Easy Blue Mountains Day Trip By Car [Itinerary]

Trying to decide if you should do your Blue Mountains day trip by car? If you are not sure if a Blue Mountains road trip is for you we have all the information you need to help you decide. We have created an easy to follow Blue Mountains driving itinerary to help you plan the perfect day out. Whether you fancy a bit of hiking or are a keen photographer we have you covered.

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How to plan a Blue Mountains road trip itinerary

Just like our one-day train itineraries, we have created two self-drive itineraries to help you have a perfect day in the Blue Mountains.

  • Itinerary 1 – Hit as many sites as you can in one day (limited walking) and lots of photography
  • Itinerary 2 – Fit in a couple of long bushwalks

Before you skip to your preferred itinerary, let’s cover some of the basics about taking the drive to the mountains.

General advice for driving to the Blue Mountains

Leave Sydney as early as you can and join the motorway towards Penrith. To reach the motorway, follow Parramatta Road to Strathfield and then take the M4, which will eventually join the Great Western Highway at past Penrith.

If you don’t already have a car, we recommend Bayswater rentals in Kings Cross or check the options on Vroom Vroom who generally have good pricing.

Do you have to pay road tolls on your Blue Mountains Drive?

Using a rental car? This itinerary includes tolls, so if you don’t have an e-tag, ask your rental company if they supply them. If not, check out this website and learn how to pay your tolls online as you go.

Be sure to pay your toll within three days because they add charges to your original toll, and it can become costly.

Maps and guides for driving and visiting the mountains

If you don’t have a data plan on your phone, you might like to stop at the visitors’ centre at Glenbrook just as you reach the mountains to pick up some maps and local information.

Itinerary One – Exploring the Blue Mountains with your camera

This itinerary is focused on capturing those classic Blue Mountains photos without too much time spent walking on trails. Of course, ideally, you would spend a weekend in the mountains to allow a Blue Mountains sunrise and sunset, in your shot list but if you are limited to one day let’s make the most of it!

We will cover four of the most popular Blue Mountains towns in this itinerary:

  • Wentworth Falls
  • Leura
  • Katoomba
  • Blackheath

Wentworth Falls

The first stop of the morning is the charming village of Wentworth Falls. Leave the Great Western Highway and turn left onto Falls Road. If you need any refreshments at this stage, there are several cafes by the train station which is on your right as you are heading along the highway before Falls Road.

If you’re someone who loves to shoot flowing water, then you will probably want to spend a couple of hours here. Along with the well known Wentworth Falls themselves, the area also has a few other gems especially the aptly named Valley of the Waters track.

There are two main parking spots in this part of the park,

  • Wentworth Falls Car Park – for viewing Wentworth Falls
  • Conservation Hut Car Park – for seeing the waterfalls along the Valley of the Waters Track and the cafe.
Valley of the Waters Track sign
There is a walk here suitable for most levels of fitness

While you see the top of the falls from Wentworth Falls lookout and the nearby Fletchers Lookout, you need to venture further to see the full beauty of the falls.

The Princes Rock lookout is your best bet for getting a good shot without expending too much energy. It is an easy 1.8 km return walk that offers a full view of the 3-drop, 187m falling into the valley below if you are lucky enough to be visiting after heavy rain, you will hear them well before you see them.

Find more details of the tracks and plan your walk here

Wentworth Falls,
Wentworth Falls

The other special walk here is the Valley of the Waters track which will have you walking into a deep gorge and past two small but striking waterfalls along the way.

The track is only 1.5km long but takes about 1.5 hours to walk. It’s graded as hard, but I think that relates to the number of steps rather than anything else. You should have nothing to worry about if you are reasonably fit. It can be quite wet underfoot along this track so do wear shoes with a decent grip and make sure you keep your camera gear well protected when you are not shooting.


The next village along the highway is the pretty town of Leura; many would say it is the most beautiful in the mountains. Along with a bunch of very impressive lookouts that can be easily reached from the car parks, Leura is home to some fabulous cafes and food stores. Consider stopping here for a spell because face it, you will need to put your camera down at some point to eat and there are good choices here!

Blue Mountains Drive - Leura Main street
Leura in September and October is at its best.

But first, let’s check out the lookouts. The main ones in Leura are:

  • Sublime Point
  • Gordon Falls Lookout
  • Elysian Rock (2 lookouts connected by a bridge)

Next, come the walks, our favourites are:

  • Lyrebird Dell and the Pool of Siloam

If you have spent a lot of time at Wentworth Falls, you might need to pick just a couple. I am partial to Sublime Point Lookout and love the Pool of Siloam walk.

