The Blue Mountains, which are located 130km west of Sydney, are one of the most popular national parks in Australia, and somewhere we definitely had to visit. The mountains get their name from the natural blue haze created by the eucalypt forests. The oil from the trees mixes with water vapour and sunlight to produce the distinctive blue colour.
After a hectic few days in Sydney, and with 1000km still to drive before reaching Brisbane, our time in the area was limited. We therefore decided to complete a one day route along the Greater Blue Mountains scenic drive, which includes the majority of the parks most popular attractions.
After camping in Blackheath, we made our way south to Wentworth Falls where our route started.
We walked a one hour circular route, which took us to the top of the falls and round to the Princes and Fletcher lookouts, for even better views of the huge falls.
We followed this with a walk around the small boutique town of Leura, with it’s high street full of cafes, shops and bakeries. Despite it being early and nearly winter, the town was already getting very busy.
Nearby to Leura was the Sublime Point lookout. Just a short walk from the carpark, the platform provided incredible views of the surrounding mountains, and the thick cloud covering the valley below us, which had yet to clear despite the strong sun.
Next on our itinerary was the Leura Cascades, a series of waterfalls which again are not far from the town itself. We completed a short 40 minute route along the boardwalk that follows the falls down the valley.
Unfortunately we also stumbled upon another more unexpected waterfall, a Japanese lady who obviously couldn’t make it back to the toilets in the carpark. You will be glad to know that there are no photos of this one though.
The park’s most popular lookout is at Echo Point, in Katoomba, which provides panoramic views of the Jamison Valley and the iconic Three Sisters rock formation.
Whilst this was one of the most impressive views of the day, the lookout is easily accessible, and extremely popular with coach tours. This meant we had to fight through crowds of selfie sticks to reach the front, which does taint the view somewhat.
We managed to get away from most of crowds on the walk to the honeymoon bridge. Climbing down the steep stairs to reach the bridge was well worth it, although it didn’t seem such a good idea on the way back up.
We avoided the park’s most popular attraction Scenic World, having been told by several people it was overly touristy. Instead we continued along the scenic drive and visited some of the lesser known lookouts, including the Landslide lookout and Govetts Leap.
After a very busy day we made our way back down to the far warmer coast for the night. We had a great day in the Blue Mountains, although it is far more built-up and touristy than some of the other national parks we have visited and possibly preferred.