Visiting the Blue Mountains by train
This post is unusually fresh in our minds as we only visited the Blue Mountains a few days ago. The Blue Mountains were not originally on our radar but a few friends from home and lots of people we’ve met in Oz recommended that we visit. With so many recommendations we couldn’t miss them!
The options for your visit to the Blue Mountains
There are three main ways to visit the Blue Mountains, which will be best for you will depend on your budget, how many of you there are, how much you want to see and how flexible you are. After a fair amount of research we decided to visit the Blue Mountains by train, the reasons for that will hopefully become clear soon!
1. Go on an organised tour – There are plenty of options for going on an organised tour to the Blue Mountains. A quick search on Google will turn up 10 or so companies offering different packages depending on what you want to do. Prices range from $70 to $150. Several of them also include a visit to the Featherdale Wildlife Park or the Jenolan Caves. We looked into these but after costing it decided we’d like the cheaper and more flexible option of travelling there ourselves using public transport.
2. Visit the Blue Mountains by car – If you have your own transport there’s nothing to stop you driving to the Blue Mountains! This is a great option if you’re able to. You’ll have the whole day to enjoy the scenery and can arrive and leave whenever you’re ready. There’s plenty of parking available and there are some beautiful spots for you to have a picnic.
3. Visit the Blue Mountains by train – This is option we chose, you can catch the train from Sydney Central to Katoomba which takes just over 2 hours. If you travel on a Sunday with an Opal card you can make the whole Journey for just $2.50 per person. How good is that!? We Travelled for almost 6 hours in total so $2.50 is an unbelievably good deal. Once you disembark at Katoomba you can then catch the Hop On Hop Off bus for $40 or use the local buses to head up into the mountains (these use your Opal card so would also be included for $2.50!).
How to visit the Blue Mountains by Train from Manly
We were staying at an Airbnb in Manly, North of Sydney. This makes the journey a little more complicated than going from the centre of Sydney. Below is how we got there and back and an approximate timeline for anyone wanting to make a similar journey from Manly. You can also use the trip planner on the TransportNSW website
1. We caught the Ferry from Manly Wharf at 8am, this arrives in Circular Quay (near the Opera House) at 8:30am and is a great way to travel with beautiful views as you head into Sydney Harbour.
2. We caught the first train from Circular Quay to Sydney Central. Almost every train coming through here will also pass through Central so just check the list on the screens and jump on the next train going through Central.
3. We caught the Mount Victoria train from Platform 7 in Sydney Central to Katoomba. It departed at 9:18am and arrived in Katoomba at 11:20am. The train was really busy so try and get to the platform early. Everyone is cashing in on the $2.50 deal!
4. We caught the Hop on Hop off bus into the Blue Mountains. The buses run from 9:45am until 4:25pm. The ticket office is at the exit of Katoomba station so picking up a ticket and hopping on the first stop is really easy.
5. Altogether we were in the Blue Mountains for around 4 hours, we caught the 4pm train back from Katoomba and arrived back at Sydney Central around 6pm.
6. We spent a couple of hours in Sydney before catching the 8pm Ferry back from Circular Quay to Manly Wharf.
If you’re already in Sydney all you need to do is catch the train from Sydney Central to Katoomba and back again. We’d definitely recommend visiting the Blue Mountains by train, when you take into account the money you save (especially on a Sunday) it’s easily the most cost effective option.
The Hop on Hop off Bus
We chose to get the Hop on hop off bus when we got to Katoomba. Although this was $40 we thought it was worth it as we wanted to make sure we got the most out of our visit. It includes a guide map and a commentary about the various stops and places of interest which we liked. It’s also more flexible and means you can get on and off at some of the more remote viewing areas. If you’re staying in the area the ticket can be extended for up to 7 days free of charge which would be a great way to make sure you see everything.
It’s worth saying we weren’t aware of the public bus option before we went and would certainly consider this knowing you can use your Opal card on it. We don’t regret the $40 spend though as we would’ve struggled to see as much as we did without it.
The Blue Mountains
So what are the Blue Mountains like? First of all the views are spectacular, hopefully some of the photos here will give you an idea of just how spectacular. There are plenty of walks and different spots to soak in the vistas. We were lucky to visit on a really beautiful day, the air was clear so you could see right over the valleys. It’s easy to see how the Blue Mountains got their name! I don’t want to say too much as it’s something you really need to see for yourself to appreciate it. Here are some pictures to whet your appetite 🙂
If you’re in NSW the Blue Mountains are definitely worth the trip, we really enjoyed our day here and think we made the right choice to go by train. Did I mention it only costs $2.50 on a Sunday? Well it does. What are you waiting for!?
Have you been to the Blue Mountains? We’d love to hear any tips you have or see some of your photos. Alternatively we’d love to hear if our post helped you with your plans!