How to Get to the Blue Mountains (Car, Train and Bus)

Last updated: July 20, 2021

Getting to the Blue Mountains from Sydney is much easier than you may think. Sydney’s most popular national park, located around 60 km west of the city, is easily accessible by car, by train, as well as by bus or coach.

By car, it takes about 90 minutes to get to Katoomba from Sydney, and by train it takes less than two hours from Sydney Central to Katoomba train station.

Let’s go through the various transport options in a bit more detail, so you can work out how best to get to the Blue Mountains.

Travel to the Blue Mountains by Car

The Blue Mountains is one of Sydney’s most popular day trip destinations, not only because this national park has so much to offer, but also because it’s so easily accessible from Sydney.

The easiest way to get to, and to get around in, the Blue Mountains is by car, and there are two ways to drive into the Blue Mountains:

  1. Great Western Highway:
    This highway passes through the southern section of the Blue Mountains, past popular townships such as Wentworth Falls, Katoomba and Blackheath.
  2. Bells Line of Road:
    This highway passes through the northern section of the Blue Mountains, often referred to as the Mount Wilson region.

Both highways meet each other in the Lithgow area.

Which highway you choose to drive into the Blue Mountains will depend on which tourist attractions you wish to visit or which walking tracks you wish to undertake (more on that further below).

1. Great Western Highway

To get to the Great Western Highway in the Blue Mountains from Sydney, follow directions to Parramatta via Parramatta Road, and at Strathfield go on the M4 Motorway that continues all the way to the Blue Mountains.

To save more time and traffic lights on Parramatta Road, you can choose to go onto the M4 Western Motorway at Ashfield, for which you would need to pay extra toll fees.

The Nepean River forms the eastern boundary of the Blue Mountains region which is located only 60 km west from the Sydney CBD (see map location), with Katoomba an extra 40 km further away via the Great Western Highway.

2. Bells Line of Road

To get to the Bells Line of Road in the Blue Mountains from Sydney, follow directions to Windsor and Richmond, and follow Hawkesbury Valley Way, Kurrajong Road, and Bells Line of Road into the Blue Mountains national park.

The Bells Line of Road, or otherwise the Mount Wilson region, is typically much quieter than the Great Western Highway, which passes the most popular tourist attractions and walking tracks.

Destinations

The most popular destinations in the Blue Mountains are, in a clockwise direction:

  1. Glenbrook
  2. Lawson
  3. Wentworth Falls
  4. Leura
  5. Katoomba
  6. Blackheath
  7. Mount Victoria
  8. Lithgow
  9. Mount Wilson Region

The below map shows where these areas are located, with the Great Western Highway in the south, and the Bells Line of Road in the north.

Highway past Blue Mountains destinations

Glenbrook:
Glenbrook is the first town in the Lower Blue Mountains, and is home to a couple of nice walking tracks, such as the Lapstone Zig Zag walk, and the walking track to Jellybean Pool.

Lawson:
Lawson is often considered the first main stop in the Blue Mountains, and is home to a number of exciting walking tracks, such as the South Lawson circuit walk and the nearby Horseshoe Falls walking track.

Wentworth Falls, Leura and Katoomba:
The major tourist highlights, such as Wentworth Falls (waterfall), the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, Scenic World and Leura Cascades, are all located in and around the townships of Wentworth Falls, Leura and Katoomba. These townships are within a 10 km radius.

Blackheath and Mount Victoria:
The townships of Blackheath and Mount Victoria are an extra 15 km away from Katoomba, and are very much worth a visit. The towns themselves are lovely, but there are also various great walking tracks in the area, such as the Grand Canyon Walk, in addition to some of the best lookouts in the Blue Mountains.

Lithgow:
Lithgow is the next town, and is the perfect base to visit some of the lesser known sights and walking tracks, such as the Glow Worm Tunnel and the Blackfellow Hands Cave.

Read our guide with things to do in and around Lithgow for a complete list of the highlights.

Mount Wilson Region:
The Bells Line of Road, passing through the Mount Wilson region of the Blue Mountains, also has lots to offer, such as the Mount Banks walking track, the township of Bilpin, the Walls Lookout, and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden.

Read our guide with things to do in the Mount Wilson area for a complete list of the highlights.

The Three Sisters
The Three Sisters
Distance by car from Sydney (approx.)
Glenbrook60 km
Lawson87 km
Wentworth Falls95 km
Leura100 km
Katoomba102 km
Blackheath115 km
Mount Victoria120 km
Lithgow140 km
Jenolan Caves195 km

Travel to the Blue Mountains by Train

Whilst getting around in the Blue Mountains is easiest by car, travelling to the Blue Mountains by train is surprisingly efficient, and also very relaxing.

That, combined with an efficient local bus network, makes public transport a very viable option for getting to the Blue Mountains.

Blue Mountains Line (BMT)

All main destinations, from Glenbrook to Lithgow, have train stations, and are serviced by the Blue Mountains train line, also known as the BMT line.

Use this super handy trip planner provided by Transport NSW to work out which train to catch from which platform at Sydney Central station to any of the stations in the Blue Mountains.

Wentworth Falls is accessible by train
Wentworth Falls is accessible by train

Trains on the Blue Mountains line typically depart every hour, and also stop in Strathfield, Parramatta, Blacktown and Penrith, before heading into the Blue Mountains region.

Tip 1!
If you want to visit the waterfall in Wentworth Falls, catch the train to Wentworth Falls train station, and follow the easy Charles Darwin walking track from the station to the waterfall.

Tip 2!
If you’re travelling to Katoomba by train, it’s highly recommended to purchase a ticket for the hop on hop off Blue Mountains Explorer Bus. This bus, with highly knowledgeable drivers, will go past all the major attractions in the area.

Travel time by train from Sydney (approx.)
Glenbrook65 min
Lawson100 min
Wentworth Falls110 min
Leura115 min
Katoomba115 min
Blackheath130 min
Mount Victoria140 min
Lithgow170 min

Travel to the Blue Mountains by Bus

The third option to get to the Blue Mountains is by bus. Or rather, by coach, as an organised day tour from Sydney.

An organised day tour is a great option to experience the highlights of the Blue Mountains in comfort and style, without having to worry about your own transport or trains.

Most organized day tours also include a visit to Featherdale Wildlife Park, and a cruise over the Parramatta River returning back to Sydney, which is ideal for tourists visiting the Blue Mountains.

When looking for a suitable tour, it’s important to look at all inclusions and exclusions, vehicle type (coach or mini van), duration, reviews, and of course the actual tour operator. Most tour operators will pick people up in the morning from their hotels in Sydney.

FAQs About Getting to the Blue Mountains

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about travelling to the Blue Mountains.

  • How far is the Blue Mountains from Sydney?

    The eastern boundary of the Blue Mountains is located 60 km west from the Sydney CBD, with Katoomba an extra 40 km further away.

  • What is the best way to get to the Blue Mountains?

    Travelling to the Blue Mountains is easy by car as well as by train. If you plan to visit various places in the Blue Mountains, the car is the best option. If you plan to focus on just one area, the train is a suitable option.

  • How long does it take to get to the Blue Mountains by car?

    It takes about 90 minutes to get to Katoomba from Sydney by car when the roads are not busy.

  • How long does it take to get to the Blue Mountains by train?

    It takes about 115 minutes to get to Katoomba from Sydney Central Station by train.

  • When is the best time of year to travel to the Blue Mountains?

    The Blue Mountains can be visited year round. For hiking, spring and autumn are the best months, as summer may be a bit too warm. For sightseeing, spring, summer and autumn are the best months to visit.

 

How to travel to the Blue Mountains

 
 
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