The blue mountains are an amazing phenomenal nature that you must see when traveling to Sydney. The mountains are so tranquil, breathtaking and unique.
In December I had friends over from the Netherlands and we rented a car to go see some of the highlights of the mountains. If you are planning to do the same thing (renting a car) then I advise you to check this post out. As somewhat of a local I know some cool spots to see, including a place where you can see kangaroos (Wild ones, not the ones at Featherdale Wildlife park lol)
So in this post, I will show you what a one-day self-drive Blue Mountains itinerary could look like if you follow my tips.
blue mountains itinerary | THE ROUTE
Blue Mountains road trip route overview & drive times
Underneath you can find a basic (and handy) overview of our Blue Mountains road trip itinerary.
- 10 am | Car pick up in North-Sydney
- 10.30 – 12.00 | Drive to Katoomba
- 12.00 – 13.00 | Three sisters and shopping for lunch
- 13.00 – 13.15 | Drive to Blackheath Lookout
- 13.15 – 14.00 | Lunch at Blackheath lookout
- 14.00 – 14.20 | Drive to Leura Cascades
- 14.20 – 15.30 | Wander around at Leura Cascades
- 15.30 – 15.35 | Drive to Wentworth Falls
- 15.35 – 16.00 | Wander around Wentworth Falls
- 16.00 – 17.00 | Drive to Eureka Campsite
- 17.00 – 18.00 | Check out the wildlife
- 18.00 – 19.30 | Drive back home and drop off the rental car
Underneath a break-down:
|North-Sydney||Katoomba||113 km||1 hr 25 min.|
|Katoomba||Blackheath||15 km||15 min.|
|Blackheath||Leura Cascades||17 km||19 min.|
|Leura Cascades||Wentworth Falls||9 km||16 min.|
|Wentworth falls||Eureka Campsite||39 km||1 hr 8 min.|
|Eureka Campsite||North-Sydney||77 km||1 hr 24 min.|
Driving to the Blue Mountains | Tourists tips
I advise you to try and leave the city as early as possible. Even though we left at 10, it was still reasonably quiet. I think we have gotten pretty lucky. Join the motorway towards Penrith and then follow Parramatta Road to Strathfield and then take the M4 which will eventually join the Great Western Highway. From here, just keep following the highway until you reach Katoomba. From there, follow the signs towards your first stop, The Three Sisters.
If you don’t already have a car, I recommend Budget Car Rental (we had pick up location Artamon, which allowed us to go straight onto the motorway) or you can check the options on Vroom Vroom who generally have cheap rental pricing.
This road towards the mountains does include some toll roads, so if you don’t have an e-tag, then ask your rental company if they supply them. Normally the car comes with one and the rental company will charge you the tolls just make sure to check when you pick up the car.
If you don’t have a data plan on your phone, then I advise you to make a quick stop at the visitors’ center at Glenbrook on the Great Western Highway, the first village in the mountains. They have some maps and local information.
The section underneath includes a detailed breakdown of the self-drive Blue Mountains itinerary.
STOP 1 | THE TREE SISTER | KATOOMBA
The Three Sisters are an unusual rock formation that can be seen from Echo Point in Katoomba, and it also offers some pretty spectacular views of the blue mountains.
The three sisters are a popular stopping point because of a famous Aboriginal legend. The legend goes that three sisters ‘Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and Gunnedoo’ lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe. They fell in love with 3 brothers from another tribe, but their love was forbidden. They were forbidden to marry, but in order to protect them, they were turned into stone. The witch doctor who turned cast the spell was killed in battle and therefore they are still cast in stone today.
This is one of the main stops of tour buses, so be prepared that you are not alone here. The town itself is pretty cool with lots of little shops and restaurants. If you have time, wander around the main street of the town center and check out its lovely and authentic shops. From bookstores to antiques and amazing restaurants, Katoomba has plenty to offer.
We opted to drive a bit further to Blackheath to escape the crowds.
