Sydney has so much to offer, with its multicultural precincts, seaside attractions, and beautiful walks in a variety of suburban lush parks, there is never a dull moment.
However, if you are wanting to explore beyond the city limits, and immerse yourself in the Australian landscape, the Classic Blue Mountains road-trip is the ideal way to do it. The Blue Mountains is a world heritage wilderness region, that begins 60km west of Sydney. One day is not enough to capture each of the attractions the Blue Mountains has to offer, from bushwalks to scenic railways, waterfalls, cliffside hikes, camping opportunities, and so much more. Not to mention that each town you drive through, will give you a taste of the iconic world of Australia.
Because of the outdoorsy nature of the Blue Mountains as a holiday destination, one of the best ways to explore the region, is by luxury motorhome. You can easily rent a motorhome from Sydney to the Blue Mountains, which come with comfortable bed, kitchen, shower and toilet, air conditioning and sound system. Plus, there are numerous options for campsites and National Park stays once you arrive in the region.
The Harbour Bridge and Opera House
Staying on Sydney's waterfront or nearby to Circular Quay not only offers some spectacular views and breakfast options, but the opportunity to make a day of the activities it has available. You don't just get photos in front of the Opera House, but if you are daring you could venture onto the Harbour Bridge Climb, a three-hour experience that will showcase views of the harbour and incredible architecture that defines the city and history of Sydney.
If you are not a fan of heights then a ferry ride on the harbour is just as beautiful, you could travel to Lunar Park across the bay and have a fun day out for the family or just enjoy it if you are the classic ride junkie and like a good time. Or you could ride across to Manly and enjoy a walk along the white sands of the bay, go for a dip in the clear waters and experience some of Sydney's best seafood at one of the restaurants lining the walkway. If you like a little safari adventure, then the ferry can also take you to the bottom of one of Australia's most popular zoos, Taronga. Explore the jungle of animals at this iconic attraction discovering the habitats of exotic and native creatures found on the Australian and national landscapes.
To complete your evening, enjoy a live performance by Australia's most famous Ballet company or a musical at the magnificent Opera House, or wander to the top of Centre Point Tower and enjoy a buffet meal at the tower's revolving restaurant, whilst taking in the magnificent views and its stunning lights.
A day in Darling Harbour
Sydney is known for its waterfront experiences. Another site that draws the crowds and is worth the journey is a day out on Darling Harbour. The Aquarium is just another of Sydney's popular attractions where you can dive into the beautiful underwater world of Australia's sea life, as well as some wonders from around the world.
Right next door you can try your luck at the wildlife world and hand-feed some native Australian animals, such as wallabies and kangaroos, whilst encountering some of the deadliest animals that Australia has on offer such as spiders and snakes in the reptile section.
Also attached to this centre is Madame Tussauds, the infamous wax museum of celebrities including some of our own such as Steve Irwin the classic Crocodile Hunter. This destination offers opportunities for photos next to what seems to be life-like figures in action, a great walk-through experience.
The Food options in Darling Harbour are nothing short of amazing, from chocolate cafes to incredible Cuisines and fresh seafood, trying one of these many lined restaurants on the water is a great way to enjoy your lunch after a jam-packed morning. Dinner is a terrific idea too after a long day walking about the incredible site of the Harbour and experiencing all it has to offer; it is up to you.
Just an hour from Sydney's city centre lies Richmond, the bottom point of the Blue Mountains and the start of a wondrous adventure into the rainforests and rich undergrowth of the Australian Bush. Richmond is situated at the beginning of the scenic Bells Line Road, a popular tourist drive providing access to the Blue Mountains and Wollemi National Park, and offers a range of parks, side ventures, and more on your journey up the Mountains.
The drive outside of Sydney, leaving behind the crowded suburbs and business of the roads, offers much lush scenery and farmlands for one to enjoy and you will have stop to take pictures along the way. The Hawkesbury is one of the most famous rivers lining the inland of NSW and offers a diverse and rich backdrop as you drive leaving you relaxed and refreshed for the day ahead.
Stopping in Richmond is a great way to begin experiencing some of Australia's famous fruit picks. The Richmond good food market showcases freshly grown produce directly from local farms and food producers and is held every Saturday from 8 am -1 pm at Richmond Park. Picking up some local delicacies, will expose you to the local home-grown life as well as line your picnic basket for a great day ahead.
The Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens
Just a mere 37 minutes from Richmond's town centre, hidden away in the growing undergrowth of huge elm trees and beautiful blanketed countryside farms is the popular Botanical Gardens of the Blue Mountains.
These gardens offer the green thumb or those who love nature a view of the Blue Mountain ranges, whilst you explore the bottle brush, wattle, lavender, and the exotic world the garden has on offer. Watch out for the willy wagtails, blue fairy wrens, magpies, and other birds hidden in the undergrowth, their sweet sounds complement the lush backdrop of small waterfalls, ponds, and flowers that line the pathways and offer a serene and joyous walk-in nature. Finish up with a small picnic enjoying the local farm produce you picked up in Richmond or a home-cooked meal at the Botanical Gardens restaurant overlooking the Blue Mountains and garden from above.
