Looking for things to do in Blue Mountains? While many people might jump on the train from Sydney to Katoomba, you might not know how many amazing things there are to see and do! With plenty of Blue Mountains attractions to discover, we’re going to share some of the best walks, lookouts, shops, places to eat and of course best Blue Mountains accommodation.
After our recent visit back to this beautiful Sydney getaway, we’ve seen so much of the area, that it’s about time we share the best things to do in Blue Mountains. Be prepared to bookmark this article, because here’s everything you need to know about what to do in Blue Mountains. If you’re looking for things to do in Sydney, Blue Mountains is a day trip from Sydney you’ll love.
Although the Blue Mountains in Sydney is absolutely accessible for everyone to visit thanks to the direct train service from Central Station in Sydney, we 100% recommend you hiring a car to make the most of it. There are many places mentioned in this Blue Mountains guide that are difficult to get to by public transport.
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OUR TOP PICKS!
If you’re short on time, and not sure how to spend your day or weekend in Blue Mountains, don’t worry! If you’ve not been before, Katoomba is the central point and biggest town, home to the famous Three Sisters. Leura is a beautiful little town, with Blackheath on the other side. Around Blackheath is where you’ll find most of the cool lookouts and hikes. Leura is a fab little town to basically explore the beautiful cafes and mooch around the gorgeous shops.
If you can only do one hike, do the Grand Canyon Walk – it’s unbelievable! It takes about 2h30m and winds down into a tropical terrain as part of the Gondwana Rainforest. Before doing this Blue Mountains hike, read our guide first though for tips you’ll need to know. We actually have a Blue Mountains itinerary for a hiking day trip or weekend away from Sydney. Although I’ve not done it yet, I will 100% go canyoning next time I’m in the area for sure!
If you’re looking to visit a couple of lookouts that don’t require any walking, go to Pulpit Lookout, Hargraves Lookout (it’s so nice, we wondered whether we should get married there!) and save Blackheath Lookout for sunset.
For those looking for a relaxing weekend, head to Japanese Bath House in the Blue Mountains which is an affordable and excellent hot springs you don’t want to miss. And if you’re visiting in Spring or Autumn, 100% go to the gardens in Mount Wilson. I think it’s my favourite place in the whole of the Blue Mountains, and quite possibly all of Sydney. There is something just so beautiful about this part of NSW!
Jump On The Hop-On Hop-Off Blue Mountains Bus
If you’re visiting Blue Mountains by train, make sure you book the Blue Mountains Explorer bus so you don’t miss out. With 37 stops around Katoomba and Leura, it’s a brilliant opportunity to see as much as possible, while learning loads about the area too. The buses run every 45 minutes on weekends so you’ll be able to get off whenever you like and enjoy the experience. You can also book a Hop On Hop Off Bus with a Scenic World Rides Pass so you don’t need to waste time lining up.
UNIQUE TOURS FROM SYDNEY
We’re splitting this Blue Mountains guide up with various sections so you can find what you’re looking for easily.
We don’t want you to go on a boring tour to Blue Mountains from Sydney! Instead, discover some epic tours that will take you to the lesser known spots. Here are some of the Sydney to Blue Mountains tours we would personally consider.
1. Night Tour From Sydney To See The Glow Worms
Don’t think the Blue Mountains tours are all about spending the entire day there. Why not consider an awesome 4 hour night tour from Sydney. You’ll be picked up in Sydney so you can sit back and not worry about having to drive. You’ll be taken on a guided tour to a secret cave and waterfall in the dark to witness a truly magical sight – glow worms! This is the kind of experience you won’t be forgetting in a hurry, that’s for sure!
2. Afternoon And Sunset Blue Mountains Tour
Get picked up late morning and enjoy a fantastic Blue Mountains sunset tour. I have to say, the sunsets in Blue Mountains are spectacular and really make you feel like you’re a million miles away from the city.
