Located about an hour from Sydney by car, the UNESCO World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park as a paradise for recharging the batteries. Thanks to the range of landscapes, there is a large choice of hikes suitable for all levels. The Blue Mountains are VERY big (about 1436 km2) however our stay was short, so we had to make strategic choices to make the most of it. Having just two days to visit The Blue Mountains, we focused on the Blackheath area (which this post will focus on too). If you want to be surrounded by rainforest, fresh air and waterfalls, you’re in the right place!
Blue Mountains – Day 1
The Evans Lookout car park is the starting point as many steps await. The car park has toilets and drinking water to prepare for your hike. If you fancy a warm-up, you can also walk to the Lookout from the Blackheath Visitor Center (about 10 minutes walk).
Cliff Top Track
On the first day, we did the Cliff Top Track, which is a 3.2 km walk along the Grose Valley Ridge. The stairs are steep, but this makes the walk even more rewarding! The many benches and railings along the way allow for significant breaks, with infinite views of the blue mountains.
Try to get there early in the morning, as temperatures rise quickly and despite the shadows from the trees, it will get hot.
It should be noted, this walk is not a loop, so the 3.2 km is only one way! Unfortunately, we realized this little detail in the middle of the walk. It is no problem, however, as you can return to The starting point (Govetts Leap Lookout car park) via the road. This will add about a half an hour’s walk, or (like us) – hitchhike!
The best part about this starting point is that you do not need to walk for hours to get a view – the starting point is already a show by itself!
If you want to go for a longer hike, the possibilities are endless! There’s Junction Rock (more on that later) or even two-day hikes from Blackheath. If we had time, we would have loved to do that as we met some hikers who returned excitedly with their eyes sparkling which made us want to go even more.
Where should I sleep?
There are many free campsites in The Blue Mountains. We chose Perry’s Lookdown, which has a dozen pitches and toilets. But beware, most free campsites do not have a water point, so make sure to leave with enough reserves!
We loved this campsite because it offers a superb view. We had an amazing sunset with a colour palette so beautiful, it looked like a painting! The blue of the mountains mingled with the pink, orange and gold of the setting sun – nothing better to end a beautiful day. When you are on the campsite, you will see signs for Perry’s Lookdown indicating the start of the treks. You will see a platform and then stairs leading to another viewpoint (5 minutes walk). Bring your camping chairs and a picnic, choose your spot and enjoy the views!
Blue Mountains – Day 2
During our Cliff Top Track hike, we noticed the stairs down the cliff, directly into the valley. Curious, we decided to return the next day, without knowing that we would end up walking 12 km in the gorge!
Initially, we only planned to go down to the Beauchamps Falls which is a 3km hike. Make sure you have good shoes as not only are these famous stairs very steep at times, the water can make the path very slippery too.
The view of the waterfalls is magical especially when we saw a rainbow appear. The majestic silence was only disturbed occasionally by a few excited cockatoos and the streaming of water. With all the giant ferns, creepers and huge eucalyptus, we felt as if we were in some prehistoric lands – we just needed some dinosaurs!
Once at the Falls, our first thought was to go the other way but we didn’t fancy climbing those stairs! Without hesitation, we decided to continue for the 11 km trek named Junction Rock, via the Rodrigues Pass.
No regrets! Firstly, because we had the opportunity to observe the rare lyre birds which mimic the cries of other birds to deceive predators. Secondly, because you could swim in beautiful natural pools and have a picnic by the edge. You could also photograph lizards all while getting drunk on the refreshing smell of eucalyptus.
The next morning before leaving the National Park, we passed by Katoomba to see the famous Three Sisters. I thought it was a shame to pass The Blue Mountains without seeing them and I am so glad we did – it really is beautiful and the view is incredible. Despite this, in no way do I regret our choice to focus on the Blackheath area during our time in The Blue Mountains.
Hiking and equipment at the Blue Mountains
We might not be the greatest of hikers, but we are always happy to talk about it! Although we did it on a whim, we were still equipped with the minimum. If you decide to do this walk (and I highly recommend it): take water – a LOT of water (however, if you run out, we drank from the river with no issues.) As many of the paths were built before the 1900s some sections, especially the steps are difficult. This means you may have to climb but this should be no problem with the correct shoes. Lastly, don’t forget a picnic and make sure your camera is fully charged and you’ll be ready to go!
Good Deals for the Blue Mountains
The Wildwalk app will be your best friend in The Blue Mountains. It lists the hikes, their level of difficulty and topographic maps. It also informs closed circuits etc. on almost all NSW National Parks. A real gold mine! If you have more time in NSW, Australia has National Park Passes which are ideal if you have planned to visit several parks, as it makes it a very worthwhile investment. More info HERE .[/information]
[toggles title=”ARRIVAL” icon=”icon-arrow-right”]Blue Mountain is about 2 hours from Sydney. If you do not have a car, you can also catch the Blue Mountains by train (Sydney Central Station exit). The train journey takes about 2h – 2h30. Otherwise, organised tours to the Blue Mountains are offered. This is probably the best alternative if you do not have time or a car.[/toggles]
[toggles title=”ENTRY TO THE NATIONAL PARK” icon=”icon-money”]Access to the National Park is free. EXCEPTION applies to Glenbrook attractions for which entry fees apply. (AUD 8 per day per vehicle)[/toggles]
[toggles title=”TIPS” icon=”icon-lightbulb”]If you can, head to the Blackheath Visitor Center at the Echo Point Visitor Center. The parking lots around Echo Point are all chargeable and it is difficult to find a place at all. The visitor center charges a fee of AUD 5 for parking, with parking in Blackheath free of charge. A very friendly employee gave us maps (very helpful) with information on the campsites and the respective attractions. In addition, he has also advised us on tips and about our desired route. Really great![/toggles]
[toggles title=”CAMPER RENTAL” icon=”icon-truck”]It is recommended to rent in Sydney when visiting the Blue Mountains. You can easily compare offers from different providers here: www.motorhomerepublic.com[/toggles]
[toggles title=”CAR HIRE” icon=”icon-road”]Compare offers from many providers here quickly and easily, you’ll probably find a cheaper deal in Sydney to visit the Blue Mountains: www.airportrentals.com[/toggles]