• Meghan Bartok

Exploring the Blue Mountains: Sydney Day Trip

Updated: Apr 13

When I think back on my three months in Australia, this experience is often the one that comes to mind first. I think it’s just something about being in the outdoors that I really enjoy, and it was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. I chose to stay a night in the Blue Mountains while I was there, but it is also totally possible to do this as a day trip. In fact, many people do! I think the best part of this trip is that I got to share the day with my longtime best friend Aili who had come to visit me, as well as my friend Emily who I met the first week I was in Sydney. Good company always makes for a great time!

This is also a super affordable day trip on public transport! If you go on a Sunday, the Opal Card caps at $2.70AUD, and any other day of the week it will cost you around $14AUD. When we went, we got off at Katoomba, which put us right near the hostel we were staying at for the night (Blue Mountains YHA – highly recommend!), as well as the Blue Mountains Visitors Center. Emily had been to the Blue Mountains before, but Aili and I had not, so we had no real plans other than to hike around and take in the views. The Blue Mountains are honestly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and it made all the stairs we hiked up and down totally worth it.


There are so many hikes you can do throughout the Blue Mountains, and this day we turned right from the visitor’s center and hiked all the way to Scenic World, passing by several lookouts and waterfalls. The best and worst part of the day was doing the Furber Steps, which take you down into the valley. There are so many of them, but there is also no cell phone reception and it’s so quiet and peaceful down there. When we reached Scenic World, which is an interesting place I described in my journal as “a bizarre mining themed historical village of sorts”… We had a look around, then chose to pay the $22AUD to take the Scenic Railway up rather than doubling back and climbing up all those stairs. Sometimes you just have to choose convenience over budget!


That night Emily left, as she had to work Monday morning, and Aili and I called it an early night. The next morning we were up early to get our morning coffee, which was our ritual while she was visiting. We stopped at the cutest cafe on the high street called Clean Slate Cafe, which had fantastic blueberry muffins! Then it was off to Cole’s to get some food for a picnic lunch and back to the mountains for another great hike. This time we turned left from the visitor’s center and hiked along the cliff to Gordon Falls and the village of Leura. This hike was just as quiet and peaceful, and the view seemed to get better at every turn. One of my favorite memories of that day will always be having a heart to heart with Aili over our lunch of hummus and carrots at one of the lookouts. There was a little waterfall in a little glen towards the end of the trail, which was so picturesque. We ended our day with a walk through the shops in the cute little village of Leura, before sadly catching the train back to Sydney.

A trip to the Blue Mountains is great to break up the bustle of a stay in Sydney, and the day there can cost as little as $2.70 plus lunch! It makes for a great budget adventure on any trip. If you have the time, I would definitely recommend staying a night or more to really take the time to explore the Blue Mountains, as well as the little towns that surround it.

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