3. Tick Off Blue Mountains, Jenolan Caves AND Kanangra-Boyd National Park
If we were going to go on a day trip to Blue Mountains, we would book the 4WD tour which also takes you to Jenolan Caves and Kanangra-Boyd National Park. This Blue Mountains tour takes you a bit more off the beaten track where you’ll be able to see the area in all its beauty.
We have been to the mountains so many times, but when we went to Kanangra Lookout, it is then that we were totally blown away. It’s a bit of a pain to drive to this lookout, so we recommend jumping on a this popular tour so you can sit back and enjoy it.
BLUE MOUNTAINS LOOKOUTS (NO HIKING REQUIRED!)
If hiking isn’t your thing, you can still visit some of the most amazing lookouts in Blue Mountains! You’ll find some of our favourite views which don’t require any walking. Read our full guide for the Best Blue Mountains Lookouts here if you’re interested in finding out more.
4. Three Sisters
Obviously, the most well known lookout in Blue Mountains is the Three Sisters. Situated in Katoomba, it’s usually the starting point for many people visiting the area. The Tourist Information Centre below is excellent and can help you with any hike you want to do. Make sure you walk over to the Honeymoon Bridge which leads right out to the Three Sisters!
5. Anvil Lookout
One of our favourite secret lookouts is Anvil Lookout. You won’t find many other people (if any) there and best of all, on a clear day, you’ll be able to see all the way to the Sydney skyline. Mad right?
6. Pulpit Rock Lookout
Make sure you head over to one of the most jaw-dropping Blue Mountains lookouts at Pulpit Rock Lookout. The question is, will you be able to have the courage to embrace the staircase down to the further lookout? It definitely took me a few attempts at doing it (and nearly a couple of panic attacks!). It’s also a five-minute walk from the car park to Pulpit Lookout, being the only one you kinda have to walk to.
Hargraves Lookout is one of our favourite Blue Mountains lookouts! Best of all, there’s hardly anyone ever there whenever we’ve visited. We’ve been coming to this lookout for years now and love how we feel like we have the entire Megalong Valley to ourselves. Come here any time of the day, although sunset feels extra special here.
8. Govetts Leap lookout
One of the most popular lookout points in Blue Mountains is Govetts Leap. This impressive valley is the type of place you could come back to at various times of the day and it will completely change. There are also loads of hikes to explore at Govetts Leap as well and there’s an information centre at the lookout so you can ask any questions about any of the hikes you want to do.
9. Lincoln’s Rock
We love Lincoln Rock, and so does everyone else! This is a really popular lookout in Blue Mountains but it’s definitely worth coming to as you’ll feel like you’re literally on the edge of the Blue Mountains. Be careful when taking photos here.
10. Sunset At Blackheath Lookout
We always end our Blue Mountains NSW trip by visiting Blackheath Lookout for sunset. It’s an amazing place that very few people ever explore. The sunset views are incredible, and if you’re lucky you might see some of the paragliders to watch (and take photos of!). There’s an Instagram spot here many people take photos on of an old piece of board.
BLUE MOUNTAINS WALKS
If there’s one thing Blue Mountains is known for, it’s the incredible walks to keep you entertained. Although we’re just mentioning a few in this post, you can read our full guide for the Best 30 Blue Mountains Walks.
If you’re brave enough, there are loads of amazing Blue Mountains canyons to explore that you’ll be coming back time and time again to discover more. You can jump on a really popular canyoning tour to the gorgeous Juggler Canyon, where swimming and jumping into pristine pools will be a given. This is a beginner’s canyoning experience so you don’t need to worry too much about being out of your comfort zone.
12. Explore Grand Canyon Walk
If you’re looking for one of the best hikes in Blue Mountains then you really should put aside time to complete the Grand Canyon walk. It’s a circuit which takes 2h30m. You can read our guide to doing the Grand Canyon Walk in Blue Mountains here as there’s loads of tips you need to know before doing it.
The hike takes you through loads of different types of terrain and you’ll spend most of it in absolute awe as you’ll be walking through part of the Gondwana Rainforest which is over 1 million years old. That’s right, 1 million years old!
