Just a couple of hours out of Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a world away from the city. If you’re planning an action-packed getaway, it’s the perfect destination. With the bush as a backdrop, the misty mountains have plenty to offer, from canyoning and hiking, to picnics and waterfall chasing.
Our advice? Take a cheeky long weekend, so you and your friends can tick off as many outdoor and adventure activities in the Blue Mountains as you can.
The Mountains are a treasure trove of activities. Start with Scenic World, and choose your own adventure. There’s the Scenic Skyway for a bird’s eye view of the lush rainforest, or the Scenic Railway, a steep ride down to the valley floor. Once you’re there, you can stroll the Scenic Walkway before catching a cable car back up to ground level.
On Your Horse
If you’d prefer to be on horseback, you’re in luck – it's one of the best ways to explore the area. Go to the Megalong Australian Heritage Centre, and they’ll saddle you up for a wilderness ride around the 2000-acre farm. It’s suitable for all skill types and children, too. To get out and about and explore the valley, Centennial Glen Stables have a Sunset Trail Ride where you get to experience the beautiful changing colours of the Blue Mountains escarpment as the sun sets.
The Blue Mountains is also home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country, so be sure to put some time aside to check them out. Wentworth Falls is the most dramatic, and boasts a picnic area as well as a few hiking trails. Leura Cascades is a picture-perfect, family-friendly picnic spot that is great for long lunches, waterfall chasing and wildlife watching, while Minnehaha Falls can only be accessed via a 1km path – but the stunning falls (and swim) at the end is worth it. The South Lawson Waterfall Circuit is the best option for adventure-seekers, with over four waterfalls to discover over a three-kilometre trail traversing South Lawson Park.
Whether it’s your first visit or fifth, no trip to the Blue Mountains is complete without a scenic stop at Echo Point to see The Three Sisters and Katoomba Falls. The panoramic views are beautiful any time of day, but sunset is pretty special. If you’re feeling energetic, trot down The Giant Stairway – which, with 800 steps, is aptly named – down to the bottom of the valley and back up again. The Sublime Point Lookout (Leura) and Govetts Leap (Blackheath) are nearby spots that also offer great views.
The Katoomba Falls Reserve Night-lit Walk is the newest experience to open to the public at Echo Point. The 1.3km walk gives visitors access to a unique, night-time viewing experience of the Blue Mountains' most noteworthy natural wonders such as Orphan Rock, Witches Leap, Katoomba Falls and Katoomba Cascades. Connecting to other previously lit areas, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you need to book in for yourself.
Strap on your hiking boots because the Blue Mountains has walking trails in abundance. Hiking is one of the top things to do in the Blue Mountains, be it a short stroll that meanders to stunning lookouts or heart-thumping overnight hikes. Hikers are drawn to the many tracks of the Blue Mountains, which vary in difficulty. If you’re keen for a bushwalk, set aside a few hours and get ready for some serious scenery. The Grand Canyon track (6km) and Mount Banks Trail (15km) are among the most challenging, but reward hikers with waterfalls, creeks, and native wildlife, such as wombats. In Blackheath, Grose Valley has a number of trails to choose from.
Abseiling & Rock Climbing
For the adventurous, see the sights from a whole different view. With a range of different packages on offer, the Blue Mountains Adventure Company provides abseiling and rock climbing experiences to suit your level and desired sightseeing opportunity; from Malaita Wall and the Grand Canyon, to Empress Falls and Boars Head. If you're a beginner, the Abseiling and Rock Climbing Combo will help ease you into the adventure spot.
Along with a plethora of walking trails, the Blue Mountains has cycling tracks for days. Whether you want on-road or off-road, flat or on an incline, there is a cycling track for you to test your fitness and explore one of the most beautiful regions in Australia, all at the same time. For the best trails and to ensure you don't go off track, check out this comprehensive map of the Blue Mountains cycling tracks. Needing a bit of guidance? Blue Mountains Biking Adventures has a host of tours and experiences to get you out and about on the bike.
Not for the faint of heart, Canyoning involves lots of different skills; from swimming, wading, and jumping, to abseiling through waterfalls, bushwalking and scrambling over rocks and boulders. With a plethora of canyons in the Blue Mountains, you'll be able to see a whole new side to the rugged landscape. Blue Mountains Adventure Company offers a range of canyoning experiences, from nine-hour introductory explorations of Twister and Rocky Creek Canyon, to ten-hour advanced and adrenalin pumping tours of Butterbox Canyon.
Pack a Picnic
For foodies that are looking for something outdoorsy that's more their pace, may we suggest a picnic? Head to the farmer's markets and stock up on fresh produce, and set up camp for the afternoon at one of the Blue Mountains most beautiful vantage points. Our favourite is the Wentworth Falls picnic area for its breathtaking views and proximity to the best lookouts and trails in the Blue Mountains National Park.
If you aren't so big on preparing the picnic yourself, there are a handful of businesses that can take care of it for you. At Sorensen's Glasshouse, you can pre-order grazing packs with sumptuous delicacies to cater to your picnic, or pop into Con's Continental Deli in Glenbrook for their signature selection of deli meats, cheeses and olives. For something a bit fancier, Blue Mountains Picnics can find a secret picnic spot, set up the furniture and organise a beautiful meal so all you have to worry about is turning up!
Loved our edit of the best outdoor and adventure experiences in the Blue Mountains? For more Blue Mountains travel inspo, be sure to check out visitnsw.com.