The Ultimate Blue Mountains Guide (2020)

Kanangra Boyd Lookout

Want to discover all of the best hidden gems and things to do in the Blue Mountains? Then this Blue Mountains guide is for you!

The Blue Mountains National Park really made us feel like we were stepping back in time, with it’s untouched beauty and sweeping valleys. I loved exploring the area, and outside of the most popular spots it’s easy to enjoy your surroundings in relative solitude.

I’ve compiled an extensive guide to help you plan your trip to the Blue Mountains below.

Check out my Ultimate Guide to Australia here

Getting there

A 1.5 hour car trip from Sydney will transport you from the hustle and bustle of the city to the mountain bliss of the Blue Mountains. Alternatively you can catch a train from Sydney to Katoomba, with trains running every hour. Simply tap on with your opal card and you’re good to go!

Where to Stay

I stayed at the YHA in Katoomba and loved it! Surprisingly the hostel has a good mix of both families and young backpackers staying, making it a great option for all groups. The hostel has a massive communal kitchen and a cosy fireplace area. Dorms, private double rooms, and family rooms are all available.

For something a bit more indulgent, we highly recommended staying at Eagle View Escape. This beautiful property is located on the outskirts of Lithgow, overlooking Lake Lydell. Each room has a stunning view from the balcony, as well as a spa and gas fireplace. The hotel really endeavours to make your stay as romantic as possible. There are board games and DVD’s to borrow, and a range of hampers such as picnics and chocolate fondue. Our room even came with cute love coupons!

Blue Mountains Guide

When to visit

The Blue Mountains are a great year round destination, with the high season being in the Summer months. The temperatures during this time will be around 26-30 degrees Celsius, with little rain. Accomodation will be more expensive during this time, and expect the area to be busy with families and local holidaymakers.

The Winter months of June to August offer cooler walking conditions, as well as lower accomodation prices.

Now on to the fun stuff, a guide to the very best things to do in the Blue Mountains!

Best lookouts in the Blue Mountains

Blackheath

Blackheath lookout has expansive views over the Kanimbula Valley and lush farmland. It also acts as a launch ground for paragliders, making it an awesome place to chill for a few hours as you watch them glide effortlessly through the air.

Hargreaves

Hargreaves is located just a few minutes away from Blackheath, and acts as the perfect place to watch sunset. There is a viewing platform right near the carpark, or else you can venture down to the ridge to come to another lookout point. This is one of the quieter lookouts in the Blue Mountains, and honestly one of the best!

Blue Mountains lookout

Govetts Leap

Govetts Leap is known as one of the most famous lookouts in Australia, offering expansive views over the Grose Valley. It’s a short drive from Katoomba, and is a great option for those with limited mobility as the lookout is just steps from the carpark.

Echo Point (Three Sisters)

The Three Sisters is the most iconic rock formation and view in the Blue Mountains. These stunning out crops of rock, as well as the surrounding plateau are best viewed from the Echo Point lookout. It is a short walk from the main area of Katoomba, and there’s also paid parking available. Go early in the morning and you might catch cloud inversion over the valley if you’re lucky.

Three Sisters Katoomba

Anvil Lookout

This lookout will again give you views of Grose Valley, as well as Anvil Rock. It will require a short walk from the carpark.

Evans Lookout

Ready for even more views of Grose Valley? We loved this particular lookout as it serves at the start of both the Grand Canyon walk and the Cliff Top Walking track.

Lincoln’s Rock

Our favourite lookout in the Blue Mountains! Lincolns’ Rock is a large flat rock that looks out over the Jamison Valley. There’s plenty of space to sit and relax or have a picnic, as well as many awesome photo opportunities. The real beauty of this place is actually hidden underneath the lookout. Follow the path through the shrubs to the left of the rock. The path will wrap around the rock to the right, where you will pass a small bunker. Keep going past this and you will come to a hidden cave. We had the cave all to ourselves, and it was the perfect place to watch the sunrise and the cloud inversion.