Address for GPS: Three Sisters viewpoint, Cliff Drive, Katoomba NSW
STOP 2 | EVANS LOOKOUT | BLACKHEATH
For us, it was around 2 pm so we were starving. Instead of walking into a restaurant we decided to drive a bit further and have some lunch with this view. There are 2 picnic tables here as well as some sort of seating that you can… sit on. We were here for about 45 minutes just nibbling on our food and being in awe with this view.
I love this lookout and have been here many times. Sometimes part of it is not accessible, as it is a popular spot to get marrier at. The car park is nearby, so it is only a short walk towards these stunning views. There are many walking routes available from this point as well, so if you have time, you could go for a bushwalk. For us it was the middle of summer, so we opted out.
Address for GPS: Blue Mountains National Park, Evans Lookout Rd, Blackheath NSW 2787
STOP 3 | LEURA CASCADES | LEURA
After we filled our stomachs we hopped into our car and drive to Katoomba’s cutest little town, Leura. Filled with lovely cute shops and restaurants. I love Leura with its cute charm and lovely little shops lined along the main street.
But that’s not why we were there, we were on a mission to see the stunning Leura Cascades. We parked at Leura Cascades Picnic Area and then walked the Leura Cascades Circuit Walk. Following Leura Creek down to a beautiful small waterfall, this is one of the prettiest short walks in the Leura area. Sit under the overhang and watch as the falls cascade down around you, then climb to great views of the Leura cliff line, before this circuit track leads back to the park. The walk is only 844 meters and takes about 30 minutes. There are quite a few steps, so it is a moderate track. So beware.
Address for GPS: Leura Cascades Picnic Area, Leura NSW
STOP 4 | WENTWORTH FALLS LOOKOUT| WENTWORTH FALLS
I love Wentworth Falls. I don’t know what it is about this place, but this place never ceases to amaze me. I originally planned to do the Charles Darwin walk, but my friends are not ‘walkers’ so we missed out on that one. Instead, we drove straight to Wentworth Falls Lookout, which is pretty snappy.
The lookout is stunning and the view is fantastic! You can see the valley and waterfalls. It offers very easy access from the carpark and nearby there is a picnic area.
If you want to walk, then you can walk all the way to Conservation Hut. Be warned tho, the track can be hard to some. Best time to go either spring or autumn as it won’t be too hot.
Now be prepared for some ugly pictures…
ugly isn’t it. It can get busy here, as some tour bussed stop here as well. But in general, it is not too busy (Not like at the Three Sisters in Katoomba)
Address for GPS: Wentworth Falls tracks Lookout, Blue Mountains National Park NSW 2787
After this, it was time to look for some Australian Wildlife at Glenbrook.
STOP 4 | EUREKA CAMPGROUND | GLENBROOK NATIONAL PARK
One of the easiest locations to see kangaroos is at Eureka campground in Glenbrook National Park. This national park is located just outside of Glenbrook, one of the first towns in the blue mountains. It is only a 20-minute detour from the main road, so totally doable. You definitely do need a car, so if you are traveling by public transport then I advise you NOT to do this.
The drive to the campground was not too difficult, but there are some unpaved roads.
There is a fee to enter the park of $8,-. However, when we got there the booths were closed and we could just keep on driving. So if you come earlier in the day you might have to pay. Additionally, the park closes at 7 pm, so make sure you get there on time.
EUREKA CLEARING CAMPGROUND
The campground is surrounded by virtually untouched Eucalyptus forest and is, therefore, home to lots of Australian wildlife.
The best time to go is early in the morning or a bit later in the evening when the animals are more active. We arrive at the ground at 6 pm and found lots of activity. Some eastern Grey Kangaroo’s where grazing the fields, kookaburras were laughing their heads off, cockatoos were enjoying dinner and a family of ducks were wandering around the grounds.
After this, we headed back towards the city. Around this time it was around 6 pm and we had done enough exploring.
Thank you for reading my Blue Mountains Itinerary. What do you think is the best stop or town in the mountains? Let me know in the comments below.
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