Last updated: November 15, 2023
Reviews of seven of the best Blue Mountains day tours, based on value for money, transport, duration, highlights, and tour operator.
The Blue Mountains region is the most popular tourist and weekend getaway destination in Sydney and New South Wales. And one of the most convenient and comfortable ways to enjoy the beauty of this beautiful national park is by joining a professional Blue Mountains tour.
A day tour to the Blue Mountains is a great way to see all the highlights in comfort and style, especially if you’ve never been there before and don’t have your own transport.
In this article, we will reveal the seven best Blue Mountains tours departing from Sydney, catering to different budgets, all tried and tested by us.
- Best value-for-money Blue Mountains tour:
- Best private Blue Mountains tour:
Sydney Private Day Tours
- Best alternative:
Blue Mountains Explorer Bus
Top 7 Blue Mountains Tours:
Top 7 Blue Mountains Tours
The following day tours have been selected based on value for money, destinations along the way, duration, transport, customer reviews, inclusions, and general quality and reputation of the tour operator.
1. Blue Mountains Small-Group Tour
Offered by Diamond Tours, this popular Blue Mountains day tour includes a visit to Sydney Zoo, all rides at Scenic World, a visit to Echo Point and the Three Sisters, the Cahill’s Lookout, and a visit to Leura for lunch (at own expense).
What’s great about this particular tour is that you’ll be transported in a luxury minivan with a maximum of 21 people, which makes the whole experience all the more comfortable and a bit more intimate.
You will be picked up in the morning from one of three available and easily accessible pick-up locations in the Sydney CBD.
After visiting the Blue Mountains, the day continues with a stop at the popular Sydney Zoo (with feeding sessions), before a pleasant ferry trip from Sydney Olympic Park brings you back to the city via Circular Quay.
|Blue Mountains Small-Group Tour
|Air-conditioned minivan (max 21 people)
|Scenic World rides, entry to Sydney Zoo, ferry to Circular Quay
2. All-Inclusive Blue Mountains Day Trip
This well-organised and comfortable all-inclusive tour brings you to Featherdale Wildlife Park, Scenic World, Echo Point, and the Three Sisters.
It also includes visits to beautiful lookout points overlooking the Jamison Valley and a guided boardwalk through the rainforest.
A comfortable air-conditioned minibus and a knowledgeable tour guide make for a personalised experience, with a freshly prepared lunch (included in the price) to add to the experience.
To finish the day, a relaxing Harbour cruise along the Parramatta River brings you back to Sydney Harbour with Barangaroo as the final destination.
|All-Inclusive Blue Mountains Day Trip
|Air-conditioned minibus (max 20 people)
|Scenic World rides, entry to wildlife park, lunch (with diet options), ferry to Barangaroo
3. Blue Mountains Full-Day Trip
This full-day (10 hours) Blue Mountains day tour includes the Katoomba highlights, such as the Three Sisters, Echo Point, and the Jamison Valley.
Like many others, this tour includes the three Scenic World rides (Cableway, Skyway, and Railway). When it comes to lunch, you can bring your own food or buy lunch at one of the various cafes in Leura.
The first stop of this tour is at the Featherdale Wildlife Park, where you can get up close and personal with kangaroos, wombats, and crocodiles.
On your return trip, you get to enjoy the serenity of a 1-hour ferry cruise on the Parramatta River, bringing you back to Circular Quay to conclude the day tour.
|Blue Mountains Full-Day Trip
|Scenic World rides, entry to wildlife park, lunch (with diet options), ferry to Circular Quay
4. Small-Group Blue Mountains Day Tour
This small-group Blue Mountains tour includes a visit to Featherdale Wildlife Park, in addition to a stop at Echo Point and the Three Sisters.
This tour stands out in that it offers tailored guided bushwalks, where you’ll be enjoying panoramic lookout points and beautiful scenery in the Wentworth Falls area that many other tourists miss out on.
You will also be visiting Katoomba, where you can enjoy lunch at one of the many cafes (not included) or bring your own food to eat outdoors.
Note that this tour does not include the Scenic World rides nor a ferry trip back to the city. Instead, this tour focuses more on showcasing various lookouts and walking trails to get the best out of the Blue Mountains.
|Small-Group Blue Mountains Day Tour
|Air-conditioned minibus (max 20 people)
|Entry to wildlife park, guided bushwalks
5. Blue Mountains Day Adventure with Picnic
This fun Blue Mountains day tour from Sydney stands out because it’s a highly informal tour suitable for single or couple travellers (no young families) with some degree of fitness.
It’s an affordable tour without the fancy bells and whistles (i.e. wildlife park and Scenic World), but with exposure to beautiful lookouts and Blue Mountains scenery in a friendly atmosphere. Also included is a freshly cafe-prepared picnic lunch.
The tour includes a visit to Wentworth Falls, Three Sisters, Echo Point, and even a visit to a local swimming spot during the warmer summer months.
There is a limit of 20 people on this tour, and with knowledgeable and local guides, you are guaranteed to have a personalised experience. Do this tour if you want to spend a fun and exciting day out in the Blue Mountains with like-minded people.
|Blue Mountains Day Adventure with Picnic
|Air-conditioned minibus (max 20 people)
|Professional guide, freshly made picnic lunch (with diet options)
6. Fully Inclusive Blue Mountains Private Tour
If you prefer a well-organised and comprehensive private tour for just you and your group, this fully inclusive Blue Mountains tour may be the perfect option.
