Millions of people each year head to Sydney’s west to visit the Blue Mountains. Loved by international tourists and local Sydney-siders alike, the Blue Mountains region is one of the most popular day and weekend destinations in New South Wales.
Countless walking tracks, beautiful waterfalls, deep valleys and canyons, thriving rainforests and numerous lookout points with breathtaking views, the Blue Mountains truly has something for everyone.
To help you decide where to go and how best to spend your time in this beautiful national park, we have come up with an extensive list of best things to do in the Blue Mountains.
15 Things to do in the Blue Mountains:
- Walk to the Three Sisters
- Go Hiking in Wentworth Falls
- Explore the Township of Katoomba
- Visit Govetts Leap Lookout
- Do All the Scenic World Rides
- Have a Meat Pie in Wentworth Falls
- Visit the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
- Hike to Katoomba Falls
- Visit the Jenolan Caves
- Do the Grand Canyon Walk
- Visit Warragamba Dam and Lake Burragorang Lookout
- Have High Tea with a View
- Enjoy a Picnic at Leura Cascades
- Visit Pulpit Rock Lookout
- Stroll the Streets of Leura
15 Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
Here are 15 ideas for top things to do in the greater Blue Mountains region.
1. Walk to the Three Sisters
For many tourists visiting the Blue Mountains for the first time, the Three Sisters is on top of the list of sights to see in the Blue Mountains. They form an unusual rock formation on the north escarpment of the Jamison Valley, close to Katoomba.
The Three Sisters were formed by land erosion by wind, rain and rivers, causing the sandstone cliffs surrounding the Jamison Valley to be slowly broken up over time.
The best views of the Three Sisters can be enjoyed from Echo Point, perhaps the most famous lookout point in the Blue Mountains. But it’s much more exciting to meet the Three Sisters in person by following a short walking track from Echo Point.
Once you’re at the Three Sisters, you can choose to head further down into the valley via the famous Giant Stairway, consisting of more than 800 well-maintained steel and stone steps. It’s an amazing experience that is well worth your time and effort.
2. Go Hiking in Wentworth Falls
Wentworth Falls is one of the most popular bushwalking destinations in the Blue Mountains and in New South Wales as a whole.
The name Wentworth Falls refers to the famous 3-tiered, 187m high waterfall, but it is also the name of the town where the waterfall is located.
There are lots of different walking tracks to choose from in the Wentworth Falls area, some quite short and easy, others much longer and more challenging.
In addition to walks, there are also several lookout points spread out across Wentworth Falls that offer spectacular views.
If you don’t want to spend too much time hiking but still want to see the waterfall and enjoy views of the valley, the 1.5 km Wentworth Falls track is the best option.
Starting at the Wentworth Falls picnic area, this easy track passes several lookout points and ends on top of the waterfall.
The Overcliff Undercliff and National Pass walking tracks are great options if you’d like to head deeper into the valley for some serious bushwalking.
3. Explore the Township of Katoomba
Home to many of the famous tourist attractions, Katoomba is by far the most popular and most visited town in the Blue Mountains. Katoomba’s main street offers a great variety of restaurants and cafes, in addition to several galleries and heritage buildings.
Katoomba also has its own train station with a direct connection to the city, which makes this town the perfect starting point for a day well spent in the Blue Mountains.
4. Visit Govetts Leap Lookout
One of the most impressive lookouts in the Blue Mountains is the Govetts Leap Lookout near Blackheath which offers spectacular views of the Grose Valley.
This lookout is also the starting point of several short and long hiking tracks, one of them leading to the Barrow Lookout from where you can see the waterfall from close by.
Govetts Leap was named after William Govett, a painter and surveyor, and also the first European settler to have visited this area. According to the sign at the lookout, he first discovered this beautiful spot almost two centuries ago, in June 1831.
Once you’re finished sightseeing and/or hiking around Govetts Leap, head into Blackheath town for some great lunch options and a well-deserved cup of coffee.
5. Do All the Scenic World Rides
Open every day of the year from 9am until 5pm, Scenic World in Katoomba is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Blue Mountains.
Visitors to Scenic World can enjoy a variety of rides – known as Experiences – that all offer breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery characterised by valleys, waterfalls and rainforest.
The most exciting Experience is the Scenic Skyway, a cable car with glass floor that glides above the rainforest of Jamison Valley canopy between two cliff tops. With 360° views, this 720 metre trip provides amazing views of Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters, and the valley stretching to the horizon.
