With sandstone cliffs, hiking trails that lead to towering waterfalls and viewpoints, cable car and gondola rides, and views of unique rock formations, the Blue Mountains are a joy to explore. In this guide, learn about the best things to do in the Blue Mountains with tips to help you plan your visit.
Interesting Facts about the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains are located in New South Wales to the west of Sydney, Australia. These mountains gets its name for the blue tinge they take on when viewed from a distance.
Sitting within the Blue Mountains is Blue Mountains National Park. This 270,000-hectare park is centrally located with the mountainous range and this is where most visitors spend their time. The Three Sisters is the most famous rock formation within the park.
In 2000, the Greater Blue Mountains Area was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage area, which includes not only Blue Mountains National Park but also six other nearby national parks.
This is the most visited national park in New South Wales. It protects eucalyptus forests, kangaroos, reptiles, frogs, and about a third of Australia’s bird species.
Blue Mountains National Park is spread across several different towns and areas in New South Wales, including Katoomba, Blackheath, Lower Grose Valley, Mount Wilson, and Glenbrook. Our list of things to do in the Blue Mountains is primarily located around Katoomba and Blackheath, which are easy to get to from Sydney and packed with the top sights in the park.
Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
This list of best things to do in the Blue Mountains is ordered geographically.
The list starts with the viewpoints that are located to the west of Scenic World and moves east from here, until reaching the Wentworth Falls area. Then we include a few notable places to visit a short drive from this area. You can see all of these places we mention on a map at the end of this list (or skip ahead now).
1. Cahill’s Lookout and Boars Head Lookout
Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Distance: 400 meters
The first three items on our list (Cahill’s and Boars Head Lookout, Landslide Lookout, and Eagle Hawk Lookout) are all located near one another on Cliff Side Drive. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to visit all of them. These three viewpoints are a short drive from Scenic World.
Cahill’s and Boars Head Lookouts are two viewpoint that are located on one paved walking trail. It’s a downhill walk to the farthest point, so you’ll have to do a little bit of work to get back to your car, but it’s worth it, as this was one of my favorite viewpoints of the Blue Mountains.
You will reach Boars Head Lookout first. Here’s the view.
Boars Head Lookout | Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
Continue a little bit farther to get to the first Cahill’s Lookout viewpoint.
The first Cahill’s Lookout view | Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
If you want to keep going, the trail gets steeper as you descend a series of stairs to a second viewpoint that is also called Cahill’s Lookout. Here is the view. It is only slightly better than the first lookout, so you’ll have to decide when you are here if it is worth the extra time and walking.
View from the second Cahill’s Lookout
2. Landslide Lookout
Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Distance: 200 meters
This is another great viewpoint of the Blue Mountains. Again, from the parking area, it is a downhill walk to the viewpoint. This time, it is a dirt trail with some steep steps thrown it, to keep things interesting.
The trail ends at a wide, rocky cliff edge where you get panoramic views of the park. There is no railing here so watch young kids and stay away from the edge.
Landslide Lookout | Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
PRO TRAVEL TIP: As you drive from Cahill’s Lookout to Landslide Lookout, you will pass another viewpoint called Narrow Neck. We did this and don’t think it is worth the time.
3. Eagle Hawk Lookout
Time: 5 to 10 minutes
Distance: 50 meters
This is the best of the three viewpoints listed so far. It’s a short, easy walk to an overlook protected by a railing. From this spot, you get a view of the Three Sisters, the cableway of Scenic World, and sweeping views of the Blue Mountains. It’s a must-do and from this viewpoint, it is a 5-minute drive to Scenic World.
Eagle Hawk Lookout | Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
4. Scenic World
Scenic World is one of the best places to visit in the Blue Mountains. At this one spot, you can ride the world’s steepest railway, stand on the roof of the Skyway, ride on the Southern Hemisphere’s steepest cable car, and walk on boardwalk trails through the rainforest.
A visit to Scenic World lasts about 2 hours (longer if there are lines to board the cable cars and railway). For more information on how to plan your visit, how to plan your time, and see a lot more photos, take a look at our Guide to Scenic World.
