Sydney’s most popular weekend destination, the Blue Mountains, is home to countless walking tracks, beautiful sights, scenic waterfalls and trendy towns.
With so many things to see and do in the Blue Mountains, it can be challenging for first-time visitors to work out where to go in one day.
In this article we are sharing different Blue Mountains day trip itineraries by car, by train, or alternatively, by organised day tour.
Blue Mountains Day Trips:
3 Blue Mountains Day Trip Itineraries by Train
The Blue Mountains Train Line offers regular services from Sydney Central Station to the Blue Mountains, stopping at Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Medlow Bath, Blackheath and Mount Victoria.
If travelling by train, the best stops are Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba and Blackheath. From Wentworth Falls train station it’s an easy walk to the actual waterfall and local walking tracks.
Both the Leura and Katoomba train stations are close to the respective town centres, from where you can catch local buses to the various tourist hot spots.
Here are three suggested Blue Mountains day trip itineraries if travelling by train.
Itinerary 1: The Charles Darwin Walk and Wentworth Falls Area
The beauty of the Charles Darwin walking track is that it links the train station in the village of Wentworth Falls with the actual waterfall and surrounding area.
From the train station, head towards Wilson Park situated on the other side of the Great Western Highway. A very recognisable arch-shaped entrance marks the start of the Charles Darwin walk.
The walk was named after Charles Darwin to commemorate his inland 1836 journey when he crossed the Blue Mountains on his way to Bathurst.
It’s an easy 2.4km walk that shouldn’t take much longer than 1 hour. Once at the waterfall, visit the Rocket Point Lookout via a short circuit trail starting at the waterfall. The views of both the waterfall and the Jamison Valley are absolutely amazing.
Retrace your steps back to the top of the waterfall, and make your way down to the middle of the waterfall via the Grand Stairway, which is part of the famous National Pass walking track.
Depending on how much time you have, you can either continue the walk deeper into the valley, or you can hike back to the top of the waterfall via the Grand Stairway.
From there, instead of going back to the train station, follow the Wentworth Falls Track towards the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area, which takes in a few great lookout points.
Itinerary 2: Exploring the Leura and Katoomba Area
This second Blue Mountains day trip itinerary by train includes all the best highlights from the Leura and Katoomba region in the Blue Mountains.
From Leura train station, catch bus 695 from Leura Mall to Olympian Parade. From there it’s a short walk to the Olympian Rock lookout point (map), which offers breathtaking views of the Three Sisters, the Jamison Valley, and beyond.
From Olympian Rock, follow the Prince Henry Cliff Walk westbound towards Leura Cascades, with Bridal Veil View and the Tarpeian Lookout point along the way to enjoy.
If you brought your own lunch with you, the picnic area at Leura Cascades is the perfect spot to site down and have a rest, amid beautiful surroundings.
Cross the Honeymoon Bridge to get up close and personal with the first of the Three Sisters, after which you can follow the easy Three Sisters Walk to Echo Point, one of the most famous lookout points in the Blue Mountains.
From Cliff Drive, catch bus 686 to the Katoomba town centre, from where you jump on the train back to Sydney.
If you do have spare time, you can also head to Scenic World to do some exploring there, before heading to the Katoomba town centre. The same bus 686 passes Scenic World.
Itinerary 3: Blackheath and the Grand Canyon Walk
This Blue Mountains day trip itinerary explores the Blackheath area, and includes two of the most scenic lookout points in the greater Blue Mountains region.
This way, you’ll be doing the 6km Grand Canyon circuit walk in an anticlockwise manner, starting with a steep zigzag-style path descending into the valley.
At the other end of the walk is Evans Lookout, which offers breathtaking views of the immense Grose Valley. From this lookout, it’s an easy walk back to the bus stop from where you can catch a bus to the Blackheath town centre.
Blackheath is a great town to refuel with coffee and lunch, with lots of cafes to choose from, all very close to the train station.
If you have time and energy left, you can choose to visit the Govetts Leap lookout. Catch the same bus 698 to the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre, from where it’s an easy walk to the Govetts Leap lookout point.
3 Blue Mountains Day Trip Itineraries by Car
As with most national parks, the best way to explore the Blue Mountains is by car. Driving by car will allow you to visit the major sights and walking tracks, in addition to the lesser known destinations, at your own pace.