You don’t necessarily need to purchase tickets for the rides in order to access Scenic World. The complex is accessible for everyone to freely wander around and explore the area. For example, Katoomba Falls can be accessed via Scenic World (see number 8 in this list of things to do in the Blue Mountains).
6. Have a Meat Pie in Wentworth Falls
It’s no secret that Australians have a love affair with meat pies. Some of the best meat pies, at least that’s what we believe, are prepared and served in the Blue Mountains!
What better way to reward yourself after a day of sightseeing and hiking than with a hot meat pie and a freshly brewed cup of coffee? Head to Mountain High Pies in Wentworth Falls to find out for yourself what all the fuss is about.
7. Visit the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
Situated in Mount Tomah, 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 garden is managed by Botanic Gardens Trust which also looks after the Royal Botanic Garden in the Sydney CBD and the Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan.
8. Hike to Katoomba Falls
Often overlooked by tourists, Katoomba Falls is a beautiful segmented waterfall located between Echo Point and Scenic World in the Blue Mountains.
A short but scenic circuit walk starting at Scenic World guides you through lush rainforest all the way to the waterfall with panoramic views of Jamison Valley and beyond.
Arguably one of the prettiest waterfalls in the greater Blue Mountains region, Katoomba Falls forms part of the Kedumba River which drops almost 150 meters into the valley.
The track to the waterfall is not at all difficult and is a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery around Scenic World, the waterfall and Jamison Valley.
9. Visit the Jenolan Caves
Situated in the Central Tablelands region, the Jenolan Caves are known to be the largest, most spectacular and most famous caves in Australia.
The Jenolan Caves are also considered to be the world’s oldest known and dated open cave system, approximately 340 million years of age.
Open daily, visitors to the Jenolan Caves can choose from several guided tours to explore some of the caves with spectacular and unique limestone formations.
10. Do the Grand Canyon Walk
Often regarded as the most impressive and most enjoyable walking track in the Blue Mountains, the Grand Canyon Walk will leave you in awe as you hike through lush rainforest with several creek crossings, waterfalls, huge sandstone walls and rock overhangs.
Opened to the public in 1907, the 6km long Grand Canyon walking track was the first of its kind and has since been challenged by thousands of hiking enthusiasts each year.
While it has some very steep sections, the track can be conquered by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. The cooler temperatures in the valley make this walk a pleasant adventure during warm summer months too.
One of the highlights is is the Evans Lookout which offers breathtaking views of the Grose Valley. It was named after George Evans, a local solicitor who was supposedly the first to discover this viewing point in back 1882.
11. Visit Warragamba Dam and Lake Burragorang Lookout
With construction completed in 1960, Warragamba Dam is now Australia’s largest concrete dam and is responsible for the creation of Lake Burragorang, Sydney’s primary reservoir for water supply.
A visit to this amazing piece of engineering is well worth your time, as you discover the fascinating history and the significance of the dam.
The dam has created a reservoir capacity of more than 2K gigalitres of water with the surface area of the lake covering 75 square kilometres.
Located around 40 km south of the dam, Lake Burragorang Lookout is an absolute must, offering incredible views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
12. Have High Tea with a View
Located on a clifftop overlooking the Megalong Valley on the western side of the Great Western Highway in in the leafy town of Medlow Bath, the iconic, heritage listed, Hydro Majestic Hotel is a tourist destination in its own right.
Built and marketed as a luxurious hydropathic sanatorium, the Hydro Majestic now offers art deco inspired accommodation, several restaurants, a ballroom and function rooms, a pavilion and retail shops.
One of the most popular things to do at the Hydro Majestic is a high tea session, served in the classic Wintergarden room with panoramic views overlooking the scenic Megalong Valley.
Spend an afternoon at the Hydro Majestic and indulge on finger sandwiches, petit pastries, freshly baked scones with homemade jam and cream, specialty coffees and teas.
13. Enjoy a Picnic at Leura Cascades
Did you know that part of what is now a peaceful picnic area was once a public swimming bath? The Katoomba Municipal Baths were opened in 1913 by the Hon. Arthur Griffiths, Minister for Public Works, with separate sections for women and men.
Fast forward one century, and instead of going for a swim, we can now enjoy a pleasant picnic with great facilities such as tables, seating and plenty of shaded sections.
But a picnic is not the only reason to visit this scenic area. The Leura Cascades walking track is a short but picturesque trail along Leura Falls Creek, leading up to a beautiful lookout point with amazing view of Jamison Valley.
14. Visit Pulpit Rock Lookout
Another lookout that deserves a spot this list of top things to do in the Blue Mountains is the Pulpit Rock lookout point near Blackheath. It sits on a large cliff edge with three viewing points spread across different levels, connected via several sets of stairs.
