This small group Blue Mountains tour from Sydney will show you many of the region’s highlights in one comprehensive day. Visit Echo Point, the Three Sisters and fabulous Scenic World — where you’ll ride the Scenic Railway, Skyway and Cableway (your tickets are included in the cost of the tour). You’ll return to Sydney on a cruise along the lovely Parramatta River. Duration: 10 hours (approx.)
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A three-day stay in Sydney is the average for most visitors, and it’s just enough time to see the main city sights, visit a beach or two, and do a day tour to the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains.
Any day trip to the 11,000 square kilometre Blue Mountains National Park can only provide a taste of what’s on offer, but the small group Blue Mountains tour from Sydney with FJ Tours covers all the key sights.
On a crisp June morning I set off with FJ Tours for a day of discovery in the mountains. Our amiable driver Jason (a mechanic turned tour guide) chats away en route, providing nuggets of interesting information about each of the areas we pass through.
The first stop on this small group Blue Mountains tour from Sydney is Featherdale Wildlife Park at Doonside. The park has been completely modernised since I last visited. Visitors can get up close to a comprehensive range of iconic Australian animals. There are wallabies and kangaroos to hand-feed, and beautiful birds to admire. It’s also a chance for visitors to learn about Australia’s endangered species.
We continue on through the outer suburbs of western Sydney and across the Nepean River, which forms a natural divide between Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Our first stop in the mountains is the pretty township of Leura, which is dotted with quaint cafes and gift shops. There’s plenty of time for a sunny stroll.
The next stop on our itinerary is Echo Point in Katoomba for the fabulous view of the Three Sisters rock formation. From there, we make our way around the cliff top to Scenic World — home to the world-famous Scenic Railway, Skyway and Cableway. A ride on each of the three attractions is included in the cost of our tour. With two hours to explore, I opt to take the Scenic Cableway down into the Jamison Valley, walk through the rainforest, and return on the Scenic Railway.
The Cableway descends 545 metres past impressive sandstone cliffs into temperate rainforest. At the bottom it’s wonderfully peaceful. The only sounds are bird calls and drops of water falling softly from the forest canopy onto the understorey of tree ferns. Artefacts from the long-abandoned valley coal mines remind me that the Scenic Railway was originally built to haul coal out of the valley. My return journey on the steepest passenger train in the world is, as always, a big thrill.
With everyone back on the bus, we head down the mountains towards Olympic Park (the site of the 2000 Sydney Olympics) to board a river cruise back to the city. The sun has already set as our boat makes its way along the Parramatta River, and we get a wonderful view of the city lights. It’s a great way to end this very enjoyable small group Blue Mountains tour from Sydney.
Joanne travelled as a guest of FJ Tours.
Additional images: Bigstock
Joanne Karcz is a Sydney-based writer and blogger. She published a blog when she walked the Camino de Santiago some years ago and has been writing about her travels ever since. She is also an aspiring travel photographer and takes her camera wherever she goes. Joanne has travelled through Europe, South America and Southern Africa. She loves discovering new things to see and do in her own Sydney backyard, and blogs regularly about the city’s suburbs.