Operated by Sydney Private Day Tours, you will be transported to the Blue Mountains in a luxury minivan or SUV, driven by a professional driver and guide.
You will be picked up from your hotel (or any requested location) and taken to the major highlights in the Blue Mountains, including Scenic World, Echo Point, the Three Sisters, and Leura, plus a trip to Featherdale Wildlife Park.
This private tour is well-priced, includes visits to all the major highlights, and will make you feel relaxed and comfortable throughout the entire day.
|Fully Inclusive Blue Mountains Private Tour
|Sydney Private Day Tours
|Air-conditioned minivan or SUV
|Scenic World rides, entry to wildlife park, morning tea and bottled water
7. Blue Mountains Afternoon and Sunset Tour
This Blue Mountains tour is a bit different from the rest on this list because it is an afternoon tour, avoiding an early morning rush hour start.
This tour strongly focuses on the native flora and fauna and the local Aboriginal history and culture. The day starts with an easy bushwalk in the Wentworth Falls area, including a spectacular lookout.
The day continues in the Katoomba area with a visit to Echo Point and the Three Sisters, before settling in for a beautiful sunset.
Transport is with an air-conditioned mini-coach, with a pick-up location next to Central Station. Book this tour if you’re looking for a casual Blue Mountains outing focused on natural attractions.
|Blue Mountains Afternoon and Sunset Tour
|Wildlife Tours Australia
|Experienced driver and guide, guided bushwalk
Alternative: Blue Mountains Explorer Bus
If you want to go a little more DIY and make your own itinerary, the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus is the perfect solution. This classic Hop-On-Hop-Off bus allows you to spend as much time as you like at the most popular spots.
Travelling to the Blue Mountains by train is quite easy and comfortable, and once you arrive at Katoomba train station, you can jump straight on the Explorer Bus to get to all the highlights.
When you’re ready to go to the next highlight, simply wait for the bus to arrive and hop on. The bus drivers are super friendly and provide excellent and valuable background information about the different highlights.
You can purchase two types of tickets:
- Bus ticket:
This ticket is for the bus only. If you’re not planning to go to Scenic World, this is the best ticket to purchase.
- Bus ticket + full-day Scenic World pass:
This ticket includes the bus and full access to all rides at Scenic World at a discounted price.
Things to Consider Before Booking a Tour
Most Sydney-siders know their city well and will likely have visited the Blue Mountains several times.
But if you’re a tourist from overseas or interstate visiting Sydney for a week or a few days, you may not know how to get around and which highlights to see. In that case, a day tour of the Blue Mountains is highly recommended.
If you’re interested in booking a Blue Mountains tour, please keep the following considerations in mind for guidance.
1. Price and Inclusions
Prices can vary between tours. Ensure you check the inclusions, as sometimes an expensive lunch is included, which can inflate the price.
Also, check whether any entry tickets to Scenic World and zoos are included or if you need to purchase these yourself.
Most tours do include a visit to Scenic World, and as much as we love Scenic World, not everyone feels the need to go there. You can have a fantastic time in the Blue Mountains without doing the rides at Scenic World.
2. Customer Reviews
The best way to determine whether a specific tour suits you is by reading the reviews from customers who have joined those tours.
3. Transport and Duration
While most day tours take around 8-12 hours, make sure that you’re happy with the advertised duration.
Also check what type of vehicle is used to get you to the Blue Mountains. A big coach typically means that the hotel pick-up process in the morning can take some time, whereas a small van is much quicker.
Also note that some Blue Mountains tours use a ferry to bring you back to the city, which is an excellent way to see more parts of Sydney that you would otherwise not see.
4. Additional Zoo Visit
Some tours include entrance to Featherdale Wildlife Park in Doonside, east of the Blue Mountains.
This is a great little park, but if you’ve already seen Australian wildlife from close by or are simply not interested, find a tour that doesn’t include this destination.
Other tours include a visit to Sydney Zoo, which is a bigger wildlife park than Featherdale. Sydney Zoo is one of Sydney’s best zoos and wildlife parks with many animals to see and meet.
When booking your Blue Mountains tour, it’s worth checking these two wildlife parks and deciding which one (if any) you would prefer to visit. We don’t have a preference, as both wildlife parks offer unique experiences and add value as an addition to a day trip to the Blue Mountains.
5. More Tips
Here are some more tips to consider before booking a Blue Mountains tour:
Book in Advance
Be mindful that booking your Blue Mountains tour well in advance is essential if you are visiting Sydney in the October to March spring and summer season.
The spring and summer season is usually very busy, and to make sure you’re not going to miss out, it’s always recommended to lock in your favourite tour bookings.
Focus on Highlights
One could spend a whole week in the Blue Mountains and still not see all the highlights. The Blue Mountains region is huge, with just so much to see and do.
If a visit to the Blue Mountain will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, make sure to choose a tour that includes the best highlights.
These must-see highlights include Echo Point, the Three Sisters, and a visit to Katoomba and Leura. We also love Wentworth Falls, so bonus points if a tour includes visiting this amazing waterfall.
Do It Yourself
As mentioned above, it’s perfectly fine to catch a train or rent a car to explore the Blue Mountains by yourself. As long as you do your research and know where to go, this can be an excellent idea.
The benefit of doing it this way is that you’re in complete control and can decide for yourself where and where not to go. The drawback is that it may be a bit more time-consuming, especially when using public transport.
If you do go with the public transport option, we strongly recommend a train from Central to Katoomba, and then use the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus to see the major highlights.