I only had two days in Sydney and I spent one of them in the Blue Mountains. It’s an easy day trip by train from Sydney to Katoomba on the Blue Mountain Line. The train takes about two hours, depending on when and where you leave from, and you can tap on and off with your Opal card.
Katoomba is a nice town with plenty of shops and restaurants along Katoomba St. It’s a bit touristy, so the restaurants are crowded and probably expensive. I walked off the main drag into a Coles where I found a little deli with just about the best breakfast I ever had in my life for about $10.
A shuttle bus runs from the bus stop in front of the Carrington Hotel to all the Blue Mountain attractions, so it’s really easy to see everything you want to see in one day if you aren’t interested in doing a lot of hiking. If you don’t want to explore on your own, check out the Blue Mountain Explorer Bus, a hop on hop off bus, or Blue Mountains Adventure Company.
From Echo Point, you can hike west about 1.5km to Katoomba Falls via Lady Darley’s Lookout and Cliff View Lookout. If you don’t want to hike on the path you have a couple different options. You can always take the bus from Echo Point to Katoomba Falls or Scenic World, or walk on the paved roads if you don’t want to hike the trails.
The trail signs are a bit confusing, so be sure to look at a map first. If you start hiking on the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, the trail splits at Lady Darley’s Lookout. It looked like I should go up the stairs to go to Scenic World, so I ended up on a paved road with no more signs pointing to Katoomba Falls or Scenic World. This road will get you there, too, but I didn’t know that, so I walked back to Echo Point and took the bus to Scenic World.
Scenic World is a bit like an amusement park, with three rides through the mountains plus a rain forest walk. It has a cable car, a skyway with a glass floor and great views of the Three Sisters and Katoomba Falls, and the steepest railway in the world at 52 degree incline. When I went it was $43 AUD for an adult discovery pass, which allows you to ride the rides as much as you want all day. You do have to pick a time, though, so book ahead if you want to get in early. I booked for 3pm and rode everything once and thought it was worth the price.
The cable car lowered me down into the rain forest from the mountain top, then I did the short rain forest walk to the train. The train was really fun, and seriously, hold on to the bar above your head. I thought I was going to take pictures and I almost flew forward into the seats in front of me! From the train I took the skyway across the ravine to end my experience. When you get in the skyway, stand in the middle section if you want to be on the glass floor.
I would have done the train a second time, but I was there on a holiday and the lines were really long, so I was pretty burned out by the end and I couldn’t stand in one more line. That is the down side, like any other amusement park… the lines. If you don’t book a ticket in advance, you have to stand in the ticket purchaser line before you stand in the ticket holder’s line. Then you stand in line for each ride. I’m not saying it isn’t worth it. I had a great time and I’m glad I did it. Just be prepared to stand in lines.
After the two hour train ride back to Sydney I was pretty worn out. You can do the Blue Mountains in one day, but if you want to do a lot of hiking or do Scenic World without feeling rushed, spend two days in Katoomba. It’s a nice town with plenty of accommodations and restaurants.