Tips – don’t take young kids, it will take a good few hours to do the circuit. Although we did see young children on this hike, they weren’t too pleased as there are so many steps to walk up and down.
Wentworth Falls might be a popular Blue Mountains hike but it’s also one of the best. As one of the best things to do in Blue Mountains, Wentworth Falls has multiple stopping points and viewing platforms from the start to finish meaning that you can stop at any time and turn back if you need to.
There’s a lot of steps to be had on this hike but it sure is beautiful. The main thing we noticed is that after we reached the first tier of the waterfall, the crowds filtered out and we got the entire bottom of the waterfall to ourselves. You can read our guide to Wentworth Falls here.
Watch our Wentworth Falls video below!
14. Hike To Hanging Rock
One of the best walks in Blue Mountains is the hike to Hanging Rock. We love it because it’s not only an easy one hour walk, it offers up mind blowing views at the end. Don’t jump the gap whatever you do, it’s pretty dangerous as you could totally fall to your death..
Watch our video to Hanging Rock below!
15. Visit Kanangra Boyd National Park
Kanangra Boyd National Park is an absolutely amazing national park that you’ll be so shocked by how near it is to the Blue Mountains. We like to think of it as being one of our favourite ever secret finds near Sydney. The views are incredible, the crowds are non-existant, and you’ll wonder if you’ve been transported to somewhere like Borneo with the views. FYI – camping is available at this national park.
Watch our video of our hike in Kanangra-Boyd National Park below!
16. Visit The Glow Worm Tunnels In Newnes
We love the glow-worm tunnels in Newnes, that there are loads of ways to get there for all ages and capabilities. There’s a free campground in Newnes as well and we reckon it’s one of the best free campgrounds near Sydney. You’ll need to reserve a spot before going there as it does get busy since we visited. There’s a river next to the campsite you can cool off in as there are quite a few hikes to make a weekend of it!
Although it takes a good 4-5 hours to complete, the Ruined Castle in Blue Mountains is one of those hikes that’s not for the faint-hearted. But the best part is, it won’t be nearly as busy as other hiking paths in the Blue Mountains. You can get a head start by getting the steep railway at Scenic World down to the bottom to start the hike. Want to know more? We love this article written by The Accidental Australian.
18. Do The Katoomba Falls Night Walk
If you’re staying overnight in Blue Mountains (which we highly recommend), make sure you check out the new Katoomba Falls night walk! The 1.3km walk is completely lit up on a boardwalk so it’s not like you’re navigating in the pitch black. It’s open until 10:30pm, otherwise you will be walking in the dark!
19. Swim at Minnehaha Falls
If you’re looking for things to do in Blue Mountains in Summer, go for a swim at the gorgeous Minnehaha Falls! It does get busy here so just be prepared.
ADVENTUROUS THINGS TO DO IN BLUE MOUNTAINS
20. Simply Abseil Down The Blue Mountains!
Feel proud of yourself and take on an unbelievable abseiling adventure in Blue Mountains. If you’ve never abseiled before, fear not! You’ll start with a 5 metre abseil and could end up gaining the confidence to abseil up to 60 metres! This is a brilliant character-building tour that will make you feel so proud of yourself for ticking off a huge bucket list item!
Choose between a half day or full day tour. The half day tour will take you to 30 metres, with the full day giving you extra time to build up to the impressive 60 metres abseil!
One of the most popular Blue Mountains tourist attractions is Jenolan Caves. The drive from Katoomba is absolutely stunning as you wind down into the mountains. As you drive to there, you might not see another car on the way down. But when you drive through the actual caves, you’ll see tour buses and lots of tourists around. It’s one of those places everyone should visit at least once in their lives. Make sure you check out the Blue Pool when you’re there as well.
Back in the 1900s, people used to come up to Jenolan Caves from Sydney on horse and cart for the weekend. We were told by the people working there that there have been sightings of ghosts in the caves and in the old hotel. Spooky stuff!