Scenic World | Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
5. Katoomba Falls
Katoomba Falls is a multi-tiered waterfall that flows into the Jamison Valley. It is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Australia.
There are a number of ways that you can see Katoomba Falls.
The easiest and most dramatic way is to ride the Scenic World Skyway, which gives you a bird’s eye view of the waterfall.
Katoomba Falls from the Scenic World Skyway
In Scenic World, there is a forest hike that takes you to a viewpoint of the base of Katoomba Falls. We did this and don’t think it is worth the effort.
However, for a beautiful view of the upper section of Katoomba Falls, walk the Prince Henry Cliff Walk to the viewpoint of the waterfall.
Upper section of Katoomba Falls on the Prince Henry Cliff Walk
6. Prince Henry Cliff Walk
Time: 1 to 2 hours
Distance: 7 km one-way
The Prince Henry Cliff Walk is a 7 km one-way walking trail that connects Katoomba to Echo Point and Leura. However, you only have to walk a portion of this trail, since many of the viewpoints along it are accessible by car, which saves you a lot of time.
We walked the portion of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk near the top of Katoomba Falls, mainly to see the top portion of this waterfall. To do this, we parked at the parking lot at the intersection of Cliff Drive/Birdwood Avenue and Katoomba Falls Road. From this parking area, it is a short walk to a viewpoint of Katoomba Falls.
7. Katoomba & the Street Art Walk
Katoomba is a small town that is located in the Blue Mountains, just a short drive from Scenic World and Katoomba Falls. If you are looking for a break from sightseeing in the park, this is a great place to have lunch and see the street art.
Covering the buildings of Katoomba are murals painted by street artists. These colorful, vibrant works of art are clustered together in a small area, mainly around Beverly Place.
8. Echo Point Lookout (Three Sisters)
This is arguably one of the best things to do in the Blue Mountains. This easy to visit viewpoint gives you the best view of the Three Sisters. There is a ton parking, it’s free to visit, and just takes a few minutes of your time.
There are also bathrooms and the Blue Mountains visitor center is located here. There are several vantage points from this one spot, so it takes about 15 minutes to enjoy the views and take photos.
This is also the starting point for the Three Sisters Hike, mentioned next.
Echo Point | Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
The view of the Three Sisters from Echo Point
9. Three Sisters Hike & the Giant Stairway
Time: 30 to 45 minutes
Distance: 1.1 km (0.7 miles) round trip to Honeymoon Bridge
Total Ascent: 130 meters (420 feet)
This is one of the best short walks to do in Blue Mountains National Park.
The Three Sisters are one of the most iconic rock formations in the Blue Mountains. The three pillars of rock are said to represent sisters of an indigenous legend. The sisters were captured by three brothers from a neighboring tribe, and after war broke out between the tribes, a witchdoctor was said to have turned the sisters into stone to preserve their beauty. They now stand perched above the valley, looking out over the vast landscape.
From Echo Point, follow a wide paved path towards the Three Sisters. This paved path starts next the visitor center and heads through the forest towards the Three Sisters. Along the trail, you will occasionally have views through the trees to the Blue Mountains. The trail ends at a viewpoint where you get an up-close view of the Three Sisters.
View from the Three Sisters Walk
Next to this viewpoint, descend on the Giant Stairway to Honeymoon Bridge. This is one of the best places to get a unique view of the first of the Three Sisters.
At this point, you can turn around and retrace your steps to Echo Point or continue farther on the staircase that descends into the forest. We kept going for a little bit, but you quickly lose the good views of the Three Sisters, so we turned around.
Giant Stairway | Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
Another view from the Three Sisters Walk
10. Olympian Rock Lookout
Time: 10 minutes
Distance: 200 meters
To get to this viewpoint, you will walk downhill on a concrete path that is rough in some spots and has some steps thrown in here and there. It’s another nice viewpoint. Here’s the view.
