The Blue Mountains in New South Wales embrases 26 townships in an area of 1433 square kilometres. The townships are situated from 50 to 120 km west of Sydney and are within 1,000 square kilometres of this World Heritage listed National Park.
The Blue Mountains was declared a World Heritage park in November 2000. It was nominated for its outstanding natural values, including the biodiversity of its plant and animal communities, its vegetation, which is dominated by Australia's unique eucalypts, and for the beauty of its natural landscapes.
Take a ride on Skyway, a 720 meter journey 270m above ancient ravines and dazzling waterfalls. Be suspended over Jurassic rainforests as you glide smoothly across the sky.
Ride the steepest incline Railway in the world down to a lush and hidden valley
The 415m descent will lead you through a cliff side tunnel into ancient rainforest.
From here you are free to explore the Scenic Walkway which will guide you through the forest to the Scenic Cableway platform.
The Scenic Railway can carry up to 84 passengers and operates every 10 minutes.
One of the highlight of our Blue Mountain tour was the opportunity to see kangaroos in their natural habitat and not in a zoo.
Our guide told us to be very quiet and walk slowly and you will be able to get close to the kangaroos, but be careful as they can kick you quite hard.
Well, doing my best Elmer Fudd impression (ssh you must be vewy vewy quiet!) I got within touching distance of the kangaroos. They were such wonders to behold! Again like seeing monuments or places on TV or in books that you have seen so many times before, it is awe inspiring to see these places and creatures for real.
We really wanted to see the Blue Mountains which, are not really mountains but foothills at approximately 2,228 meteres (which is 7310 in feet).
I had wanted to go with another travel company that offered the Jenolan caves and the Blue Mountains but our hosts at the B&B strongly recommended Oz Trails. When I compared the two tours it was clear that the best bargin for the money was Oz Trails. The provided morning tea and lunch which was included in our fare, the other tour company did not.
Jeff was our tour guide and despite him being Scottish, he was certainly knowledgeable about Sydney and the Blue Mountains. He told a funny story about a man he had on a tour who told him "I went to Scotland and had an Australian tour guide and I come to Australia and now have a Scottish tour guide!"
Give this company a looksee next time you are planning a trip to Sydney and are in need of a good day tour, then I highly recommend
I would highly recommend you to visit Blue Mountains on your own. That's really no need to join a tour.
Go to Central Railway to take the train to Katoomba or Leura Station. It's a very enjoyable 2 hr train ride, with scenery of outsskirts sydney.
Visit the sydney train website for information on the time schedules and prices, i think i paid about $11 AUD per way from Central Railway to Katoomba.
I took the 9.02am train and arrived at Katoomba 2 hours later. You can hop on the trolley buses directly at Katoomba train station and visit the places of interest at your own pace.
Although the Blue Mountains really can not be done properly in one-day, if you are headed to Sydney, you are really missing out if you do not see them! Located about an hour and a half outside of Sydney to the West, Blue Mountains National Park is a great adventure looking into the Australian countryside. Wentworth Falls is a great spot to hike and see the picturesque waterfall, Katoomba is the home to the Three Sisters and Scenic World, and then there is always the element of shopping in the little town streets throughout the journey. If you are on limited time, I would definitely recommend spending a little of it out here!
On our tour of the Blue Mountains we had the opportunity to ride the "Mine Train" and the Scenisender (suspended tramway).
The mine train is the steepest inclined railway in the world. Oh my gosh! My heart was in my throat as we ascended the incline (aprroximately 45 degree incline) up the canyon wall. The picture shown here are of those who had a death wish, as they rode the train back DOWN the canyon wall. Nuts, I tell you, simply nuts.
The fee for this and the tramway was $15 AUD pp
This day was probably the highlight of my trip to Sydney. For $68 OzTrails took me to the Blue Mountains. The day started well with great friendly drivers, who obviously have a good knowledge of their subject as well as a good sense of humour. Steve, who was our guide for the day took us to Olympic Park for a drive-by tour of the former 2002 Sydney Olympics Venue, before we stopped for morning tea along the banks of the Penrith River. Next we travelled onto Wentworth Falls. After a short bushwalk, we returned to the bus to head to Scenic World. This additional part of the trip was optional ($25 and well worth it by the way) - and consisted of three modes of transport giving you three different views of the Blue Mountains. For lunch we went to Leura where we were given just over an hour to select a venue of our choice for lunch and browse the shops as we saw fit. Back in the bus we went to Flat Rock for an unfenced view of the Blue Mountains which was awesome. Next was a stop at a National Park campground, where we got to see some kangaroos, galahs and rosellas. Lastly, we boarded a boat for a river cruise back to the city, where you could stop at either Darling Harbour or Circular Quay and which was fabulous because it was a much better way to end the day instead of waiting around in the bus for everyone to be dropped back to their individual hotels.