Blue Mountains waterfall Pool of Siloam
Pool of Siloam

Leura Cascades is very popular and a well-shaded spot to practice taking flowing water images; however, parts of the area are still closed due to landslides. Check out this blog post that showcases so many of the pretty waterfalls in Leura.

Tip: If you are here on an overnight visit, then Sublime point is another excellent sunrise lookout. A bonus is that you do not have to hike far in the dark to get to the lookout.


We have finally reached the main town in the mountains and home to the best-known sights in the region, the Three Sisters and Scenic World. Most tours spend the bulk of their time in the mountains in this area, and while it’s a beautiful spot, there are so many other places that are equally as beautiful and attract far few people so we will limit our time here a little to allow us time to explore Blackheath this afternoon.

If you are into street art, make a detour to Beverley Place just behind the main street of Katoomba for a quick look – this laneway full of murals.

Katoomba Street Art Walk girl
Beverley Place Street Art

If hunger strikes look for Hominy Bakery at 185 Katoomba Street. They offer delicious pies and usually have at least two vegetarian options.

Parking can be hard to find here, one hour is $4, so consider parking a little down the way and walking along Katoomba Street to Echo Point to save some stress and money.

Queen Elizabeth Lookout Katoomba
Three Sisters main lookout

There are two lookouts at Echo Point for viewing the Three Sisters. The lower lookout is less crowded, so it’s worth checking out both.

It’s also cool to walk out onto the Sisters via Honeymoon Bridge and shoot the rock formation from some less common angles. If you want to do this, it might be better to pay for metered parking at Echo Point to save time as this is also a 30 min return walk.

Honeymoon Bridge Katoomba
Honeymoon Bridge links the first of the Three Sisters to the mainland.

Once you are done here jump back in the car and make your way past Scenic World to the other side of the Three Sisters. If you need a bathroom stop, there are toilets in the Scenic World car park.

Next stop is the reverse view of the Three Sisters seen from Eagle Hawk Lookout. This spot rarely attracts a crowd.

Back view of the 3 Sisters from Eagle Hawk lookout
View the Three Sisters from the rear without the crowds

We will now begin to head back to the Great Western Highway for the drive to Blackheath

Along the way, you will pass

  • Landslide Lookout
  • Narrowneck Lookout
  • Cahill Lookout

If you have enough time, you might want to stop at one of these. All are visible from the road, and no walking is required.

Related: Here are fifty more things to do in the Blue Mountains


Spend the afternoon in Blackheath and one of my favourite spots, Govetts Leap, which overlooks the Grose Valley.

While I feel this area is best photographed at sunrise, the colours are lovely in the late afternoon too. In the middle of the day, the light is usually too harsh, you can get some good shots but you will need to do a bit of editing.

Govetts Leap Blackheath view point
Grose Valley from Govetts Leap Lookout 

There are more than a few great spots here for photography. Check out these lookouts – none of them requires much walking to reach the vantage points.

  • Evans Lookout
  • Valley View Lookout
  • Govetts Leap (and the waterfall) – best shot as early in the day as possible
  • Pulpit Rock (500m walk) – An almost 360˚ panorama across the dramatic cliff lines to Mount Banks
  • Anvil Rock Lookout – dirt road access but suitable for most cars, usually no one else around

Want to stay a while – Check out this cottage in Blackheath we loved.

Also in Blackheath is the Rhododendron Garden (best in early Spring) and the fabulous Victory Antique Centre.

Blackheath Antique centre
Victory Antique Centre is a fabulous spot to stop for a coffee and a look around.

If you need coffee at this point, I suggest the General Store on the Great Western Highway opposite the train station.

Now head back onto the highway and retrace your steps home. On the way, you could drop into

Lincoln Rock

Charles from Sydney Expert perched on Lincoln Rock
Charles on Lincoln Rock

Also known as Flat Rock, this is a popular sunset spot to stop on your way back down the mountain. Lincoln’s rock looks out over the King’s Tableland and Jamison Valley. Check this Google map for the location. Please be very careful here as the area is not fenced.

Get more Blue Mountains photography ideas here

If like us, you are tempted to stay overnight and catch both the night sky and a Blue Mountains sunrise, then you might like to check out our Blue Mountains accommodation reviews for ideas.

Itinerary Two – Blue Mountains Drive with lots of bushwalking

Two areas that offer fantastic walks but are not well served by public transports are Wentworth Falls and Blackheath. Both of these towns have train stations but reaching the walking tracks adds a few extra km walks, so these are best suited to driving trips.

You can choose between these two towns if you want to do a long walk or do two half-day walks, one in each place.

Wentworth Falls for bushwalkers

Valley of the Waters Track sign
At the very least do the Fletchers Lookout walk.

The first stop on the way up the highway, Wentworth Falls is a 3 level waterfall dropping 187 metres into the stunning Jamison Valley. To view the top of the falls, take the short walk to Princes Lookout.