22. Visit The Lesser-Known Wombeyan Caves
Our alternative to Jenolan Caves is Wombeyan Caves, a must-visit if you’re looking for things to do in Blue Mountains. It’s an absolutely spectacular place with barely any crowds. When we visited, we did a self-guided tour and had the entire huge cave to ourselves to walk around.
You can even camp at the brilliant campgrounds at Wombeyan Caves and make a weekend of it. If you’re visiting in Summer, we dare you to take on the Mares Forest Creek Canyon hike.
Fancy mountain biking around the Blue Mountains instead of hiking? Blue Mountains Biking Adventures offer up either self-guided or guided mountain biking tours in Blue Mountains which would be an awesome day out.
Experience one of the best mountain biking trails in Australia called The Oakes or other trails which are designed for all different types of fitness levels.
24. Horse Riding In The Megalong Valley
A great Blue Mountains family activity is horse riding in the Megalong Valley. Book a day trip with Centennial Glen Stables which will take you to Kanimbla Valley and ending at the Megalong Valley. Good news is, you’ll stop by the Megalong Valley tea rooms for lunch.
MORE THINGS TO DO IN BLUE MOUNTAINS
25. Go On The Romantic Meglaong Valley Wine Trail
Jump on the Megalong Valley Shuttle Bus and have up to five hours exploring the beautiful Dryridge Estate and Megalong Creek Estate boutique vineyards. Gorge on local wines and cheese platters, rug up and bring a picnic blanket with you. If you’re looking for some of the best romantic things to do in Blue Mountains, look no further!
If you’re missing the English countryside, head over to Breenhold Gardens in Mount Wilson. Although it’s only open in Spring and Autumn, Breenhold Gardens is a spectacular place to visit that you’ll be making sure you come back next season. It also makes a brilliant Blue Mountains day trip and is something different to do in the area.
Watch our video at Breenhold Gardens!
27. Visit Scenic World
There is so much going on at Scenic World in Blue Mountains, you’ll be able to keep the whole family entertained all day long!
Scenic World is home to the steepest railway in the world and Australia’s first cable car which takes your right over the mountains. I remember going on the railway when I was a backpacker years ago and feeling terrified! Haha, I need to do it again!
28. Check Out The Zig Zag Railway
Located 30 minutes from Katoomba, near Lithgow, is the Zig Zag Railway. The grand sandstone viaducts are is an iconic example of 19th Century engineering. You can take a ride over the bridge although it’s currently closed right now and is due to reopen at the end of 2021.
29. Vintage Shops In Katoomba
One of our favourite things to do in Blue Mountains Australia is to go vintage shopping in Katoomba. You could spend all day walking up and down Katoomba’s main street looking through the shops and will probably come away with some fantastic finds.
30. Christmas In July
Christmas in July or Yulefest as it’s known, is actually a thing in Blue Mountains. When it was discovered by a couple of Brits in Blue Mountains so they could have a proper Christmas, it has become a major event in the Winter calendar! Celebrate Christmas In July at YHA where they usually get carol singers in and hold a huge Christmas lunch celebration!
BLUE MOUNTAINS SPAS & RETREATS
31. You’ll Love The Japanese Bath House
One of our favourite ever finds in the Blue Mountains is the Japanese Bath House called Sparadise. You honestly won’t find a better way to spend $80 in your life than by checking out the incredible hot pools and beautiful tea rooms. Since we visited in 2017, there have been even more upgrades and it honestly looks even better! Book ahead and sit back and enjoy this beautiful place.
Watch our video to these Blue Mountains hot springs!
32. Lilianfels Day Spa
If you’re looking for a Blue Mountains day spa, then head over to Lilianfels Resort & Spa which is right next door to The Three Sisters in Katoomba. This is probably the most famous day spa in Blue Mountains, a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones for a romantic getaway from Sydney, or girls weekend.
