Weekender's guide to the Blue Mountains

March 11, 2020 / By Ailsa Kemp

Getaway to the Blue Mountains? Why not!
Distance from Sydney: 90-minutes by car and 2 hours via train. 
Population: Approximately 79,000. 
Known for: Bushwalking, Three Sisters at Katoomba, and village shopping. 
Information Centre: Glenbrook and Katoomba
Traditional owners: The Blue Mountains is the traditional lands of the Darug and Gundungurra Nations

Expanding over 1 million hectares, the Blue Mountains is a breathtaking playground of canyons, caves, waterfalls, eucalyptus forests and bushwalking tracks, all within a 90-minute drive from Sydney. Over 79,000 lucky Australians call the Blue Mountains home and when you visit, you'll be hard pressed not to want to join them. Whether you choose to visit for a day or stay the entire weekend, there are so many things for you to explore and experience along the winding highway. Make sure you've packed a camera or fully charged your phone because the Blue Mountains is one of the most "instagrammable" places in Australia. 

When you first start to climb the mountains on the M4, you'll quickly come to Glenbrook, the first main suburb in the region. From the main road, you can directly access the Information Centre on the left which is always a good spot for new travellers as you can pick up handy maps, guides and pamphlets on what to do in the area. This Information Centre will cover the enter region but if you miss it, there is a second one further up the highway in Katoomba. 

Botanic Gardens Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens Mount Tomah

As you no doubt have guessed, the Blue Mountains is largely popular because of its vast national parks and all the outdoor activities you can do within it. Bushwalkers have ample trails to choose from with a variety of levels to suit your experience that can be found all across the mountains. In the warmer weather, cool off in the natural waters of Jellybean pools in Glenbrook or take in the gorgeous 3-tiered waterfall of Wentworth Falls

For those wanting a little more adrenaline, take a guided rock climb, abseil or go canyoning and see the region from a whole new (and high) perspective. You should also wander through the Botanic Gardens in Mount Tomah where you'll find 21,000 plants and 900 species that will delight you no matter the time of year. 

While enjoying your adventures, make sure you keep an eye out for all the signs of Aboriginal history or take a guided tour to learn about Aboriginal culture and traditions. One of the main things you will hear about is undoubtedly the legend behind the Three Sisters, who were turned to stone and can now be seen from Echo Point in Katoomba. Millions of tourists from all over the world travel to the Blue Mountains specifically to see the unusual rock formation and are captured by its wonder and the stunning backdrop of valleys and cliffs. 

If you're more of a shopper than an outdoor adventurer, the Blue Mountains has something for you too! Many of the suburbs and villages have shopping strips packed with boutique stalls that sell everything from handmade clothes and soaps through to second-hand books and knick knacks. 

That's a lot to pack into one day. If you feel the same way, there are a variety of accommodation options available including hotels, guesthouses and family-run B&Bs that will see you comfortably through the night and onto your next day of exploring! 

With so many things to do and such a short distance from Sydney, the Blue Mountains will become one of your favourite getaway locations. 

We think you should know: The Weekender's travel guides are independently written by real travellers. We do not receive any money from, or have a sponsorship arrangement with, any of the entities listed in, or referred to in this article.

So much more to explore - Blue Mountains