The Local Treasures of Bilpin
On your way to Black heath, and as you are beginning to enjoy the farmland dropping to smaller plots with sweet cottages and homes lining the road, don forget to stop in at the Bilpin Cider house for a homemade apple pie and locally made cider. Bilpin is famous for its apples and this is just one place you have to take a rest, walking sound the small farm vineyard and tasting the sweet-tasting cider and crispy warm apple pie.
On to Blackheath
Just 49 km, from the beautiful and windy roads of the Bilpin and driving along the rainforest hillside of Bell's Liner Road, you will come to the small but beautiful town of Blackheath. It is here you can enjoy a delicious pub meal or even a cuisine of your choice, the Thai restaurant is just divine.
Put on your hiking shoes, and get those legs ready because Blackheath and Katoomba offer some of the best bushwalks and views the Blue Mountains have on to offer and in just one day you can accomplish a lot of sightseeing.
The Best Breakfast in Town and Exquisite Lookouts
Beginning your day in Blackheath with a good meal will give you the energy to start the day fresh and ready for your many adventures. The Bakehouse on Wentworth not only has terrific coffee, but some bakery items that will melt your mouth, heart and soul. With the sweet-smelling goodness, enjoy some of the homemade pastries both savory and sweet, or even bakery pies and your day will begin well.
Some of Blackheath's iconic lookouts are only a ten-minute drive from the town's centre. Govetts leaf and Perry's Lookdown offer peaceful and exquisite views of the red rocky and blue-hazed mountains sides with a range of walks catered to all levels of fitness. The Braeside trial is just one of these walks that connect to the Govetts Leap lookout and a simple 30-minute walk experiencing some of the mountain's gum trees and water wildlife. There is nothing like a fresh misty morning walk to enliven the soul and brighten the day, as the sun peers through the clouds.
Perhaps one of the hottest attractions and a Centrepoint for tourists is the town of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Just a 30-minute drive from Blackheath along the edges of the Blue Mountain passes, Katoomba's Echo Point offers a day out for all people to experience and divulge the beauty of the Blue Mountains. Visiting the Echo Point visitors centre and taking some iconic photos at the lookout, the site offers a series of walks and challenges.
If you are up for a simple walk, the Prince Henry cliff walk is a 9-minute walk from the lookout which takes you to a viewing platform overlooking the valley, as well as the Lady Darley lookout track is a five-minute walk to a similar lookout and with great photo opportunities overseeing the gullies and valleys within the Blue Mountains.
One of the most popular places to visit is the walk to the three sisters. This too is a short walk to the famous three rock formations that look like three sisters standing in a row, but come with more challenging options such as the Giant Stairway. The Giant Stairway is 100 steps that lead you to the forest floor offering an hour's walk through a rainforest-covered scenery to the popular tourist attraction called Scenic World. If this is not at your level of fitness then a bus can also take you directly to the Scenic World for you.
The 100 steps will leave your legs wobbly, so be mindful to take your time and bring plenty of water and bug spray. But there is nothing like walking under the hanging vines and willow trees and listening to the trill of the lyrebird and other native wildlife on the forest floor.
Reaching the destination of Scenic world by foot or by bus, you have the option of taking the railway train up the side of a cliff of the mountain or walking the board walked tree top walk, leading you to the glass elevator that will take you across the valley by cable to the center located on the side of the cliff. Either experience is exciting and offers some spectacular views as you travel up.
Enjoy a delicious meal after your many adventures around the world you have explored below as you take in the wonder of the greenery through the glass windows overlooking the gully.
Katoomba, like Blackheath, offers some incredible Air BNB options in homes that are over 100 years old, as well as hotel experiences for those who desire it, with glass windows situated right on the edge of the cliffside for a spectacular forest experience. Choosing one of these options will allow you the time to take in your experiences and enjoy the homemade meals and the clear night skies, which in Katoomba offer hundreds and hundreds of prince stars unlike in Sydney where much of the night sky covered in the haze of city lights.
A Morning at the Spa
New Zealand and other rich mountainsides may offer some unique and relaxing options for those who are seeking a day at the spa, but Katoomba also offers its infamous Japanese Bathhouse. A place of deep relaxation with facials, spa treatments, and massage packages and the opportunity to soak in the hot springs on offer. This is a wonderful way after your long journey to begin the day before you continue on your travels soaking in all the salts and minerals for great exfoliation and body rejuvenation. This bathhouse could not come more highly recommended.
Imagine an underground world of rich Australian history and caves that offer crystallized formations and even glow worms. Jenolan Caves are the largest most spectacular and famous caves in Australia. A world heritage site, take a guided tour into the underworld of the world's oldest caves and learn about the rich European history and the beauty of the Aboriginal culture. Relax in a cafe or bar at the magnificent Chisolm's restaurant and even end your trip with staying in the warm, relaxing accommodation the site has to offer.
There is so much to see from Sydney to the Blue Mountains and you could spend weeks if not months exploring. We suggest choosing 5 different activities and taking your time at each of them. Each destination is rich in history and beauty and has so much to offer that it should not be rushed, but rather enjoyed.