Olympian Rock Lookout
11. Gordon Falls Lookout
Time: 15 minutes
Distance: 250 meters
Gordon Falls Lookout is a short drive from Olympian Rock. Gordon Falls is an all-around better experience, as it is easier to find parking, a more interesting walk, and provides views of Gordon Falls. There is also a playground and picnic area here.
From the parking area, you will walk through a wide, dirt path through the trees. Then the trail descends on a series of short staircases and one metal staircase. The path ends at a fenced lookout with views of Gordon Falls and Sublime Point.
Gordon Falls Lookout
12. Sublime Point Lookout
Time: 10 minutes
Distance: 175 meters
This viewpoint is located at the end of a peninsula of sandstone, providing panoramic views over Jamison Valley. It’s a shorter and easier walk to get to this viewpoint, versus the Gordon Falls Lookout, so if you are trying to narrow down which viewpoints to visit, we recommend Sublime Point.
Sublime Point | Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
13. Wentworth Falls
The name ‘Wentworth Falls’ refers to two things: the waterfall and the town that sits near the waterfall.
Wentworth Falls is a three-tiered waterfall and getting a view of this waterfall is one of the best things to do in the Blue Mountains.
The next four things on our list of things to do in the Blue Mountains are located in the Wentworth Falls area. These lookouts and hiking trail give you views not only of the waterfall, but also Jamison Valley and the rugged sandstone cliffs of the Blue Mountains.
Wentworth Falls from Princes Rock Lookout
14. Jamison Lookout & Wentworth Falls Lookout
From Jamison Lookout, you get a view of Jamison Valley, and depending on weather conditions, might be able to get a glimpse of Wentworth Falls.
From this viewpoint, you’re still quite far from the waterfall and the forest obstructs the view. However, we visited the park on an incredibly windy day (just wait until you see some of our next photos!) so the wind blew the spray of the waterfall into the air, so we could see a small part of it.
To get to Jamison Lookout, park at National Pass, which is a parking area located along Sir H Burrell Drive. From this parking lot, it is a one-minute walk to the Jamison Lookout. Here is the view.
Continue farther along the concrete walking trail to Wentworth Falls Lookout. Here, you get a better view of Wentworth Falls. But for the most impressive views, hike to Fletchers Lookout or do the Wentworth Falls Hiking Loop, for the overall best experience.
Wentworth Falls Lookout
15. Fletchers Lookout
For one of the best views of Wentworth Falls, hike to Fletchers Lookout. This viewpoint is located along the Wentworth Falls Loop.
From the Wentworth Falls Lookout, take the dirt trail into the woods, following signs for Fletchers Lookout. It’s about a 30-minute return hike from this point to get to and from the lookout. The trail heads downhill into the forest and at times you will walk several long series of steps.
Here is the view. From this point, you can either return to the car park or continue on the Wentworth Falls Hiking Loop, hiking to the Queens Cascade and Rocket Point Lookout next.
The view of Wentworth Falls from Fletchers Lookout
16. Queen’s Cascade
This is one of the most underrated things to see in the Blue Mountains.
Continuing on the Wentworth Falls Loop, to get to the Queen’s Cascade, it is about a five-minute walk from Fletchers Lookout.
The Queen’s Cascade is a cascading waterfall located on Jamison Creek that sits just above Wentworth Falls. A series of wide stepping stones runs in front of this waterfall. On one side, you’ll see the Queen’s Cascade. On the other side is the drop of Wentworth Falls. However, just to be clear, this is not a cliff walk and there is a metal fence for safety.
When we did this, the wind created a lot of mist and was blowing the water from the waterfall into the sky, so much so that we all were soaked in just a minute or two. However, this also created a gorgeous rainbow.
If you continue one minute past the Queen’s Cascade, you reach the Rocket Point Lookout circuit, mentioned next.
17. Rocket Point Lookout
The Rocket Point Circuit takes you to two different viewpoints of Wentworth Falls and the Blue Mountains. These trails start next to Jamison River, just past the Queen’s Cascade. Both are marked with a small trail sign.
When we did this, we could only hike the upper trail since the lower one was flooded.
The upper trail is the one to the left. This narrow track heads uphill through the forest, through a cave, and to a viewpoint of Wentworth Falls.
