The Blue Mountains, which formed over 50 million years ago, are located about 40 miles west of Sydney, Australia. The Blue Mountains, which get their iconic blue colour from the eucalyptus forests that cover their slopes, offer scenic views and invigorating hiking trails. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a longer stay, you can easily get to the Blue Mountains from Sydney using a variety of transportation options!
Method 1 Traveling to the Blue Mountains by Train
1. Get an Opal card or a single-use train ticket. Opal cards are reloadable and can be used to pay for public transportation in Sydney and the surrounding areas. You can also purchase a single-use train ticket, but you will generally pay a higher fare if you do.
Opal cards can be purchased at convenience stores, newsagents, and train stations throughout Sydney, as well as online. For specific locations of Opal vendors, visit Sydney’s public transportation website.
The Opal card itself is free, but you must load a minimum of $10 onto it at the time of purchase.
2. From Sydney Central Station, take the Blue Mountains Line. The Sydney Central Station, located in Haymarket, NSW 2000, provides regular train service to the Blue Mountains. Check the indicator screens located throughout the station to determine which platform the Blue Mountains Line serves.
Train fares vary depending on the time of day and distance travelled, but a train ride from Sydney to the Blue Mountains should cost around $6.
The train ride from Sydney to the Blue Mountains usually takes about 2 hours. On your ride, you can expect to see some breathtaking scenery! Make sure to sit on the top-left side of the train deck for the best views!
3. Choose a city in the Blue Mountains as your destination. Your train will stop in several cities throughout the Blue Mountains, including Wentworth Falls, Leura, and Katoomba. Decide where you want to get off the train and begin exploring!
Each city has something special to offer. Wentworth Falls has a beautiful waterfall view that you can reach via a walking trail from the train station called “Darwin’s Walk.” A short bus ride or walk from Katoomba station will take you to the Three Sisters, an iconic lookout and rock formation.
Public buses, trains, and hop-on-hop-off bus services make it simple to travel between cities in the Blue Mountains.
Method 2 Getting to the Blue Mountains by Car
1. If you want to visit more remote locations, rent a car. If you don’t already have a car, you can ‘hire a car’ (as the locals say) through a website or by going to a car rental store. The Sydney airport is home to a number of car rental companies. The Blue Mountains are about an hour and 40 minutes by car from Sydney. If you want to visit more remote areas that are not easily accessible by public transportation, driving to the Blue Mountains is a great option.
Travel websites like Hotwire conduct aggregated searches of many car companies to help you find the best rate.
An economy car rental will cost you around $30 per day (excluding insurance).
If you don’t want to drive yourself, you can hire a taxi to take you to the Blue Mountains for a bit more money. Taxi fares can be found on Sydney’s public transportation website.
2. Familiarize yourself with the driving laws in Australia. Each country has its own set of driving rules, so before embarking on your journey, make sure to research and adhere to the Australian driving regulations. Many rental car companies provide free road rules quizzes to assist you in learning. When you pick up your rental car, inquire whether the company has any resources to help you.
Keep in mind that you must drive on the left side of the road and that the steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicle.
Keep a conversion chart handy because road speed signs will be in kilometres. For example, 100 kilometres equals 62 miles per hour.
3. Plan your route ahead of time in case your GPS signal goes out. Before you start driving, use an atlas or an online mapping tool to plan your route. Make a copy of the map and bring it with you on your trip. Because cellular phone service may be limited in some areas of the Blue Mountains, you won’t be able to rely solely on GPS for directions.
The most direct route to the Blue Mountains’ foothills is to take the A4 motorway west from Sydney to the M4 in Strathfield. The M4 will take you to the Great Western Highway/A32, which will take you through the mountains and past towns like Wentworth Falls and Katoomba.
Keep an eye out for large animals like livestock and kangaroos, which frequently cross the road in the early morning and late evening.
4. Plan ahead of time where you will park. Look for Blue Mountains National Park signs along the Great Western Highway. There are several parking areas in the park, all of which are conveniently located near scenic overlooks and hiking trails.
The cost of parking and admission varies depending on the location. For example, attractions in the Glenbrook area charge a $8 fee per vehicle, per day.
For parking maps and fees, visit the Blue Mountains National Park website.
The park provides visitors with access to wireless internet, restrooms, food, and electricity.
Method 3 Taking a Tour Bus to the Blue Mountains
1. If you want a pre-planned trip, look up tours online. Consult Sydney travel websites to find a tour bus schedule that works for your itinerary. For a fixed fee, tour bus companies, also known as coach buses, provide day trips from Sydney to the Blue Mountains. Traveling by tour or coach bus may be a good option if you prefer to leave the details of your trip to someone else, as tour companies will research and organise a set itinerary for your trip. Popular tour options and prices can be found on websites such as getyourguide.com.
Tours to the Blue Mountains typically last 9-10 hours, departing Sydney around 8:30 a.m. and returning around 6 p.m.
While prices vary depending on the season, organised day tours from Sydney to the Blue Mountains typically cost around $100.
2. Compare tour activities and select the one that appeals to you the most. Consider whether you’d rather spend your day in the mountains hiking, watching wildlife, or learning about the region’s history. The tour price includes activities during your stay in the Blue Mountains in addition to transportation. Companies provide a variety of tour activities to cater to a wide range of interests.
If you have trouble walking long distances, consider taking a tour with limited hiking. Some tours include skyway tours, which provide breathtaking views while riding in the comfort of a moving cable car suspended in the air.
Remember that some tours include lunch while others do not. Check the tour information online and, if necessary, bring your own snacks and water.
3. Find the tour bus departure point. Tour buses leave from a few centralised locations throughout Sydney, so check with your tour company for your exact departure location. Tour buses frequently depart from major hotels or Sydney’s Circular Quay.
Purchase an Opal card for easy access to your tour bus departure location via Sydney’s public transportation system. Opal cards can be purchased at a variety of retail locations throughout the city, including convenience stores.
For local train maps and ticket information, visit Sydney’s public transportation website.
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