Blue Mountains Drive

Start Point: Bayswater Car Rental, William Street, Kings Cross

Finish Point: Hartley (Can go further to the Jenolan Caves)

Distance: 163km

Estimated Driving Time: 2 hours 42 mins (Not including stops)


  • Wentworth Falls
  • Leura
  • Katoomba
  • Scenic World
  • Govetts Leap Lookout
  • Hartley
  • Jenolan Caves
  • Zigzag Railway (Closed until further notice) 

Want to get the most out of the Blue Mountains? Remember to set the checkpoints on your GPS!


A visit to the spectacular peaks and canyons of the Blue Mountains National Park is an unforgettable experience. This World Heritage Site, one of Australia’s best-known national parks, is just a 90-minute drive from downtown Sydney, making it an ideal day trip. 

With chiselled mountains and deep valleys formed more than 150 million years ago, the park’s landscape is the major draw. But there’s plenty more to keep you busy too, from the world’s oldest caves to railways, cable cars and historic villages. 


Photo: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

What to see

The Blue Mountain Drive along National Highway Route 32 packs in a plethora of views, historic towns, walking trails, waterfalls and lookouts – including many of the park's classic sights. Stroll around the pretty towns of Katoomba and Leura, with their 19th-century cottages and famous rock formations. They’re also perfect places for stocking up on supplies for your journey, and at the Visitors Centre in Katoomba, you can collect handy guides to the drive. 

What to watch out for

The park is very popular, but there’s plenty of parking available, so it's easy to park up and explore the lookouts, cliff-top bush walks and other attractions that make the Blue Mountains so unmissable. Although you’ll see plenty of other visitors on the roads, it's worth remembering that mobile phone reception is unavailable in many parts of the Blue Mountains, so make sure you have some emergency supplies with you, especially when travelling in the heat.


Wentworth Falls 

The pretty town of Wentworth Falls, 98 kilometres from Sydney, is well worth visiting to see the waterfall for which it is named.  There are several lookouts affording dramatic views of the falls and endless blue vistas of the Jamison Valley. Base yourself at Wentworth Falls picnic area, which offers parking, picnic areas and children's play areas, and is the start of exhilarating and scenic bushwalks. Be sure to check out the Weeping Rock and Fletchers Lookout tracks for some of the best photo opportunities.


Photo: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism


Just five kilometres from Wentworth Falls, Leura is a picturesque village filled with Edwardian storefronts, 19th-century cottages and beautiful gardens that are open to the public in the spring. You can spend a pleasant afternoon browsing the boutiques lining Leura Mall, or sampling the high-quality cafes and restaurants. Aside from these man-made attractions, Leura is surrounded by stunning natural wonders too, with the walk to Fortress Rock a highlight. The walk from Leura Cascades to Gordon Falls Reserve gives you lovely views of the Jamison Valley, and there are parking and picnic facilities at both ends.


Photo: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism


Katoomba is the most visited town in the Blue Mountains. Three kilometres from Leura, the town is home to some of the National Park's top attractions including Scenic World, the Edge Cinema, Katoomba Falls and one of the most photographed icons in Australia - the Three Sisters. Millions of people come to Echo Point lookout each year to see this unusual rock formation. The name comes from Aboriginal folklore, which says that the rocks are three sisters who were turned to stone. There are parking meters at Echo Point, or you can park in Katoomba's side streets.


Photo: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Scenic World 

Scenic World offers four rides providing unique views of the surrounding scenery. The most famous is the Scenic Railway, the steepest cable-driven funicular railway in the world at an incline of 52 degrees. It was built in the 1880s to haul up coal and shale from the Jamison Valley floor; now the train provides its riders with spectacular views of the surrounding rainforest. 

Courtesy from Scenic World 

The Scenic Cableway takes you on a 545-metre journey into the valley and back, allowing unique views of the Three Sisters, Orphan Rock, Mt Solitary and Katoomba Falls. The Scenic Walkway is a 2.4-kilometre elevated boardwalk through ancient rainforest, and the Scenic Skyway, Australia's highest cable car, provides a unique thrill as breathtaking views are revealed beneath your feet through the glass cabin floor. There is free parking at the attraction and a variety of food outlets.


Courtesy from Scenic World 

Govetts Leap Lookout

Sixteen kilometres on from Katoomba is Govetts Leap Lookout, one of the most famous viewing points in Australia with sweeping views down over the Grose Valley. The magnificent waterfall seen from the lookout drops 180 metres to the base of the cliff, and the spray hitting the rocks makes for a wonderful sight.  At the top of the escarpment you will find plenty of parking, a picnic ground, toilets, and signs pointing you to various cliff-top walks. The nearby Fairfax Heritage Track is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.


Heading northwest on Route 32 brings you to Hartley, or rather to the small villages of Hartley, Little Hartley and Hartley Vale, which are collectively known as Hartley Historic Village. The 19th-century colonial buildings here will take you back to a bygone age. A gold rush in 1856 saw Hartley double in size, and anyone interested in colonial architecture shouldn't miss the opportunity to see the historic inns, courthouse, church and post office that remain from that era. You can wander freely, or there are National Parks and Wildlife Service guided tours that leave from the visitors centre, where you can also park your car.

Photo: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism

Jenolan Caves

Jenolan Caves, 50 kilometres south of Hartley, are a must-see. The world’s oldest caves are an Aussie national treasure and once you experience the fascinating atmosphere underground, you'll see why. There are several caves to explore and each is different in its own way. The largest caves, filled with limestone crystal and crisscrossed by underground rivers, are millions of years old, while the smaller caves have a mysterious atmosphere all of their own. You have to do a guided tour of the caves and choose which ones to enter, but rest assured, whichever ones you choose, you'll be entranced by nature's wonder. Parking is free of charge here, though be aware that there is no petrol available: fill up before you arrive.


Photo: Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism


Heading back north, don't miss a trip on the magical Zig Zag Railway, where steam locomotives leave from Clarence Station and wind their way through the remarkable Blue Mountains scenery. Ten minutes east of Lithgow, the railway was part of the Main Western line from 1869 until 1910, and then lay disused until it reopened as a tourist attraction in the 1970s. The railway is currently closed due to lack of funds and skilled staff, but hopes to reopen in October.

Where to Stay

If you want to stretch out your visit over a few days, here are a few historic inns to choose from:

Comet Inn dates back to 1879 and is a pretty Bed & Breakfast set on 2,500 acres in Hartley Vale. (

Hatters Hideout is a unique place to stay: guests have the option of staying in a cave or a luxury lodge, and all bookings include a bush walk and talk. (

Jamison House is a boutique guesthouse in Katoomba, set on an escarpment over the Jamison Valley and offering stunning views of the National Park. (

Also in Katoomba, Kurrara Historic Guest House dates back to 1902 and offers guests a warm welcome. (

Pingbacks and trackbacks (1)+