Australia boasts some of the most scenic drives in the world. Not only are the sights beautiful once you arrive at your destination, but all along the way there as well. The Greater Blue Mountains Drive takes you from Sydney west across New South Wales and into the Blue Mountains. The drive allows you to see part of the outback before reaching the majestic Blue Mountains. For more info, see our previous blog posts detailing Winter in the Blue Mountains and Bushwalking in Jamison Valley.
Greater Blue Mountains Drive Map Photo Credit: Google Maps
Blue Mountains Scenery Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com
Hiring a Car for the Great Blue Mountains Drive
Sydney Car Hire Location Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
Blue Mountains Scenery Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com
When planning head west for the Greater Blue Mountains Drive, you can rent a car in Sydney at one of many convenient locations. If you flew into Sydney on holiday, you can hire a car right at the Sydney Airport. Other locations in Sydney where you can rent a car at a great price include Sydney east location in Alexandria, or the Sydney southwest location in Ravensby. Be sure to let your car rental agent know that you are planning to do the Greater Blue Mountain Drive so that they can ensure you have the best vehicle for your coastal trip. Our helpful car rental agents can also assist you with local maps, holiday tips and pointers, and travel safety information.
Greater Blue Mountains Drive Points of Interest
Blue Mountains National Park Map Photo Credit: environment.nsw.gov.au
Upper Wentworth Falls Photo Credit: Wikipedia
One of the first stops along the scenic drive from Sydney to the Blue Mountains is Wentworth Falls. When you leave Sydney and head west, take the M4 Motorway, continue on through the picturesque towns of Faulconbridge and Hazelbrook and the next stop is Wentworth Falls. The scenic views afford some of the best views overlooking the Jamison Valley. If you choose to stop, you can walk into the Blue Mountains National Park via the trails that begin near Wentworth Falls.
Leura Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Leura Cascades Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Continuing on our scenic Greater Blue Mountains drive, we head to Leura. Leura is a town known for its galleries, shops, and gourmet cafes that line up behind the tree-lined streets. Among the things to do when visiting here, you should definitely see the Laura Cascades and checking Gordon Falls lookout and picnic area. The lookout boasts an awe inspiring view of Mount Solitary and Kings Tableland. The panoramic views usually include some of the birds that make the Blue Mountains home including lyrebirds, and peregrine falcons. Other nearby spots to check out includes Everglades Gardens, Mount Hay, Leuralla Toy and Railway Museum, and Lawson Waterfall Court.
The Three Sisters Photo Credit: Wikipedia
ScenicWorld Cableway Photo Credit: ScenicWorld.com
ScenicWorld Railway Photo Credit: ScenicWorld.com
ScenicWorld Walkway Photo Credit: ScenicWorld.com
ScenicWorld Skyway Photo Credit: ScenicWorld.com
Right next to Leura is Katoomba. It’s a diverse mountain town that is home to historic buildings, great restaurants, antique stores, and you can usually find an event or festival happening during your visit. The picturesque side of Katoomba is a sharp contrast to quaint village businesses and buildings. Echo Point is where you can catch magnificent views of one of the most popular spots in the Blue Mountains, the Three Sisters granite rock formation. Walking trails and lookouts can be access from Echo Point. Nearby you can visit Scenic World and tour the area via their 4 different tours: Scenic Walkway, Scenic Railway, Scenic Cableway, and Scenic Skyway. Each one allows you to see the Jamison Valley a slightly different way. You should really try all four so that you can decide if you can even pick a favorite way to see the rainforest, eucalyptus forest, escarpment, and rocks formations. Fun fact: it is the eucalyptus trees that give the mountains a blue hue. The eucalyptus oil gets into the atmosphere and when the sun shines on them it highlights the blue rays, and thus the namesake of the range.
View of Grose Valley from Govett’s Leap Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Grand Canyon at Blackheath Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Blackheath is the city with the highest elevation in the Blue Mountains. It is home to some magnificent views of Gose Valley from Govett’s Leap or Evans Lookout over the valley and to some magnificent sights including Pulpit Rock, Perry’s Lookdown, and Anvil Rock. Blackheath and the Grose Valley are known for its colourful blooms each spring and the town hosts an annual Rhododendron Festival. Blackheath is the entrance to the Blue Mountains National Park. Many visitors to the national park stay in Blackheath and enjoy the mountain village feel, guesthouses, and delicious food.
Blue Mountains National Park
Claustral Canyon Photo Credit: VisitNSW.com
Bridal Veil Falls Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Blue Mountains National Park is actually a side excursion to the Greater Blue Mountains scenic drive while some parts of the park are on the scenic drive, others are not. Of course, it is usually the focus of a holiday in this region. Inside Blue Mountains National park, you can discover many sights including Wollemi National Park, which is now part of the Great Blue Mountains Heritage Site along with other national parks in the area. If you do opt to stay in the area for a longer period of time, you can visit other sights within the Blue Mountains National Park. While in the park you can camp there to extend your time with nature and enjoy the crisp clean air the beautiful mountains provides. Other activities popular in the park include bush walking, 4WDriving, horseback riding, mountain biking, canyoning, caving, rock climbing, and abseiling.
Jenolan Cave Tour Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Jenolan Caves Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The Jenolan Caves are located in the Blue Mountains and are definitely one of the must-see scenic highlights when taking the Great Blue Mountains scenic drive. These are the world’s oldest caves and one of the largest networks of caves. They are so extensive (40 km of multi-level passages) that they are still being explored. Besides witnessing the amazing wonder in exploring the Jenolan Caves, you can make a holiday out of it. They have accommodations available, a café, and many different tours and educational opportunities to learn about the geological history of the area, the Aboriginal culture, and see the local birds and animals.
Hartley Historic Village
Hartley Houses Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The towns of Hartley, Little Hartley, and Hartley Village have melded together to form a perfectly preserved township call Hartley Historic Village. Take a step back in time to colonial Australia when you visit this village that looks like it was frozen in time back in the mid-19th century.
Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens
Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens specialise in plants that can grow in colder temperatures. It covers 28 hectares with 128 additional hectares reserved for conservation and entry is free. It is the highest botanical garden in Australia. In addition to beautiful blooms, visitors are treated to some amazing views of the Blue Mountains.