An Instagrammers' guide to the Blue Mountains
From edgy street art to misty waterfalls, the Blue Mountains is full of photogenic spots to snap for your Instagram feed.
By Allie Metz
The beauty of this ancient area has been shaped and reshaped by the forces of nature, leaving in its wake a remarkable region that will surprise and delight even the most seasoned photographer.
Head inland and up into the mountains for misty mornings over sweeping landscapes that will provide you with countless photo opportunities. Less than two hours from Sydney, the Blue Mountains truly are a world all their own. Uncover the charm hidden in the streets of its small towns or walk the scenic trails to find incredible lookouts, waterfalls and caves that look stunning from every angle.
Here are some of the best spots to capture the beauty of the Blue Mountains.
The Three Sisters
The soaring weathered sandstone cliffs of the Blue Mountains will make you feel small, especially when you consider they’ve been here for more than 50 million years. This rugged range to the west of Sydney is home to the much-loved Three Sisters, the towering rock formations that constantly change as the sun crosses the sky, casting beautiful shadows and creating a spectacular colour palette as the day goes on. Take the family-friendly Three Sisters Walk for picture-perfect views.
Scenic Skyway gondola
One of the easiest ways to get incredible views of the Three Sisters, Mount Solitary and Katoomba Falls is with a visit to Scenic World at Katoomba. There you can jump aboard the Scenic Skyway gondola across Jamison Valley, taking in the views as you pass over the top of it all. It's 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.
Street Art Walk, Katoomba
Find colour, culture and creativity when you explore the Street Art Walk in Katoomba. This fascinating and varied display of impressive murals and small works can be spotted on prominent building facades as well as tucked into corners and hidden down laneways. This community-driven initiative will brighten your Instagram feed with its unique portrayal of Australian history, its take on modern storytelling and, of course, its collection of unique characters.
Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
At 1,000 metres (3,281 feet) above sea level, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah offers incredible panoramic views over the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Spend a bit of time walking around the lush 28-hectare (69-acre) estate to get incredible photos while learning about the spectacular World Heritage-Listed Blue Mountains region. Visitors can wander through the interpretive centre and learn what makes this area so special, view local art in the exhibition space or grab a snack at the on-site cafe.
South Lawson Waterfall Circuit
If chasing waterfalls is your idea of the perfect way to capture great content, the South Lawson Waterfall Circuit is a must-do. This three-kilometre (two-mile) trail that will take you past four very different waterfalls: Adelina Falls, sand lined Federal Falls, Cataract Falls and Junction Falls. The head of the trail starts just a short distance from the town centre of Lawson, so grab a coffee or some lunch before you set off. Don't worry if the weather isn't perfect - a bit of rain makes these cascades even more impressive.
Govetts Leap Lookout
As you might imagine, there are countless incredible lookouts in the Blue Mountains, and no choice will leave you disappointed. But you can't miss one of Australia's most famous lookouts, Govetts Leap. It will dazzle you with its cascading waterfalls, and sweeping views down the valley to the Grose Wilderness. It's easy to get to, with convenient parking at the lookout and several hikes starting from the same point. If you're looking for a rewarding challenge, take the Govetts Leap Descent walk starting from Govetts Leap Lookout. It's a 1.8-kilometre (1.1-mile) return trail with scenic waterfall views over Grose Valley. Pack a picnic to enjoy at the base of the falls before heading back up the trail.
The Blue Lake
Follow the Jenolan River Walk (an easy three-kilometre/two-mile trail) to the eerie spectactle aptly named The Blue Lake. Your camera will love the bright hues of this unnatural blue colour caused by the limestone sediment in the nearby caves. In addition to snapping photos, be on the lookout for wildlife - wombats are known to walk the trail and the waterholes are also home to elusive platypus.
The Lookout Echo Point, Katoomba
Foodie photographers will love the chance to snap up the delicious plates and stunning views being served at The Lookout at Echo Point. There's a casual restaurant, a funky bar with live music and a snack bar serving takeaway treats, each with breathtaking views over the Jamison Valley. Even if you're grabbing a coffee for the road, you can pop over to the deck or take the short stroll down to Echo Point Lookout to get the perfect shot of The Three Sisters before you continue on your journey. But you're encouraged to settle in for a fantastic, locally-sourced lunch as you take in the picturesque surroundings. This combination of scenery and delectable dishes is the perfect pairing for any photographer.
One of the highlights of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, the Jenolan Caves are a spectacular labyrinth of stalactite-lined limestone chasms carved by underground rivers. Nine of the 300 caves are open for public viewing and there are numerous tours to choose from. The Lucas Cave is one of the most famous. It features the spectacular limestone formation of the Broken Column as well as the Cathedral, a 54-metre (177-foot) high chamber often used for concerts and performances.
Blue Mountains Glow Worm Tour
Embark on a nocturnal adventure into a world of glowing lights when you join the Blue Mountains Glow Worm Tour. You'll descend to the bottom of an ancient sandstone canyon, following its twists and turns, into a natural amphitheatre where thousands of glow worms begin to appear like stars. Your guide will talk about glow worm lifecycles and behaviours - including an explanation of why and how they glow. Located on private property, it's essential to book a tour to experience this incredible natural wonder.