If you’re spending a few days in Sydney, you must spend at least one day at the Blue Mountains, where nature is breathtakingly beautiful. The Blue Mountains get their name from the haze from the oil that eucalyptus trees release into the atmosphere, covering the air in a misty blue veil from afar.
One of the highlights of a visit to the Blue Mountains is seeing the three sisters, three rock formations standing tall in the midst of lush vegetation. The sight is nothing less than awe-inspiring.
Getting to Blue Mountains
Getting there is surprisingly easy. There’s a special train, the Blue Mountain line, that leaves Sydney’s Central Business District every half hour from 7:30am onwards, and it takes about 2 hours to get to Katoomba, which is the Blue Mountains’ stop. The double-decker train is spacious, arrives promptly and watching the scenery as the train moves its way upward could not be more pleasant. If you’re coming from other parts of Sydney, you can go to the station at Parramatta, and take the Blue Mountain line from there. If you’re driving the journey is even faster, taking only around ninety minutes or so.
The Blue Mountains are lovely at any time of the year, especially in summer (December to February), when the waterfalls are at their strongest, but a winter visit has its own special charm. However, temperatures can fall below zero at night, so come prepared. If you go from June through August, make sure you bring fleece jackets, long johns or thermal underwear, warm gloves, and a thick hoodie. And if you’re doing a lot of walking, don’t forget to wear good boots and bring a walking stick as well. There is a bright red hop-on, hop-off Blue Mountain Explorer bus that will take you around to all the different sites, as well as the regular bus where you can use your Opal card, but there are also some really good hiking trails if you’re someone who loves to wander off the beaten path.
Katoomba itself is a charming town, full of quirky little places to eat from all around the world—from Turkish doners to Italian pasta dishes and wood oven pizzas to Chinese buffets. But there are also shops that sell antiques and curios and best of all, second hand books! If the winter day gets too cold for you, these little shops are a lovely place to pass the time—who knows that you might find that rare first edition that you’ve been looking for all your life.
A special surprise at the bottom of the Blue Mountains is a tropical rainforest whose trees and plants almost look like they’re from a movie set like Jurassic Park or King Kong. You also get to see the remnants of an old mining community there—such as miner’s huts, rails, and even the old cars and carriages miners used to ride into the bowels of the earth.
There is so much to see around the Blue Mountains that a day might not be enough! For those who want to stay longer, there are places aplenty for overnight stays. And the good thing is that it’s completely family friendly—lots of things for everyone of all ages to see and do and enjoy!