33. Recharge at Happy Buddha Retreat
If you’re looking to recharge your batteries and need a bit of a wellness injection, head over to the Happy Buddha Yoga Retreat which is a beautiful yoga & meditation retreat in Blue Mountains. They have a gorgeous swimming pool and serve up wonderful veggie food.
34. Silent Vipassana Meditation Retreat
If you need some space away from everyday life, we recommend going to the Vipassana Meditation Centre in Blackheath. They offer a range of courses, the most popular being the 10-day course but they also hold one-day courses as well. Be warned, it’s a silent retreat and the 10-day course is spent meditating around 16 hours a day, so it’s not exactly like a spa retreat!
Having completed this course myself (you can read my Vipassana review here), it’s not easy but it’s definitely worth investing your time in. It’s also donation based so you can pay what you feel for the entire course which includes accommodation and all meals. You’ll be surprised at the diversity of people who attend the Vipassana course, so don’t feel like you’ll be out of your comfort zone. I think of it like this: how often do you get 10 whole days of zero distractions? It’s unbelievably beneficial and something everyone should do. You’ll learn so much about yourself and will come out of the course totally chilled out.
We recommend checking out Blackheath General Store & Cafe for breakfast or lunch. They do some excellent soups and stews you need to try. This is a great stop if you’re off to do some of the hikes or lookouts in the area.
36. Go Cider Tasting In Bilpin
Fancy doing some cider tasting in Blue Mountains? Make sure you check out Bilpin Cider and Hillbury Cider cellar doors. Located just a 1 minute drive from each other, spend the day at these gorgeous cideries, and sit back on a nice Summer’s day enjoying the cool air.
Tip – head over to The Grumpy Baker in Bilpin for breakfast or lunch beforehand as mentioned below.
37. The Grumpy Baker In Bilpin
The Grumpy Baker at Bilpin serves up an excellent brunch menu. Although there might not be a huge menu to choose from, the baked eggs alone are absolutely amazing! Bilpin is also a gorgeous little town which you should visit if you’re going cider tasting or over to Mount Wilson.
38. Devonshire Tea at Megalong Valley Tearooms
Are you looking to go for high tea in Blue Mountains but want something a bit more low-key that doesn’t break the bank? Head over to the Megalong Valley Tearooms and enjoy sitting back eating fresh scones and drinking hot tea in the beautiful countyside.
39. High Tea At Hydro Majestic
The Hydro Majestic is one of the most famous hotels in Australia! Pop over for high tea and take in the incredible views overlooking the Megalong Valley. If you didn’t know, you can see over to Hargraves Lookout in the distance from here. The famous hotel was built in the early 1900s and is a legendary place which is popular with day-trippers from Sydney.
40. Aunty Ed’s For A Drink
We really love Aunty Ed’s (formerly Aunty Jacks) – a retro basement restaurant and bar on the main street in Katoomba. I know when you hear the word basement you might think it’s going to be a dive but it’s not at all. They have bands playing on the weekend and it makes a great night out, we doubt you’ll find anywhere else like it in the Sydney area. It’s also perfect for families, couples or groups of friends wanting to have a laugh.
The food is based around American diner-style food like burgers but what stood out for us is the drinks. Make sure you order the warm cider, it’s honestly one of the best drinks we’ve ever had!
41. Bootlegger Bar For Drinks & Dinner
Although I’ve only had drinks in Bootlegger Bar in Katoomba, the cocktail menu is fantastic. The food also looked really good, we would certainly come back here next time we’re in Katoomba for sure!
BLUE MOUNTAINS ACCOMMODATION
We always went on day trips to Blue Mountains, until recently we started staying overnight. To be honest, I wish I spent more weekends from Sydney in Blue Mountains because it really is a beautiful part of NSW. There’s something really special about waking up early and being able to see the sunrise in the mountains. Plus! You’ll be able to make an early start on some of the hikes before the day trippers arrive.
Not sure where to stay in Blue Mountains? Let us break down the best accommodation to suit you.
