I’ve wanted to go on a Blue Mountains day trip since I was a young lad. And, it’s hardly a secret that I enjoy a guided tour now and then. Something is relieving about having someone else plan out your day so you can relax and enjoy it all.
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 Blue Mountains day trip, given that I’d missed my opportunity to visit last time I was in Sydney.
So on our final day in the city, we set off on our Blue Mountains day trip. We intended to head back to the airport at the end of a long day out. It worked a treat!
An early morning start
There’s a good chance you’re going to have your pick up scheduled at some point before 8 am. The idea is that the tour provider will send a coach to fetch your fellow travellers from across Sydney. Then, 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 bit longer to wait until you finally set off. With any luck you’ll get a nice comfy seat to chill in.
You should consider a few things when you’re looking who to book your Blue Mountains day trip with. Some operators will embellish the trip a little more than necessary – crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when you’re on a coach. In an ideal world you’d be able to do the bridge climb, but failing that you’d still be better going for a long walk.
A quick stop off in Leura
Halfway through your journey into the Blue Mountains (it feels about halfway anyway), you’ll reach the small township of Leura. It’s a quaint little place with a lot of 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 plenty to do in and around Leura, you’ll be a bit strapped for time on a day trip and will need to pick and choose your activities carefully.
I loved this place, and ultimately this is your end goal for your Blue Mountains day trip.
Scenic World has a few attractions, including the world’s steepest funicular 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. 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 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 for you.
If you’ve not been to Taronga Zoo, you’ll get a chance to get close to a few koalas at Featherdale. 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. Seating was at a premium, so don’t mooch around if you want to sit down for the journey.
The boat does come out into the bay, so keep that in mind if you get seasick. It isn’t a smooth and slow river cruise like up in the Northern Territory.
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. The driver has to follow a route to pick up all 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 some 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. The Fog did eventually 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 extra 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’ve been warned.
Go out there and enjoy yourself!