It’s no secret that I enjoy a guided tour as much as the next guy – having someone else plan out your day so you can just relax and take things in, what’s not to like?
On a recent trip to Sydney, I decided to help Nic out of her comfort zone and take her on her very first tour. We kept it to a simple one-day tour to the Blue Mountains, given that I’d missed my opportunity last time.
So on our finaly day in Sydney, we set off on our tour to the Blue Mountains, with the intention of heading back to the airport at the end of a long day out. It worked a treat!
Now, I’ll go into the day in more detail in a few different posts, because there’s quite a lot I want to cover here. Instead, I’ll give you a brief overview of what a trip to the Blue Mountains includes, and what you can expect.
An early morning start
There’s a good chance you’re going to have your pick up at some point scheduled before 8am. The idea is that the tour provider will send a coach to fetch your fellow travellers from across Sydney, before you all converge, hop onto your respective coaches and head out for the day.
Your actual pick up time will depend on your pick up location. If you’re first on, you’ll have a fair bit longer to wait until you finally set up. Hopefully you get a nice comfy seat to chill in.
Now, some places will embellish the trip a little more than necessary – spanning the Sydney Harbour Bridge isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in a coach. Ideally, you’ll do the bridge climb, but failing that you’d still be better going for a long walk.
A quick stop off in Leura
Probably half way through your journey into the Blue Mountains (it feels about half way anyway) you’ll reach the small township of Leura. It’s a quaint little place with some charm, and it’s peaceful.
There are a couple of cafes to stop by and grab a coffee, stretch your legs and have a bit of a wander around. Though there’s not really a whole lot in Leura, so you’ll quickly find yourself ready to move on, unless you decide to check out everything this place has to offer.
I actually loved this place, and ultimately this is your end goal for the trip into the Blue Mountains.
Scenic World has a few attractions, including the world’s steepest furnicular railway. There’s also the skyway, the cable car and the forest walk with the dinosaur hunt. It’s great!
Again, it might incur extra costs to do everything, but you can still enjoy the site without shelling out. The Three Sisters in particular doesn’t require you to spend extra, and again there’s a souvenir shop and cafe where you can grab lunch and drinks, then sit outside and admire the views.
Featherdale Wildlife Park
After leaving Scenic World you have quite a long drive to Featherdale Wildlife Park, we spent most of the drive watching a rather enjoyable and informative documentary about kangaroos.
The wildlife park again, is excellent. You can get up close and personal with some of the cutest animals in Australia, even hand-feeding some of them. Plus it has my favourite bird. There’s not much more to add without ruining it at a later date.
If you’ve not been to Targona Zoo, you’ll get a chance to get close to a few koala at Featherdale. In fact, they’re unusually friendly and uncharacteristically awake. Well, they were when I arrived in the late afternoon.
Only one downside here; I couldn’t find all the stamps I needed. I’m confident they were missing, and I managed to finish it at the end, but that isn’t the point, I had to cheat.
Parramatta River Cruise
After a long day out you get to round it off with a river cruise back into Sydney. At least for me, seating was at a premium, so don’t much around if you want to sit down for the journey.
The boat does come out into the bay, so just keep that in mind if you get sea sick – it isn’t a perfectly smooth and slow river cruise like you get up in the Northern Territories.
Once you get to Sydney, hop off the boat and enjoy the rest of your evening!
- Make sure you get to the pick-up point early, but don’t worry too much if the coach isn’t there dead on time. It can be easy to worry too much if you get there and find no coach, but the driver has to follow a route to pick up all of the people that will be joining you on the tour.
- For this tour in particular, you might find it less anxiety-inducing if you book it in before your last day. The reason being that a number of tour operators will let you go again if you reach the Three Sisters and find that you can’t see anything but fog. This was the case for us on most of the journey into the mountains, but eventually the fog did lift enough for us to enjoy a bit of sun. And then we got caught in a storm.
- Some of the extras can incur an additional cost, depending on the tour provider. This could be entry and access to attractions at Scenic World, Featherdale Wildlife Park, or the scenic river cruise back down the Parramatta River into Sydney. In my opinion they’re worth the extra, but you shouldn’t worry about missing out if that prices you out.
- Finally, depending on the boat you’re on for the river cruise, you should be super careful of standing out the front. If you’re wearing a short dress/skirt and standing outside, a combination of the lower seats inside and the wind will likely give everyone in the boat a good view of your rear end. You have been warned.
Ultimately, go out there and enjoy yourself!