Rocket Point Lookout. The wind was so strong on the day of our visit that that water from the waterfall was being blown up into the sky.
The lower trail (the one that was flooded during our visit) runs along the edge of the cliff (it has a guardrail). It looks like a spectacular walk and well worth your time.
Each trail will take 15 to 20 minutes and we did not see a way that they connect.
18. Wentworth Falls Hiking Loop
The Wentworth Falls Hiking Loop is one of the best hikes in the Blue Mountains.
This 2.6 km (1.6 mile) loop includes Jamison and Wentworth Falls Lookouts, Fletchers Lookout, the Queen’s Cascade, the Rocket Point Lookout, the Undercliff Trail, and Prince’s Rock Lookout. It is an interesting hike from start to finish and well worth it if you are looking for a short hike to do while visiting the park.
For full details on how to do this hike, check out our Wentworth Falls Loop Hiking Guide.
The Undercliff Trail | Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
Prince’s Rock Lookout | Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
19. Valley View & Evans Lookout
These two viewpoints are located in Blackheath at the end of Evans Lookout Road, near the Grand Canyon Walking Loop. Park in the lot at the end of the road and there is a short loop trail that connects these two viewpoints. If you plan to hike the Grand Canyon Walking Loop, you’ll hike past Evans Lookout.
Valley View Lookout
Evans Lookout | Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
20. Grand Canyon Walking Track
This 5.8 km (3.6 miles) walking loop is often listed as the best hike in the Blue Mountains. On this trail, you’ll walk past small waterfalls, through lush forests, and have stunning views of the Blue Mountains.
It’s a gorgeous hike, but it can be challenging at times, with long series of steps and hills to climb.
Learn more about this hike, and see it in photos, in our Guide to the Grand Canyon Walking Track.
Grand Canyon Walking Track | Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
21. Govetts Leap Lookout & Pulpit Rock Lookout
For more spectacular views of the Blue Mountains, put these two viewpoints on your list. We ran out of time, so we weren’t able to visit Govett’s Leap and Pulpit Rock was closed during our visit (get updates on conditions here). These lookouts are located near one another, north of the Grand Canyon Walking Track. From Govett’s Leap, you get a view of Bridal Veil Falls.
Govetts Leap | Steve Heap/shutterstock.com
Pulpit Rock Lookout | cb_travel/shutterstock.com
22. Jenolan Caves
Journey under the sandstone cliffs into caves and caverns filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and other rock formations. These are the largest caves in Australia and according to the official website, the oldest cave system in the world.
There are a variety of cave tours to choose from, ranging from short, easy walks to longer, more adventurous tours.
Jenolan Caves is located in Jenolan, so it is not located near anything list above. To get here from Katoomba, it is an hour and a half drive. If you are visiting the Blue Mountains on a day trip from Sydney, the Jenolan Caves are too far away to include on your visit. However, if you plan to stay longer in this area, a day trip to the Jenolan Caves is worth it for those with an interest in caves.
Learn more about the cave tours, how to get here, hours, and pricing on the official website.
Our 7 Favorite Things to Do in the Blue Mountains
If you want to narrow down the list above, here are what we think are the 7 best things to do in the Blue Mountains.
- Echo Point Lookout
- Scenic World
- Wentworth Falls Loop
- Fletchers Lookout
- Queen’s Cascade
- Eagle Hawk Lookout
- Grand Canyon Walking Track
Best Things to Do in the Blue Mountains: On a Map
How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
How to Get to the Blue Mountains
You can get to the Blue Mountains by train, car, and on a tour.
By train, it takes 2 to 2.5 hours to travel from Sydney to Katoomba, depending on your starting point in Sydney. Get train schedules and pricing here.
Once in the Blue Mountains, you can get around on the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus, which is a hop-on hop-off bus. It goes to popular spots like Echo Point, Scenic World, and the town of Katoomba but does not go to Wentworth Falls.
By car, it is an hour and a half drive from Sydney (100 kilometers). Having a car gives you the advantage of visiting viewpoints that are inaccessible by public transportation or a tour and allows you to travel on your own schedule. We rented a car in Sydney for this day trip.