42. Camping In Blue Mountains
Free Camping in Blue Mountains
If you’re looking for free camping in Blue Mountains, check out Old Ford Reserve in Katoomba which has toilet facilities. You can access it via 2WD but you’ll need to bring everything with you including water and cooking equipment. It sits on the Megalong Creek so you could go for a swim if visiting in Summer. Perrys Lookdown is also a free campground with loads of hiking paths on your doorstep.
Euroka Campground just south of Glenbrook is popular due to the amount of kangaroos in the area. There are picnic tables, BBQ facilities, toilets, drinking water and firewood available.
If you’re looking for a holiday park with all mod cons including wi-fi hotspots, showers and a camp kitchen, check out Blackheath Glen Tourist Park, or Katoomba Falls Tourist Park.
Luxury Glamping (& pet friendly!)at Turon Gates
Stay at Turon Gates and choose between the powered sites or the beautiful glamping tents. This authentic bush-style eco-retreat is perfect for those who like the idea of camping but with a bit of luxury thrown in. In the glamping tents, you’ll find beautiful fireplaces, open place living areas, hammocks, kitchens and even pet-friendly options!
43. Budget Blue Mountains Accommodation
We have personally stayed at the YHA in Katoomba a few times which we’ve loved and would come back to again. It’s super basic so don’t expect anything flash but it’s really cosy and the location is excellent. Located on the main street in Katoomba, it’s a walk away from plenty of shops, cafes and things to do in Katoomba.
This is the only place I have stayed in Australia which has central heating in your room. To me, there is something very nostalgic about this which I love! The rooms are very basic but clean and comfortable. There is a big communal area and kitchen to use for those looking to cook their own food. The building has got a fascinating history behind it. Apparently, the art deco building used to be home to a bible college, then it turned into a cabaret show!
If you’re looking for another budget Blue Mountains accommodation option, check out The Redleaf in Blackheath.
44. Mid Range Blue Mountains Accommodation
Steve booked us a couple of nights stay at Windradyne Boutique Bed & Breakfast when I first came to Australia with him and we had a great time. The location doesn’t get much better being directly opposite The Three Sisters. We had a spa bath and I remember the breakfast being fantastic!
If you’re looking to get away from it all, then Tomah Retreat is the place for you! It makes for a beautiful getaway for couples looking to sit back and relax. What makes this Blue Mountains accommodation special are the Japanese gardens, hedge maze and loads of chill-out areas.
The Valley of The Waters is another fantastic mid-range option with exceptional views overlooking the Jamison Valley in Wentworth Falls.
45. Luxury Blue Mountains Accommodation
With plenty of luxury Blue Mountains accommodation options to choose from, there’s a few which stand out amongst the rest.
The Fairmont is probably the biggest resort and most well-known luxury hotel in Blue Mountains. Situated in Leura, it’s a family-friendly resort run by Sofitel, complete with two swimming pools, a wellness & spa centre, 9.5 hectares of land to run around in, a bar and five on-site restaurants! It’s also just a 10 minute drive to Wentworth Falls and The Three Sisters.
Lilianfels Resort & Spa is also a very well-known luxury place to stay in Blue Mountains. This five-star resort is home to two restaurants, an outdoor pool and luxury spa facilities. If staying here is out of your budget, you can book in for the day spa. It’s located just a stones throw from the Three Sisters!
Next door to Lilianfels is Echoes Boutique Hotel. With stunningly beautiful mountain views (you’ll get a balcony in your room too!), enjoy the fresh mountain air for a beautiful getaway from Sydney. Make sure you check out the Echoes Restaurant and you’ll also be able to enjoy the facilities of Lilianfels next door!
If you’re looking for Blue Mountains accommodation for families, you must consider the Fairmount Resort which is a favourite amongst most families and pet friendly too! As we said above, you’ll have five restaurants to choose from, two swimming pools and so much more!
If you’d prefer something a bit more country style, then the Old Leura Dairy is the place to stay. With a rustic and authentic charm, they have family rooms, a continental breakfast and exceptional reviews amongst previous travellers.
46 Best Things To Do In Blue Mountains
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