Blue Mountains Day Tour from Sydney
The World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park is a mountainous region located in New South Wales, Australia. The region borders on Sydney’s metropolitan area, its foothills starting about 50 kilometres west of the city.
The Blue Mountains had already been inhabited for several millennia by the Gundungurra people, and, in the lower Blue Mountains, by the Darug people prior to European arrival in Australia.
First named the Carmarthen and Lansdowne Hills by Arthur Phillip in 1788, were later called the “Blue Mountains”, due to the blue tinge the range takes on when viewed from a distance. The tinge is believed to be caused by Mie scattering which occurs when incoming light with shorter wavelengths is preferentially scattered by particles within the atmosphere creating a blue-grey colour to any distant objects, including mountains and clouds. Volatile terpenoids emitted in large quantities by the abundant eucalyptus trees in the Blue Mountains may cause Mie scattering and thus the blue haze for which the mountains were named.
Being so close to Sydney makes it an ideal getaway for a day trip, however, a day isn’t enough to explore this magnificent region.
This tour started with a two-hour train trip from Sydney’s Central Station to Katoomba (a trip taken by locals for the past 100 years), a town that was first known for its coal mine. Once there, don’t miss the opportunity for an energising coffee at The Carrington Hotel, a heritage listed hotel restored to its former grandeur.
Spend the day exploring the area and make your way back to Sydney via water. Jump on a Parramatta River Ferry and relax as you make your way down the river admiring the beautiful waterside suburbs, spectacular scenery and the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge before arriving at Circular Quay or Darling Harbour.
Must see and do while in the region
The Scenic Railway, which operates in the original cutting in the mountain side where the coal mine used to be, is the steepest railway incline in the world and is now one of the most popular man-made tourist attractions in Australia. The ride takes you down the steep descent past Orphan Rock, through a tunnel and the beautiful fern-damp cliff face.
A few minutes walk from the car park at Cliff Drive, Katoomba you will find one of our favourite lookouts, Eagle Hawk Lookout, the best vantage point for the Three Sisters and the valley.
Admire Jamison Valley, Orphan Rock, Narrow Neck and Mount Solitary from Cliff View Lookout. This lookout is suitable for wheelchair and prams/ strollers and there is free parking available nearby.
Elysian Rock Lookout is difficult to find but will definitely reward you as it sits high on the cliff edge. There are great views across the valley to Mount Solitary, the ‘back’ of the Three Sisters and to Narrow Neck.
A visit to the Blue Mountains would not be complete without viewing the spectacular Three Sisters at Echo Point as the Three Sisters is the Blue Mountains’ most spectacular landmark, an iconic formation that you must see at least once in your lifetime.
These three weathered sandstone peaks, formed thousands of years ago through erosion, are set among the cliffs of the Jamison Valley. From the lookout, you’ll be able to see the Ruined Castle and Mount Solitary.
For History Buffs
Pay a visit to “The Explorers Tree”, a tree on which Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth, the explorers who achieved the first known successful crossing of the Blue Mountains of New South Wales by European settlers, carved their initials in 1813.
The tree is located at Explorers Hill (also described as Pulpit Hill), about 5 kilometres west of Katoomba.
More in the area
The region is also home to the famous Jenolan Caves, some of the oldest caves in the world and the picturesque town of Leura, with a jumble of antique stores, galleries, gift shops, restaurants, cafés and Everglades Historic House and Gardens.
For more details on visiting Blue Mountains National Park see:http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/Blue-Mountains-National-Park
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