This trip was fantastic and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.
We made our way to the Three Sisters by going to the town of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. We bought tickets for the Scenic Railway, the world’s steepest railway (it was either $7AU or $17AU—I forgot—but I’m more inclined to say $7). The ride is a vertical drop, but not rollercoaster drop. It’s a nice leisurely speed, but exciting nonetheless cuz you do end up almost standing at some point, it’s so steep. I assumed the railway only goes in one direction which is down, but a VT member pointed out she's taken it up before. We took either the Scenic Skyway or Sceniscender (I forget which one was out of commission at the time) back up to the gift shop area.
The Three Sisters are three vertical rock formations that stand side by side. Three beautiful sisters were turned into stone by a witchdoctor to protect them from danger. At that time, some warriors (they were brothers too) from a rival tribe wanted to marry the Sisters but inter-tribal marriage was a big no no. War broke out when the brothers decided to kidnap them anyway. The witchdoctor died before restoring them to human form.
You can't be missing Scenic World when you are in the Blue Mountains. Things have changed so much in between my visits in 1999 and 2004. For one thing, the facade of the place is modernising with time for a more modern "theme-park" look. Another, the old rickety Scenic Skyway was replaced with a newer looking thingagimic. (I was glad I was able to catch a ride on the old dame for a last time)
Take a ride down the steepest incline Railway in the world down into a lush and hidden valley. The 415m descent will lead you through a cliff side tunnel into ancient rainforest. At one point, the gradient is 48 degrees and you will find yourself virtually standing up while you are busy plunging down into the valley.
Once down in the valley, you could choose to do the walks or take the new Scenic Flyway back up. The walks down in the valley are great and cooling. Have a look at the peat rich dark soil and smell the eucalyptus rich air. This is as good as you can get for an initiation to the Blue Mountains.
Admission prices for Scenic Railway:
Adult: A$8 one way; A$16 return
Child: A$4 one way; A$8 return
Family Pass: A$40
Possibly the most visited site in the Blue Mountains! The view is just spectacular on a good sunny day! Come and see how blue are the Blue Mountains! (The bluish mist is caused by fine mists of eucalytus oil floating in the air which distort sunlight into a bluish hue)
Extracted from website below:
THE LEGEND OF THE THREE SISTERS
The Aboriginal dream-time legend has it that three sisters, 'Meehni', 'Wimlah' and Gunnedoo' lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe.
These beautiful young ladies had fallen in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe, yet tribal law forbade them to marry.
The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters causing a major tribal battle.
As the lives of the three sisters were seriously in danger, a witchdoctor from the Katoomba tribe took it upon himself to turn the three sisters into stone to protect them from any harm. While he had intended to reverse the spell when the battle was over, the witchdoctor himself was killed. As only he could reverse the spell to return the ladies to their former beauty, the sisters remain in their magnificent rock formation as a reminder of this battle for generations to come.
Possibly the most relaxing way to travel to the Blue Mountains is by Rail.
City Rail offer an extremely efficient service to the Blue Mountains Katoomba Station. Katoomba is the most visited town in the Blue Mountains.
The Scenic Railway is the steepest railway incline in the world and is now one of the most popular man-made tourist attractions in Australia. The ride takes you down the steep descent past Orphan Rock, through a tunnel and the beautiful fern-damp cliff face.
Adjacent to the Scenic Railway is the new Sceniscender, the steepest aerial cable car in Australia. The Sceniscender takes you on a 545 metre ride into the World Heritage Listed rainforest of the Jamison valley. Also at the same site is the magnificent Scenic Skyway. The new Skyway can carry up to 84 passengers across the Jamison Valley at a height of 200 metres. The views are breathtaking.
A visit to the Blue Mountains would not be complete without viewing the spectacular Three Sisters at Echo Point. While the Blue Mountains features so much more than this natural attraction you can’t help but admire the unquestionable beauty of this amazing rock formation.
The character of the Three Sisters changes throughout the day and throughout the seasons as the sunlight brings out the magnificent colours.
