing it myself.

Three Sisters in the fog, Blue Mountains
One of the most iconic images of the Blue Mountains, the Three Sisters. Personally, I found them over-rated.

Our tour stopped at a river on the way, where we paid, and had tea and cookies. Not sure why they did this, but it was only for about 30 minutes. From there we entered the park, and went looking for Kangaroos. I’m sure this was cool for those who had never seen a Kangaroo in the wild, but if you’ve been around Australia at all, you’ve probably seen loads. On the Great Ocean Road tour we must have seen several hundred, so seeing 1 medium sized male here was not that exciting. Next we carried on to a viewpoint for Wentworth falls; this is where the tour started picking up for me, Wentworth Falls are very cool as you can see from the photo above.

Katoomba Falls, Blue Mountains
Katoomba Falls as seen from the cable car crossing the canyon

From Wentworth Falls we went and had lunch in some small town before carrying on to Scenic World. Scenic World is basically a little tourist center built around the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, and the rainforest. It features 2 cable cars and a train providing easy access and vistas to the said attractions. You’ll have to pay an extra $20 to participate here, but its worth it. The view and photo opportunty from the cable car in front of Katoomba Falls are unrivaled, and the cable car down to the forest floor is fun as well. Take a walk around the rainforest for a little bit, then head back up to the main building via the world’s steepest railway car (see video below).

Scenic World Cable Car, Blue Mountains
The cable car crossing the gorge has a glass bottom and provides amazing views of Katoomba Falls
Termite Hill in the rain forrest of the Blue Mountains
At scenic world, you can take another cable car down to the rainforest below. From the bottom they have several walks varying in length you can do through the rainforest

From scenic world we carried on to a viewpoint over the Blue Mountains and forest called King’s Tableland. This was pretty cool, but unfortunately the weather was cloudy, so we didn’t get to take it in in full. This was our last stop in the actual Blue Mountains National Park, from here we headed back towards Sydney to Olympic Park. 20 minutes driving through Olympic Park with commentary about what each building was, and a toilet stop out front of ANZ Stadium, then off to the Wharf. We boarded the cruise and took off down the river, and into Sydney Harbor, with views of Darling Harbor, Harbor Bridge, and lastly, the Opera House. The cruise ended out front of the Opera House and Harbor Bridge in Circular Quay, and so did the tour. So, for $90 out the door, we got to see pretty much all the highlights of Sydney in one day.

Kings Tableland, Blue Mountains
Leaning over the Kings Tableland, a cool viewpoint overlooking parts of the Blue Mountains. Directly off the ledge you can see the bones of several old cars which people drove off the ledge

If you’re on a budget and travelling with friends, I recommend renting a car and doing the tour yourself. A car with full coverage insurance costs less than $100 a day, and with fuel would probaly be less than $150 total. Split that 4 ways and you’re looking at less than $40 each for transporation. This also allows you to go at your own pace.

We weren’t able to find a tour which included them, but apparently the Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains are quite good too.

The World’s Steepest Railway Car at Scenic World, Blue Mountains

Overall, the tour was a very good value as far as tours go in Australia, however you can see the Blue Mountains for cheaper doing it on your own. Train options exist as well, but the attractions are quite spread out, so not sure this is a good option.

Blue Mountains Map

2 Good comments on "Blue Mountains, Just Outside of Sydney"

  • aileen  @ Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    Hi, very informative. May I ask the name of the tour operator you got? thanks!

    • Mike  @ Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 12:38 AM

      Hi Aileen, I can’t remember the name but I tried to find it online.  It was one of the main ones going out of Sydney, I think it may have been this: http://truebluetours.net.au/files/brochure.pdf.  Either way I think most of the agencies are fairly comparable.  Hope this helps!

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