Last updated: October 12, 2022
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, 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 2 hours from Sydney Central to Katoomba train station.
Let’s go through the various transport options in more detail, so you can work out how best to get to the Blue Mountains.
Book a Blue Mountains tour:
Before you travel to the Blue Mountains, it’s important to check for the latest updates on closed areas on the National Parks website.
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 get around in the Blue Mountains is by car, and there are two ways to drive into the Blue Mountains:
- Great Western Highway:
This highway passes through the southern section of the Blue Mountains, past popular townships such as Wentworth Falls, Katoomba and Blackheath.
- 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 want 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. At Strathfield, go on the M4 Motorway that continues to the Blue Mountains.
To save more time and traffic lights on Parramatta Road, you can go onto the M4 Western Motorway at Ashfield, for which you will 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 of 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.
The most popular destinations in the Blue Mountains are, in a clockwise direction:
- Wentworth Falls
- Mount Victoria
- Bells Line of Road
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.
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 is often considered the first main stop in the Blue Mountains and is home to several 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 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.
Bells Line of Road:
The Bells Line of Road passes through the northern section of the Blue Mountains. The area 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 Bells Line of Road area for a complete list of the highlights.
|Distance by car from Sydney (approx.)|
|Wentworth Falls:||95 km|
|Mount Victoria:||120 km|
|Jenolan Caves:||195 km|
Travel to the Blue Mountains by Train
While getting around in the Blue Mountains is easiest by car, travelling to the Blue Mountains by train is surprisingly efficient and very relaxing.
That, combined with an efficient local bus network, makes public transport a 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.
Trains on the Blue Mountains line typically depart every hour and stop in Strathfield, Parramatta, Blacktown and Penrith before heading into the Blue Mountains region.
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.
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.)|
|Wentworth Falls||110 min|
|Mount Victoria||140 min|
Best places to stay in the Blue Mountains.
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 organised day tours also include a visit to Featherdale Wildlife Park and a cruise over the Parramatta River returning 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 minivan), duration, reviews, and the actual tour operator. Most tour operators will pick people up from their hotels in Sydney in the morning.
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 of 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 and train. If you plan to visit various places in the Blue Mountains, the car is the best option. The train is suitable if you plan to focus on just one area.
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?
By train, it takes about 115 minutes to get to Katoomba from Sydney Central Station.
When is the best time of year to travel to the Blue Mountains?
The Blue Mountains can be visited year-round. Spring and autumn are the best for hiking, as summer may be a bit too warm. Spring, summer and autumn are the best months to visit for sightseeing.