The Three Sisters is also floodlit at night looking even more stunning set against the black background of the night sky. For those wishing to know more about the Three Sisters, the Aboriginal Dream Time Stories are well worth a read.
The famous Giant Stairway is also found at Echo Point. If you are enthusiastic and energetic, you can take the 800 steps down to the floor of the valley.
Just 50 km west of Sydney’s city center is the Blue Mountains, a great expanse of gorges and rising high elevations, dominated by a eucalyptus forest which I think gives the distinct smell and bluish hue of the area.
My wife and I enjoyed going around this wonderful place, reveling at the wonder of the Three Sisters which was formed by the erosion of the sandstone. This is similar to the erosions that we see at the Grand Canyon, but the geography and foliage in Australia has its own unique character. I think this is also a World Heritage Site, and deservingly so.
There is wonderful Skyway that can take you on a 720 metre journey, 270m above ancient ravines and dazzling waterfalls. You are suspended over Jurassic rainforests as you glide smoothly across the sky. It has an Electro-Sceni glass floor which at the flip of a switch, breathtaking views are revealed through the cabin floor. This 360 degree bird's eye view from the Skyway takes in the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, Mount Solitary and the never ending expanse of the Jamison Valley.
Likewise, there is a cableway, railway and walkway! Enjoy this geographic wonder!
"Greater Blue Mountains Area " was added to Unesco's World Heritage List in 2000. From the Blue Mountains, the lower valley looks like as a large green canyon. The Three Sisters (922, 918, 906 metres asl) which dominated the valley, are named following a Aboriginal dream-time legend. The blue haze actually comes from eucalyptus trees, and is the reason the Blue Mountains got their name.
Since my first visit in june 2000, heavy investments have been made around Katoomba to host massive tourits flows. You will find $cenic railway (said as the steepest in the world), $cenic flyway and $cenic $kyway (for vertignious amateur), $cenic walkway... I think that all these equipements are not very scenic because not well integrated in a such preserve environment. So Blue Mountains becomes the main touristic spot out of Sydney. Try to find less crowed spot to admire more preserve nature.
I must admit that I catch the Blues Mountains rides...
A great day trip west of Sydney. At Katoomba you can view the 3 sisters- lovely rock formations. The mountain views are spectacular and bush walks are nice. Also go on the scenic railway at almost a right angle down the mountain and come back up by skycab. The scenery is breathtaking.
If you want to know where the three sisters are just like the roos in the pic, please visit my Blue Mountains page :o)
Saw this option on the internet before heading to Sydney but I made no plans. While walking around I stopped at a tourist kiosk and asked about tours there and found one to be very inexpensive--$60 AU. There are tons of different packages at varying prices but I opted for the cheap one. Got picked up the next morning at the hostel. One person I was talking to was waiting for a pick-up as well, but hers was in a 4wd jeep with only three others and mine was in a broken down people hauler. The guide was fantastic, very informative. I ran into the other person in the park--seems we go to the same places for different prices. I do remember there was one tour that offered extensive hiking, but I was not dissappointed as I had ample opportunity to get my heart rate up! If I ever have more time I will certainly look into an overnight and even multi day trip with lots of hiking as the area is beautiful and there are tons of trails. Plus I would have liked more time to watch the kangaroos--it was the hot part of the day and they were just chillin in the shade.
Here is a description of the last trail of the day:The Giant Stairway - Federal pass walk.
This walk entails walking down a very steep staircase of approximately 1000 stairs. The views on the way down are absolutely breathtaking. It is no surprise this walk is so famous. When you get to the bottom of the staircase your legs will almost certainly feel a little wobbly. From here you turn right and walk along an 2 to 3 kilomtere undulating rainforest pathway at the base of the cliff until you arrive at the Scenic Railway platform. This walk is perfectly suited for those that want to get away from the big crowds. It is worth keeping in mind, the best views are on the way down into the valley, as once at the bottom, you will not get too many expansive photo oportunities due to the density of the forest. After taking one more look at the Jamison valley you then catch the Scenic Railway back to the top of the valley where you meet up with the rest of the group.
Just a word of caution about this stop, you are charged extra to tram up and it is NO escape from crowds! I opted to hike down which was great and I was alone but when I reached the platform I could not even move as two full bus loads of Japanese stuffed the narrow path--I turned around and hiked back up and only saw a few brave tourists on their way down. I loved the climb but can't say everyone is as excited about exercise as I am--was the only one on my tour that attempted it.