The Blue Mountains are a natural paradise located about 60km west of Sydney. The close proximity to this city makes this Word and National Heritage site a perfect destination for a one-day trip. The name of the mountains is due to the blue haze produced by the eucalyptus oil which evaporates from the eucalyptus forest. The area is home to 400 different species of animals, 40 of them rare or threatened and covers over 11,400 km².
If you want to visit these mountains, you can choose between several tours which depart from Sydney and bring you to the main places to visit in this park. (Here you can find a list of organised tours). But why would you pay for an expensive tour if the Blue Mountains can be easily reached by train, which is way cheaper?
In this post, you can find out how to visit the Blue Mountains on a budget.
First, you need an Opal Card. This is a prepaid card which can be used to pay for travel on public transport in Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Using this card you can get cheaper fares compared to the use of single trip tickets. Plus, this cap gives you daily and weekly fare caps. You can obtain this card for free, and it is super easy to use. Add value before you travel and tap on and off to pay your fare.
The daily cap is 15.80$ during working days and just 2.70$ on Sunday. And this is the exact amount you will spend to visit the Blue Mountains if you use the Opal Card. Additionally, the daily cap also allows you to use the buses inside the park.
Trains depart from Sydney central station every hour (in the Transport for NSW website you can find the train timetable), and the ride takes about two hours. Make sure that the train you choose to take stops in Leura.
The Blue Mountains itinerary includes the following stops:
- Everglades Historic House and Gardens
- Leura cascades
- Bridal Veil lookout
- Honeymoon point
- Three sisters and Echo Point
- Katoomba Falls
- Scenic world
In the map, you can see the path which will bring you to these points. The walk takes about 3 hours, which leaves you about 4 hours to stop, relax and admire the view along the way.
Everglades Historic House and Gardens
Hop off the train at Leura and grab a coffee in one of the several cafè on the main street of this small village. From the station, you can reach the gardens in about 20 minutes walking or by bus.
This garden is really interesting, although it must be much more beautiful during spring or summer (I went during winter). However, if you are in Blue Mountains just for the breathtaking views of natural landscapes, or, if you are short in time, you can skip this spot and go from Leura station directly to Leura cascades.
Leura Cascades are the second stop of the day and they are unmissable because they are so beautiful! The cascades are reachable from the Leura Cascades picnic area, from which the prince Henry cliff walk starts. Keep walking on this trail after the cascades to reach the Echo Point. Just remember to take your time to admire the breathtaking views from the Bridal Veil Lookout and the Honeymoon point.
Three sisters and Echo Point
After the Honeymoon Point, you will reach the Giant Stairway, which will bring you up to the Echo Point, passing around one of the Three Sisters. The stairs are quite steep and narrow, and they can be challenging if you are afraid of height. At the end of the Giant Stairway, there is the Echo Point, from which you can admire the famous Three Sisters. At Echo Point, you can also eat at the restaurant or at the tourist centre.
The name of these mountains is due to a legend that says that these three pillars were once three beautiful sisters named ‘Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and ‘Gunnedoo’ who had fallen in love with three brothers from another tribe but were forbidden to marry. The brothers decided to capture the three sisters causing a battle between the tribes. In order to protect the sisters during the battle, the older brother turned them into stone, with the intention to reverse the spell when the battle was over. But the man was killed during the battle, and he couldn’t reverse the spell to return the women to their former beauty. I found the Echo Point too busy because this is the point where all touristic tours stop, so if you want to admire these beauties in a quieter place, you can stop at the Spooners Lookout, which is right below the Echo Point, and it is the place where I took the photo.
After the Echo Point, keep walking on the Prince Henry Cliff Walk trail to reach the Scenic World. On the way, you can stop at the Katoomba Falls, a beautiful segmented waterfall located between the Echo Point and the Scenic World.
The last stop is the Scenic World, from where you can reach the floor of the Jamison Valley using the scenic railway (the steepest incline railway in the world) or the scenic cableway. Once there, you can walk around the rainforest using one of the several trails in the valley, and then come back using again one of the two means of transport.
The scenic skyway is another must-do at the Scenic World. This glass-bottomed Skyway floats 270 metres above the floor of the Jamison Valley, offering amazing views of the Three Sisters, Mount Solitary and Katoomba Falls.
To go back to Sydney take the bus that from the Scenic World will bring you to Katoomba Station, and then take your train back to Sydney.
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