Blue Mountains, NSW ©Tourism Australia
nsw

Guide to the Blue Mountains

Federal Pass, Blue Mountains National Park, Katoomba, NSW © Huy Nguyen

Set out on a trail

Soak up the streams, waterfalls, forested valleys and cliffs of the Blue Mountains along the many well-marked walking trails. Follow the original 1884 horse track from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves on the three-day Six Foot Track, or take the easy 1.8-kilometre (1.1-mile) Princes Rock Walk to a lookout over Wentworth Falls, Kings Tableland and Mount Solitary. You can also wade and boulder-hop your way down Glenbrook Gorge, on the three-kilometre (1.9-mile) Glenbrook Gorge Track, or creep up the sheer cliffs around Wentworth Falls on the challenging National Pass.

Blue Mountains Explorer Bus, Blue Mountains, NSW © Zenith Tourism Group

Take a tour

Though many Blue Mountains walks can be done independently, it's best to join a guided tour if you're unfamiliar with the region and weather conditions. Life's an Adventure offers a great Six Foot Track tour, as well as a two-day Wolgan Valley and Glow Worm Cave Walk. You can also discover the Blue Mountains' rich Aboriginal heritage on a walking tour with a local Darug guide from Blue Mountains Walkabout. If your feet need a rest, spend a day on the hop-on hop-off Blue Mountains Explorer Bus or with Blue Mountains Trolley Tours. Both companies visit 29 stops, including the major attractions, around Leura and Katoomba.

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains, NSW © Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

Stay in a luxury hotel

Nestled among the stunning scenery of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa is Australia’s first luxury wildlife and conservation-based resort. Built around a restored 1832 homestead, the resort is made up of free-standing suites with private terraces and swimming pools. Closer to town is Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort and Spa, a five-star hotel housed in a historic country mansion. Set on beautiful, manicured gardens, the property overlooks the spectacular Jamison Valley and is the perfect base from which to explore the Upper Blue Mountains. The views from the recently restored Hydro Majestic are also magic, with the historic hotel stretching one kilometre (0.62 miles) along the escarpment edge, overlooking the picturesque Megalong Valley. 

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, NSW © Tourism Australia

Take in the views of the Three Sisters

The Three Sisters is one of the most visited sites in the Blue Mountains. They watch over the land of the traditional country of the Darug, Gundungurra, Wiradjuri and Dharwal Aboriginal people. According to one Aboriginal legend, the pillars were once three beautiful sisters named Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo who were turned into stone by a powerful tribal elder. This dramatic rock formation is best seen from Echo Point Lookout, however you can also get up close on a walking trail to the top of the Three Sisters via Honeymoon Bridge. Be sure to pay a visit to the Waradah Aboriginal Centre at Echo Point to learn more about how the Three Sisters were formed.

Scenic World, Katoomba, Blue Mountains, NSW © Destination New South Wales

Take the family to Scenic World

A trip to the Blue Mountains wouldn't be complete without calling into Scenic World at Katoomba. There you can ride the Scenic Skyway gondola across Jamison Valley, taking in views of the Three Sisters, Mount Solitary and Katoomba Falls. Scenic World is also home to the Scenic Railway, the world's steepest incline railway, descending more than 400 metres (0.25 miles) down the escarpment. This thrilling ride passes through a long tunnel and gorge, ending on the valley floor, and is a huge hit with children. 

Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains, NSW © Tourism Australia

Explore Jenolan Caves

With 11 spectacular show caves, underground rivers and awe-inspiring formations, Jenolan Caves is among the finest and oldest cave systems in the world. You can explore the caves on a guided day tour, get goosebumps on a ghost tour or enjoy a monthly cave concert with natural acoustics and fairytale ambience. Above ground, stroll through the bush and marvel at Blue Lake – you may even spot a kangaroo, wombat or the elusive platypus. Have lunch at the award-winning Chisholm's Restaurant, in historic Caves House, where you can also stay the night.

Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens, Blue Mountains, NSW © Tourism Australia

Visit the Botanic Garden

With thousands of plants from the Southern Hemisphere and around the world, including the rare Wollemi Pine, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah is a must-see for nature lovers. The cool-climate garden is 1,000 metres (0.62 miles) above sea level and has stunning views across the area. Wander around the estate and explore the many formal gardens. The Botanists Way Discovery Centre is also worth checking out to learn about early botanists who came to the area in search of rare plants. 

Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, Blue Mountains, NSW © Destination New South Wales

Head into town

The Blue Mountains is a place to eat, drink and indulge. Lunch on Leura's pretty tree-lined streets, before browsing the galleries and boutiques. Sit down for coffee and cake in an Art Deco café in Katoomba, and shop for gourmet food at Blackheath. During winter in July embrace Yulefest celebrations, with many businesses putting on traditional Christmas spreads, with log fires, singalongs and mountain hospitality. Book a table in the grand dining room at The Carrington hotel, in Katoomba, or head to the sprawling Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains, in Leura, for a sumptuous Christmas buffet. When it's not Yulefest, reserve a table at the lauded Darley's Restaurant at Lilianfels, or at the nearby fine dining Echoes Restaurant and Bar in Echoes Hotel. 

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