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

Last updated: August 19, 2020

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 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.

1. 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. 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, you can also jump on 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, with Katoomba an extra 40 km further away via the Great Western Highway.

The most popular destinations in the Blue Mountains are, from east to west:

  1. Lawson
  2. Wentworth Falls
  3. Leura
  4. Katoomba
  5. Blackheath
  6. Mount Victoria
Map of Blue Mountains with main destinations
Main destinations in the Blue Mountains

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 all within a 10 km radius.

The Three Sisters as seen from Echo Point lookout
The Three Sisters as seen from Echo Point lookout

While most visitors skip Lawson, it is in fact the first main stop in the Blue Mountains, home to a number of exciting walking tracks, such as the South Lawson circuit walk. However, if you’re visiting the Blue Mountains just for one day, it’s probably best to focus on the major highlights further west.

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, in addition to some of the best lookouts you can find in the Blue Mountains.

Grand Canyon Walk near Blackheath
Grand Canyon Walk near Blackheath

The Grand Canyon Walk near Blackheath is an absolute must if you’re keen to do an exciting bushwalk. The walk starts and ends at Evans Lookout, which offers panoramic views of the Grose Valley.

The Jenolan Caves area is a lot further away, and is a day trip destination in itself, roughly another 75 km away from Mount Victoria. To get there, continue on the Great Western Highway, and turn into Jenolan Caves Road past Mount Victoria.

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

2. 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.

All main destinations, from Lawson to Mount Victoria, 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! 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.

Second tip! 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 very affordable bus, with highly knowledgeable driver, will go past all the major attractions in the area.

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

3. 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 the perfect solution to experience the highlights of the Blue Mountains in comfort. Most organized day tours include a visit to Featherdale Wildlife Park, and a cruise over the Parramatta River returning back to Sydney.

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.

 

Getting to the Blue Mountains

 
 
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