Tips on how to explore the Blue Mountains in one day, while traveling near Sydney, Australia.
Prior to visiting the Blue Mountains last weekend, I dedicated a few hours to researching the area.
This gorgeous mountain range lies just west of Sydney and is full of rich green forests, towering sandstone cliffs, and scenic waterfalls.
With so much natural beauty sprawled over the landscape, I found it overwhelming to try and plan what to do in just one day.
I read so many articles on travel blogs, looked at countless maps and researched numerous camping sites, all of which sent my brain into information overload.
When the time came to begin our adventure, we ended up just picking a few random attractions from my messy notes and taking it one step at a time.
We had a great time hiking through the wilderness, sleeping overnight in a cozy little tent, photographing some amazing sights, and driving through the pure, vast landscape.
So for anyone frantically trying to plan some activities for the Blue Mountains, unsure of where to start and hoping to explore on a budget, here is how my boyfriend and I spent a day in this beautiful, rugged, peaceful area.
(We did this trip in our own car. If you’re staying in Sydney and don’t feel like hiring a car, you can book a day tour that organizes all the transportation for you. This is a great day trip to do from Sydney, as you can see some of that classic Australian wilderness. Book your tour here.)
Camp Overnight At Blackheath Glen Reserve
Driving to the Blue Mountains from where we live took about two hours, so we chose to camp overnight to avoid an early morning drive.
Blackheath Glen Reserve is a free, centrally located campground with grassy areas for tents and fire pits (though the ground was too wet at the time for us to start a fire).
We packed all our own food and water to save money, so for dinner, we sat on our sleeping bags and ate rice and veggies out of Tupperware containers by the flashlight of our cell phones.
The best part of this little camping expedition was looking upwards to see hundreds of sparkling stars illuminating the immense blackness of the night sky.
Take In The View At Govett’s Leap Lookout
After waking up early and having breakfast we drove about 15 minutes to Govett’s Leap Lookout, located right on the edge of Blackheath town.
From the lookout, we could see miles of sloping greenery creating deep valleys surrounded by powerful cliff walls.
The scene resembles something out of a dinosaur movie, as the dense landscape appears to be untouched by man.
Hike To Pulpit Rock
After studying the signs that outlined different trails, we chose the 3 hour round trip, moderate trail to Pulpit Rock from Govett’s Leap.
The hike took us down steep stone steps, past little waterfalls, and under jagged rock formations, and we had the trail to ourselves most of the time.
Stop In Blackheath Town
Around 11am after our hike, we drove back through the charming town of Blackheath to get a coffee.
Though the town is tiny, it had some colorful street art, an interesting antique shop, and a few cafes and restaurants.
For those who don’t want to camp in a tent, there is plenty of nice accommodation here as well.
Drive To Jenolan Caves
We had received some good recommendations for Jenolan Caves, so we decided to stop there next.
After about an hour of driving through wide-open countryside, past remote towns, and along winding cliffside roads, we reached this hub of limestone caves.
The next hour or so consisted of the River Walking Track, which brought us past the famous Blue Lake.
The bright turquoise water rested so calmly in the midst of the forest, and the serenity of nature continued to engulf us throughout the rest of the trail.
After finishing the River Walk, we jetted up a quick 15-minute incline to get one last view of the limestone cliffs and Blue Lake.
We didn’t actually enter the famous caves with lots of stalagmites and stalactites. We were short on time and money, but if you do want to go inside the caves you can book your ticket here.
Stop By The Three Sisters Lookout
We made it back to Blackheath around 4pm, though we almost didn’t make it because the car almost ran out of gas before we found a petrol station.
After breathing a sigh of relief while filling up the car, we decided to stop at the Three Sisters Lookout before the winter darkness took over at 5:30pm.
Located in the town of Katoomba, which is only 11km south of Blackheath, the Three Sisters is the most famous viewpoint in the Blue Mountains.
We parked in the Blue Mountains Chocolate Company parking lot to avoid paying a parking fee, then walked about ten minutes to the lookout.
Though the vicious wind chilled our bones, the view of the magnificent cliffs made the cold seem trivial.
The setting sun brought a golden haze to the landscape, and it was a truly gorgeous end to an awesome day.
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To read about more of my adventures in Australia, check out these articles: