Destination: Blue Mountains

blue mountains

The Blue Mountains is a rite of passage tourist destination for every visitor to Sydney. Less than two hours away by car or train, it’s best to spend a few days there to really experience everything that the Blue Mountains has on offer. If you don’t have a car, no need to worry! Getting the train from Central Station to the Blue Mountains with an Opal card is easy and cheap.

Blue Mountains - Backpackers at Echo Point Three Sisters Lookout, Katoomba

Attractions that must be on the to-do list include a visit to the Three Sisters; one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks and an image synonymous with the Blue Mountains. Make your way to the Echo Point lookout to capture yourself next to the most famous three rock formations in Australia. The Three Sisters are an important part of Aboriginal legend; legend has it that three sisters were turned into stone by their witch doctor father in order to protect them from an evil bunyip. Their father, who turned himself into a lyre bird to also escape the bunyip, lost his magic bone and was not able to find it again, leaving his three daughters standing silently overlooking the valley, hoping that one day their father will find the bone to return them to their former selves.

For an even closer view of the Three Sisters and the surrounding spectacular valley, take a ride on a cable car to properly realise the enormity of the space and the vast bushland. You’ll have a greater appreciation and understanding of the challenges that were faced by the first explorers of the Blue Mountains – imagine carving your way through a never-ending stretch of trees and shrubs!

If you’re after an active adventure, you can’t go past one of the many options for bushwalks in the Blue Mountains. You can find short, easy walks, intermediate paths, or even more challenging hikes that start at daylight and end at dusk. Always best to have accommodation close by so you can rest after! The hikes will surely be rewarding and give you a first-hand experience of the beautiful vegetation, often unique to Australia. The paths are clearly marked so no need to fear getting lost (so long as you stay on the paths!).

Blue Mountains - Abseiling with High and Wild

Even more for the adventure-seekers, abseiling or canyoning (depending on the weather), is an unforgettable adrenaline-pumping experience sure to get the heart racing. Make sure to go with a company like High n’ Wild which has qualified and experienced instructors.

If you’re after a bit of a slower pace, explore the lovely apline Leura Mall; wander in and out of shops selling artisan goods, buy a pair of ugg boots, even have a tea and some scones! (Which are particularly tasty on a cold day). Leura Mall has an old-country village feel, and if you go at the right time of year you can wander the street next to colourful blossoms.

A trip to the Blue Mountains is one you’ll never forget. Get out of the busy city and take some time to explore a greener side of Sydney, one with open space, bushland and aboriginal history. The best way to do this is by spending a whole weekend there – stay at the Blue Mountains Katoomba YHA which is centrally located to the tourist attractions and has staff that can help you find your way to the sites. Plus, you’ll be able to cook your own meals and have the chance to meet new people and make new friends!

YHA is the biggest budget accommodation network in Australia. With more than 70 hostels around the country, there is a YHA ready to welcome you wherever your wanderlust might lead.