It’s not hard to spend a few hours at Pulpit Rock to take in the panoramic views of the valley and mountain tops on the other side. And without the big crowds, there is more opportunity to make some really beautiful photos, especially at sunset or sunrise.
15. Stroll the Streets of Leura
The last tip in this list of top things to do in the Blue Mountains is exploring the small town of Leura.
One of the best spots to refuel with a good lunch and a cup of coffee is Leura, a township quietly nestled between Wentworth Falls and Katoomba. Leura’s main strip, Leura Mall, is a pleasant accumulation of a great variety of different coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques and galleries.
But please do go ahead explore Leura beyond the main street, and discover its tree-lined streets, small-town village appeal, nineteenth century cottages and beautiful cool climate gardens. One of the highlights is the annual Leura Garden Festival, held each year for six days in the month of October.
How to Get to the Blue Mountains
The Nepean River forms the eastern boundary of the Blue Mountains which is 60km west from downtown Sydney, with Katoomba an extra 40km further away.
The region is easily accessible by car, public transport as well as by organised tour.
1. By Car
As with most national parks, the best way to explore the Blue Mountains is by car. The M4, otherwise known as the Western Motorway, feeds into the Blue Mountains from Parramatta and Sydney. Keep in mind that this is a toll road though.
Once in the Blue Mountains, the Western Motorway turns into the Great Western Highway, which continues past Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Medlow Bath, Blackheath, Mount Victoria and all the way to Bathhurst.
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.
2. By Public Transport
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 and Katoomba. 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.
An even better option is the popular hop on hop off Blue Mountains Explorer Bus, otherwise known as the HOHO bus.
This bus stops at all the major sights in the area – such as Echo Point and Scenic World – and the drivers are known to be very friendly and knowledgeable.
3. By Organised Tour
Another way to visit the Blue Mountains is by booking a professional Blue Mountains tour.
A day tour to the Blue Mountains is a great way to see all the highlights in comfort and style. This is especially true if you’ve never been there before, you don’t really know how to get around, and you don’t have your own transport.
Have a look at our list of recommended Blue Mountains tours to see if there is any tour that suits your personal needs.
Where to Stay in the Blue Mountains
If you’d like to stay a few days in the Blue Mountains, there are plenty of options for good hotels with reasonable prices.
Hidden away in four acres of peaceful and secluded gardens in Wentworth Falls, the Falls Mountain Retreat offers fully self-contained, serviced apartment style accommodation, close to famous walking trails, waterfalls and breathtaking views.
located on the edge of the Jamison Valley in Leura, the Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains is the pinnacle of upscale accommodation and features a wide range of free leisure activities, including 2 swimming pools, a tennis court, a day spa and a fitness center.
The heritage listed The Carrington Hotel is only a stone’s throw away from Katoomba train station and offers spacious guest rooms & suites in an array of different styles, catering for all tastes and budgets.
Staying overnight at the Hydro Majestic in Medlow Bath is like going back in time. Situated on the escarpment edge overlooking the Megalong Valley, the Hydro Majestic offers a unique hotel experience in beautiful surroundings.
Nestled on 11 hectares of gardens and only 1 km from Blackheath train station, Parklands Country Gardens and Lodges offers a unique Blue Mountains experience with a variety of sophisticated rooms and suites to choose from.
Best Time to Visit the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains can be visited all year round, but be mindful that the seasons are very different.
Summer can be very warm and humid, but usually a bit cooler than in the city. The warmer months are great for short walking tracks, camping, visiting lookout points and swimming in natural swimming holes underneath waterfalls.
Autumn with its cooler temperatures is a perfect season to go out hiking and exploring the towns of Leura and Katoomba.
Winter is also a good time to go hiking but it’s best to avoid heading out after long periods of rain. Despite the cold temperatures, hiking in the Blue Mountains can be a very pleasant experience when the sun is shining.
Spring is great for all activities in the Blue Mountains, especially with the festivals and gardens at full bloom.
Before you head out to the Blue Mountains, be sure to read the following articles to learn more about the great things you can do and see in this beautiful national park.
Best Walking Tracks:
A varied selection of eight of the best Blue Mountains walking tracks, complete with description, distance, duration and grade.
Best Lookout Points:
A varied selection of ten of the most impressive lookout points in the greater Blue Mountains region.
Wentworth Falls Hiking Guide:
An indepth hiking guide for the Wentworth Falls area with the best walking tracks and lookouts, plus information on how to get there and where to stay.