You can also visit the Blue Mountains on a tour from Sydney. Hire a private charter or take a day trip to the Blue Mountains that includes a visit to Featherdale Wildlife Park (where you can get up close with koalas).
How Much Time Do You Need in the Blue Mountains?
Many people visit the Blue Mountains on a day trip from Sydney and we did the same thing. We started the day early and moved very quickly, to do everything we listed above. But on a day trip from Sydney, you have enough time to visit Scenic World, visit the top viewpoints, and hike the Wentworth Falls Loop or the Grand Canyon Walking Track. We were able to do both, but we ended up finishing right at sunset.
For a more leisurely experience, and to add on the Jenolan Caves, plan on spending two to three days in the Blue Mountains, staying in Katoomba.
The Three Sisters
Best Time to Visit the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains can be visited all year. The summer months are a great time to visit, with warm temperatures and sunny skies.
The wettest months to visit this area are February, March, November, and December. In the winter, freezing temperatures are a possibility although snowfall tends to be low.
Our visit was in early May. We had cool temperatures about 10°C (50°F) and extremely high winds. On our visit, there were wind gusts hitting 80 kph (50mph), which made it feel even cooler.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: The Blue Mountains have much cooler weather than Sydney, since you will be at a higher elevation. Bring extra layers with you, especially if you will be visiting in spring, winter, or fall.
Where to Eat
Lunch and dinner alternatives include the Station Bar & Wood Fired Pizza, Basil Nut Café and Restaurant (Thai and Vietnamese), Little Paris Café, and Aunty Ed’s Restaurant and Bar.
Where to Stay
Katoomba makes a great home base for exploring the Blue Mountains. It’s easy to get to by train and there are a long list of restaurants and hotels to choose from.
Families and small groups should check out a property named Narrow Neck Views, which is a 4-bedroom home with gorgeous sunset views of the Blue Mountains.
Blue Country Lodge is a two-bedroom house that gets exceptional reviews and is pet friendly and comes with a washing machine, BBQ facilities, and kitchen.
Kurrara Historic Guest House is historic house that dates back to 1902 and also gets exceptional reviews.
If you are traveling on a budget, Flying Fox Backpackers gets awesome reviews and is within walking distance of the train station.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is one day enough for the Blue Mountains?
Yes, one day is just enough time to visit the highlights of the Blue Mountains. Ride the cable cars and railways in Scenic World, visit the top viewpoints in the park, hike a short trail or two, and take a stroll through the small town of Katoomba.
Are the Blue Mountains worth it?
With stunning viewpoints, thrilling cable car and gondola rides, waterfalls to photograph, and hiking trails that lead to gorgeous views, the Blue Mountains are worth it, for all ages. If you have plans to visit Sydney and are traveling with kids and/or love the outdoors, it is worth it to plan a day trip to the Blue Mountains.
What is the best way to get to the Blue Mountains?
Trains connect Sydney and the Blue Mountains, so it is easy to get here using public transportation. Once in the Blue Mountains, you can get around on the hop-on hop-off bus or take a tour. For those who want a little more freedom in getting around and planning their time, plan on renting a car. From Sydney, it takes about an hour and a half to drive to the Blue Mountains.
If you have any questions about the best things to do in the Blue Mountains, or if you would like to share your experience, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Australia
SYDNEY: Get started with our Sydney Bucket List, which contains 40 of the best things to do in Sydney. We also have a guide to 20 great restaurants and bars in Sydney, the best beaches in Sydney, and the best viewpoints and photography locations in Sydney. Sydney is one of the most scenic places in the world to go skydiving and you can learn more in our Guide to Skydiving in Sydney.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: One of the best things to do in South Australia is to visit the wine regions near Adelaide. Plan your visit with our Guide to McLaren Vale, our Guide to Barossa Valley, and our Guide to Clare Valley.
GREAT OCEAN ROAD: Driving the Great Ocean Road is one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Read all of our articles about Australia in our Australia Travel Guide.
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