Lincoln's Rock Lookout

Pulpit Rock

This lookout can be combined with the Govetts Leap lookout, by walking the pulpit walking track which links the two.

Kananagra Boyd Lookout

Whilst technically out of the Blue Mountains, Kananagra Boyd National Park is well worth the drive. The Kananagra lookout offers breathtaking views over Kanangra Deep and Kanangra Walls, as well as of Mount Cloudmaker in the distance. Kananagra Boyd also has multiple hiking tracks, and it also quiter than the Blue Mountains National Park.

Best Hikes in the Blue Mountains

Grand Canyon

One of those hikes that makes you go ‘wow’ every few minutes! This 2.5 -3.5 hour hike takes you deep into the canyon and through streams, waterfalls and lush rainforest. The trail was so incredibly beautiful and interesting the whole way through. We felt like we were going back to pre-historic times! The hike is relatively easy until the end where you will have to climb some steep stairs to get back out of the canyon. Moderate fitness and sturdy shoes are required. The hike is a circuit that can be started from Evans Lookout or the Grand Canyon Carpark. 

Grand Canyon walk Blue Mountains

Hanging Rock

This 10km trail is suitable for both walkers and mountain bikers, and is relatively flat the whole way. The hike has great scenic views of the Grose Valley and of Hanging Rock at the Baltzer lookout.

Best Waterfalls in the Blue Mountains

Kanangra

Another hidden gem located in the Kanangra Boyd National Park. The short trail takes you from the bush deep into the lush canyon, where you will be greeted with this stunning waterfall. There is a small viewing platform, and its easy to walk out onto the rocks to get a better view of the towering cascade.

Leura Falls and Bridal Veil Falls

These falls are reached via a circuit trail running from the Leura Cascades picnic area. This grade 4 hike should take about 3-4 hours to complete and runs right down to the bottom of the valley. There are a few trails in this area so be sure to check the signage carefully. 

Wentworth falls

The highest waterfall in the Blue Mountains, and also the most popular. There are multiple lookouts and trails from which you can view this three-tiered waterfall, starting from the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area.

Other things to do in the Blue Mountains

Scenic World

Scenic World is a unique way to experience the Blue Mountains, and is one of the top attractions in the area. Here you can ride the worlds steepest incline railway, hop in a glass bottom skyway, and explore the longest boardwalk in Australia. Adults tickets cost $49.90 and can be pre-purchased here.

Jenolan Caves

The Jenolan Caves consist of 300 limestone caves, 9 of which are open to the public. You will need to book a tour to explore the caves, with prices starting from $42 per adult. There is a large amount of different tours available, so head to the Jenolan Caves website to find a tour that interests you

High Tea at the Hydro Majestic Hotel

This hotel is a heritage listed building that offers sweeping views over the Megalong Valley. The Hydro was constructed in 1902 with the purpose of using the mineral springs for health treatments, and it now Heritage Listed. These days the building acts a hotel and restaurant.  

Japanese Bathhouse

Located on the outskirts of Lithgow, overlooking Lake Lyell, the Japanese Bathhouse offers a unique way to relax in the Blue Mountains. The entry price is $70 for three hours of bathing, and includes both indoor and outdoor pools, as well as a herbal steam room.

Canyoning

For the adventurous among us, canyoning offers an exhilarating way to experience the incredible canyons of the Blue Mountains. There are various companies available which offer both half day and full day tours.

Top Tips

  • The Blue Mountains can be done as a day trip from Sydney, however you really need a few days to explore everything.
  • Wake up early to avoid the worst of the crowds, and try to avoid going on weekends and school holidays.
  • The Blue Mountains tends to be 5-10 degrees colder than Sydney, so make sure you dress appropriately.

I hope this Blue Mountains guide gives you everything you need to know to to plan the perfect trip!

Blue Mountains Guide

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