Getting to the Blue Mountains by car is super easy. The M4, otherwise known as the Western Motorway, feeds into the Blue Mountains from Parramatta and Sydney.
Once in the Blue Mountains, the Western Motorway changes into the Great Western Highway, which continues past Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Medlow Bath, Blackheath, Mount Victoria and all the way to Bathhurst.
Here are three suggested Blue Mountains day trip itineraries if travelling by car.
Itinerary 1: The Best Blue Mountains Lookouts
This Blue Mountains day trip itinerary involves visiting 6 of the most scenic lookouts in the Blue Mountains.
The route we follow starts in Wentworth Falls, followed by Katoomba, and finishes in the Blackheath area. It’s a very relaxing day trip, with hardly any walking required.
1. Lincoln’s Rock Lookout
Located just south of Wentworth Falls on the Kings Tableland plateau, Lincoln’s Rock is a unique and historically important sight with panoramic views of Jamison Valley and far beyond.
But It’s not just the views though that attracts visitors to this lookout. It’s also the unique photo opportunity, sitting on the edge of a cliff, that makes this spot so popular in today’s Instagram-driven society.
Lincoln’s Rock is located at the end of Hordern Road in Wentworth Falls where you can park your car.
2. Wentworth Falls Lookout
The next stop is the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area, which has two beautiful lookout points within walking distance.
The first lookout point is the Jamison Lookout, followed by the Wentworth Falls Lookout a few hundred metres further away. Both of these lookouts offer superb views of the Jamison Valley and Mount Solitary.
The Wentworth Falls Picnic Area is easily accessible via Falls Road from the Great Western Highway.
3. Echo Point Lookout
We are leaving Wentworth Falls behind and are heading towards Echo Point, by far the most famous lookout point in the greater Blue Mountains region.
If you do have spare time and don’t mind a bit of walking, it’s recommended to follow the short and easy Three Sisters Walk that leads to the Honeymoon Bridge which is attached to the first of the Three Sisters.
4. Cahill’s Lookout
The next stop is very close to Echo Point but attracts far less tourists, despite the fact that the views are just as stunning.
Quietly tucked away along the westernmost point of Cliff Drive, the Cahill’s Lookout offers breathtaking views of the valley, Megalong Head, Boars Head Rock and the Narrow Neck Peninsula.
To get to Cahill’s Lookout from Echo Point, simply follow Cliff Drive past Scenic World, and eventually turn left into a smaller road that continues as Cliff Drive.
5. Govetts Leap Lookout
We are now leaving the Katoomba area and are heading towards Blackheath via the Great Western Highway. The very impressive Govetts Leap Lookout can be accessed by turning into Govetts Leap Road in Blackheath.
In the vicinity of the lookout are various short and long hiking trails, one of them leading to the Barrow Lookout from where you can see the Bridal Veil Falls from close by.
6. Pulpit Rock Lookout
The last lookout in this Blue Mountains day trip is perhaps the most impressive one. And not just because of the views, but also because of the way this lookout was built.
Pulpit Rock is essentially a multi-tiered lookout with several platforms on different levels, connected via a walking path with several sets of stairs.
From Govetts Leap lookout, drive back to Blackheath, turn right onto the Great Western Highway, and turn into Hat Hill Road and follow the signs to Pulpit Rock lookout.
Itinerary 2: Wentworth Falls, Leura Cascades and Katoomba Falls
This second Blue Mountains day trip by car involves three of the prettiest waterfalls and cascades in the Blue Mountains. Various short and longer walking tracks will get you very close to these waterfalls with great photo opportunities.
The first waterfall is the beautiful, 3-tiered, 187m high waterfall that is Wentworth Falls. Park your car at the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area and follow the walking track to the top of the waterfall.
From there, continue on the path that leads to the famous Grand Stairway, which is part of the National Pass walking track. The Grand Stairway brings visitors to the middle of the waterfall, with excellent views and photo opportunities.
The next stop is the Leura Cascades Picnic Area, located along Cliff Drive in Leura. To get there, turn right into Cliff Drive from Leura Mall, following the signs.
