Blue Mountains National Park is one of the most popular side trip options from Sydney. It takes less than 2 hours by car or train to get there from the city, making it a viable option for a day trip. The Blue Mountains region has multiple towns and hot spots, and many people do longer visits as there are various hiking, trekking, and camping options.
But if you are like me, preferring easy walks and lovely views to hardcore outdoors-y adventures, your best bet is to do a day trip to Katoomba Scenic World.
Katoomba Scenic World, Blue Mountains
Katoomba Scenic World is like a gateway to the rest of the Blue Mountains region, I’d say, and has the most suitable activities for casual sightseeing. You can easily do everything within a day, and if you are in Sydney for more than a couple days, I’d highly recommend making a day trip here.
If you have a car, the easiest option to get there by far is to drive. Just plug it in to your GPS 😉 It’s a pretty easy drive from Sydney, and it takes around 1.5 hours to reach the town of Katoomba. Pro tip: leave Sydney early and get brunch in Katoomba before visiting the Scenic World.
Alternatively you can take the Sydney Blue Mountains Train from Central Station towards Bathurst, and alight in Katoomba. There are 1-2 trains every hour, so make sure you check the timetable here>> and plan your journey in advance. From Katoomba, you can get on either a Blue Mountains Explorer or Trolley Tours bus to the main Scenic World building entrance.
A single-day Unlimited Discovery Pass costs AUD 39 for adults and AUD 21 for children aged 4-13. It includes unlimited rides on all the cableways and railways and skyways (more on those later) in the Scenic World. You can buy your tickets from the counter in the main building, and the super helpful staff can help recommend how you should plan your day based on your preferences.
Things to Do
Most people start by taking the Skyway, which goes across the valley from the entrance building to the East Point. The ride gives you a bird’s eye view over the Jamison Valley, and highlights include the Three Sisters (a unique rock formation the Blue Mountains is famous for) and Katoomba Falls.
When you alight at the East Point, there are various trekking trails you can take, with multiple lookouts along the way, each one giving a breathtaking view over the valley. Each trail is marked with labels telling you how long it’ll generally take to walk, to pick the ones that suit your preferences.
For the more adventurous (and the fit! ha.), there’s the Great Round Walk that goes all the way from East Point to Echo Point (where you can visit the Three Sisters), then down the Giant Stairway (1000 steep steps down to the valley floor), and then through the rainforest to the Railway station, which you can take to go back up to the main entrance building.
Safe to say I didn’t take this route, rather after walking one of the shorter trails, I hopped on the Skyway back to the main entrance building and then took the Railway down to the valley floor. The Scenic Railway has a 52 degree incline and is the world’s steepest passenger railway. Thrill-seekers can even adjust the seating so you get a 60 degree incline! I personally think the ride down is the most thrilling, and the railway journey was definitely one of the highlights of my day trip.
Alighting at the bottom of the valley, I took one of the walking routes through the rainforest that brought me to the Cableway station, and hopped on the Cableway back up to the main building.
Of course this itinerary is far from being set in stone – for more suggestions you can visit their official website here>> where they list down all the recommended itineraries including “Photography Fiend”, “Nan and Pop with Kids”, and “Scared of Heights”.
All in all the AUD 39 price tag is a tad hefty (but then again everything in Sydney is sort of expensive! ;), but if you want a taste of the Blue Mountains, enjoy a day of fine sweeping views and fresh air, and a ride on the steepest railway in the world, Katoomba Scenic World is worth a visit!
Katoomba Scenic World Address: Violet St & Cliff Drive, Katoomba NSW 2780, Australia Website: http://www.scenicworld.com.au/ Opening hours: Mon - Sun, 9am to 5pm