Bleary eyed from a 6.30am alarm, we miraculously arrived 20 minutes early for our train to the Blue Mountains. The prfect time to grab breakfast? We thought so until we ended up on the wrong side of the station with three minutes to go. Time flies when you’re thinking of food.
Luckily, after way too much sprinting, we made it onto the train to Katoomba with seconds to spare. Two hours later, we hopped off the train and bought our tickets for the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus. At $44 for a day pass, the bus loops around 29 stops every 30 minutes for a day of smooth riding.
Our bus ticket was actually a guidebook with a ton of helpful information. As well as maps of the area, it suggested numerous walks along the region to encourage seeing as much as possible in between stops. With a storm forecast for mid-afternoon, we were keen to see as much as possible before the downpour so our first stop was Katoomba Falls.
Our first view of the incredible landscape was just five minutes from the main road. We looked out over the valley where the Scenic Skyway (part of Scenic World) glides through frequently and craned to catch a glimpse of Katoomba Falls gushing around the corner.
We decided to try and get closer by following the Price Henry Cliff Walk towards the falls.
The cliff walk is gorgeous and meanders between Katoomba and Leura via the iconic Echo Point. While part of the walk is unfortunately closed, we loved walking through the spectacular bush forest before heading back to the bus stop.
Next, we made a quickfire stop for photos at Narrow Neck lookout. Our super friendly bus driver instantly took my camera and snapped away for us…
Our next stop, Echo Point and the Three Sisters, are the most famous parts of the National Park and easily the busiest. We battled through hordes of tour groups for a front row view of the Three Sisters. Named by an Aboriginal legend, the story tells of three sisters who fell in love with three brothers from another tribe. The brothers decided to capture the sisters after they were forbidden to marry which led to a huge battle. Considering the sisters to be in danger, a witchdoctor turned them into stone. However, he was unfortunately killed before he could reverse the spell and so the sisters remain in their rock formation to this day!
You can even step onto the first sister by following a short walking trail along the cliff!
You may be wondering why they were named the ‘Blue Mountains’ – I certainly was! Well, it’s all down to the blue haze above the hills. The many Eucalyptus trees in the region disperse droplets of oil which combine with water vapour and dust particle. Short wave rays of light then scatter to create the distinctive blue colour.
The clouds were rolling in fast as we made our next stop at Leura Cascades. This started with a lovely picnic area and park – great for if you’re travelling with kids but we did spend 10 minutes there too. A downhill path guided us along a wide stream which gradually turned into beautiful cascading falls at the bottom.
Don’t stop here though – just carry on for another five minutes and you end up at the top of another spectacular waterfall!
Our final stop was in the village of Leura and as soon as we set foot inside, the heavens opened. Perfect timing! For an easier journey home, hop straight back on the train from here after looking around the village. There are lots of quirky shops which we unfortunately missed by sprinting past in the rain!
How much did we budget?
Organised Blue Mountains group tours departing from Sydney can cost upwards of $90 but these aren’t necessary. We love the benefits of being able to spend as much or as little time in each place as you want! As we were limited to public transport, here is a breakdown of our costs.
- Return train fare – $15 (daily Opal cap). Cut costs further by travelling on a Sunday where the Opal cap is $2.50!
- Hop on hop off bus pass – $44
- If you’re buying lunch, add another $20-$30 (we took a packed lunch)
We almost missed out on visiting the Blue Mountains but it ended up being one of our favourite days out in Australia. If you’re spending a short time in Sydney, don’t miss out on this brilliant day trip!