The Leura Cascades walking track is a short but scenic bushwalk along Leura Falls Creek, leading up to a beautiful lookout point with amazing views of Jamison Valley.
Make a day of it and enjoy lunch outdoors amidst the beautiful scenery of the Leura Cascades picnic area. If you didn’t bring lunch with you, it’s a good idea to visit one of the many cafes in Leura for some food and a coffee.
You will need the energy, because the next destination requires a bit of bushwalking.
From the Leura Cascades Picnic Area, follow Cliff Drive past Echo Point until you arrive at Scenic World, where you can park your car.
A short but picturesque circuit walk, starting at Scenic World, guides hikers through lush rainforest all the way to beautiful Katoomba Falls, with panoramic views of Jamison Valley.
Arguably one of the prettiest waterfalls in the Blue Mountains, Katoomba Falls forms part of the Kedumba River which drops almost 150 meters into the valley below.
The circuit walk takes roughly 90 minutes, and while there are a few steep sections, the track overall isn’t too difficult.
Itinerary 3: Mount Banks and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
The third Blue Mountains day trip itinerary explores a different part of the Blue Mountains that is mostly ignored by tourists.
Mount Banks, with its distinctive rounded peak, is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the greater Blue Mountains region.
The hike to the summit of Mt Banks offers beautiful views of the surrounding area, a part of the Blue Mountains that is still a bit undiscovered.
The Mount Banks summit walk starts at the Mount Banks picnic area which has a small car park and basic toilet facilities.
From Bells Line of Road, turn into Mount Banks Rd at the big signpost. Mount Banks Rd is a 1km unsealed dirt road, but can be conquered by a normal 2WD vehicle.
Mount Banks Rd is located 10km west of the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Mount Tomah, and 28km east of Lithgow.
Once you’ve completed the hike to the summit of Mt Banks, a visit to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden only makes sense because it is so close by.
The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is a 28ha public botanic garden that features thousands of plants from the southern hemisphere and around the world.
Established in 1972, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden sits at 1,000 metres above sea level and specialises in cool-climate plants that would not grow well in Sydney’s warmer conditions. This is why you’ll be able to see a lot of unique plants in this park.
The Botanic Garden also has a lovely restaurant that serves great coffee with lots of food options, in addition to a kiosk for light meals and takeaway coffee.
Alternative: Blue Mountains Day Trip by Organised Tour
If you don’t have a car and you prefer not to travel by public transport, an organised day tour is the perfect solution to experience the highlights of the Blue Mountains in comfort. Most organized day tours include a visit to Featherdale Wildlife Park, and also a cruise over the Parramatta River returning back to Sydney.
When looking for a suitable tour, it’s important to look at all inclusions and exclusion, vehicle type (coach or mini van), duration, reviews, and of course the actual tour operator. Below are two of the best organised day tours that are great value for money and include the most popular highlights.
1. Blue Mountains All Inclusive: Tour, Lunch and Water Taxi
Managed by Diamond Tours, this popular Blue Mountains day tour includes a visit to Featherdale Wildlife Park, all rides at Scenic World, Echo Point and the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls and an excellent lunch with drinks.
What’s great about this particular tour is that you’ll be transported in a mini-van with a maximum of 4 people, which makes the whole experience very enjoyable. A comfortable private water taxi brings you back to Darling Harbour and Circular Quay on the Parramatta River.
- Transport by air-conditioned mini van (max 14 people)
- Three rides at Scenic World
- Lunch with 6 menu options
- Admission to Featherdale Wildlife Park
- Private water taxi back to Sydney
2. Blue Mountains Day Trip and River Cruise
This small-group Blue Mountains day tour takes in highlights such as the Three Sisters, Jamison Valley, the Scenic World rides, a complementary lunch at Wentworth Falls and a visit to Featherdale Wildlife Park. A comfortable boat cruise on the Parramatta River brings you back to Circular Quay.
The first stop of this tour is at Leura where you can have a wander around and visit the many shops, boutiques and art galleries. A complimentary morning tea will prepare you for the big day ahead.
- Transport by air-conditioned mini coach
- Three rides at Scenic World
- Lunch at Wentworth Falls
- Admission to Featherdale Wildlife Park
- River cruise back to Circular Quay