Several tracks in this area are closed indefinitely after a series rock slide that resulted in a fatality of a worker who was checking track safety. The tracks need significant upgrading before they can reopen. Take a look at the National Parks page for Wentworth Falls area for the latest advice.

Option 1. Valley of the Waters

This relatively short track is not an easy one (Grade 4), but it features two beautiful waterfalls that make it worth the effort. It covers 1.5km return, and the suggested time to complete is 1.5 hours, but if you are anything like us wanted to stop and take photos or enjoy the views it can easily take 2 hours.


  • Syliva Falls
  • Empress Falls

You can extend this walk to another waterfall, Vera Falls; doing this will add 2.5km to the walk and another couple of hours. The additional section is a Grade 5 walk. I would only recommend doing this if you are well prepared and have good hiking shoes and are used to being in the bush.

It is a good idea to lodge an intention form at the office before you begin so you can be found in case of any mishaps. Have I put you off yet? If you are not experienced that is my intention 😉

Option 2 – Walk to the Base of Wentworth Falls

The most popular walk at Wentworth Falls is to take the track to see the full view of the falls or even head to the base of the falls. Instructions online vary about the best way to do this. Make sure you are using information that is relatively recent as there are often closures due to maintenance. Check the official NPWS website for current warnings and advice.

Wentworth Falls Blue Mountains
Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains National Park, Australia

The walk to the falls starts from the main car park and follow signs to the Wentworth Falls Lookout. This path takes you over the top of the falls. Keep your eyes out for the Fletchers Lookout signs and turn left when you reach this lookout.

Shortly after this, the stairs begin. You will find going down relatively easy provided you have the right footwear. The stairs will take you to the top of the falls. Keep walking past the top of the falls and head uphill. Take the turnoff marked “Slack stairs” which via even more stairs takes to the bottom of Wentworth Falls swimming hole.

There are some very steep metal ladders here; this might seem like the hardest part of the walk but remember you have to come back up them later thanks to the various track closures 😉

After you complete the three metal staircases, walk a little over half a km, and you will come to the base of the falls where you can reward yourself with a swim or some selfies. 

The good thing about the staircases in the second section of this walk is that they deter many people from making the trip to the bottom of the fall so you can often have the place to yourself.

Check out the full range of Wentworth Falls walks if you are keen to explore this area.

Blackheath for bushwalkers

The view of the valley from Govett's Leap
The view of the valley from Govett’s Leap

There are so many special walks here that we decided recently to stay for two nights and make a weekend of it, but if you only have one day, you will need to make some choices. I have listed all the lookouts here above in Itinerary 1 so any that you miss on your walk you could swing by on the way home.

Option 1. Grand Canyon Loop Track

Our favourite walk in the Blue Mountains is the Grand Canyon Walk which is a 6km, 3.5-hour medium grade walk that offers a great variety of landscapes. This track opened over 100 years ago and was the first track in the Blue Mountains. We would suggest driving straight here and starting this walk nice and early. If you need a coffee before you begin then check out Synonymous at Medlow Bath or Anonymous at Blackheath.

We usually begin this walk at Evans Lookout, but there are a couple of other parking spots nearby if you have trouble parking here. Neate’s Glen car park is also a popular starting point.

Option 2. Cliff Top Track

Update: March 2020 – This walk is currently closed check the NPWS site for updates

All the walks are well signposted - Cliff Top Track
Head to Evans Lookout via the Cliff Top track.

Clifftop Walk is an easy trail if you have already given your legs a workout in the morning. This 6km track will take you about 3 and a half hours and provides more gorgeous lookouts. The only downside here is that it’s a one-way walk so best done if you are travelling with others and have two cars.

Cliff Top Track Sign Blackheath
Our favourite walks in the region are those in Blackheath

Check out the full range of Blackheath walks they range in difficulty from grade 2 to grade 6, so there is something for everyone. Before you begin to walk on one of the longer tracks, visit the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre, in Blackheath and lodge a trip intention form that will let them know you are walking in the park today. If you run into trouble and contact the authorities, they will have a good idea of where to start looking for you 🙂

If you are unsure of walking alone, then look at this option for a guided walk here with Tread Lightly Ecotours. We love visiting Blackheath, it’s a perfect spot for an extended stay and generally away from the tourist trail.

AND if it all sounds a bit too much like work you might want to consider our guide to the best tours of the Blue Mountains and let someone else worry about the logistics 😉

Heading home

If you want to take a different way home, continue driving to Mt Victoria and turn right to Bell. Follow the Bells Line of Road to Richmond. This will allow you to visit the beautiful Mt Tomah (Blue Mountains) Botanic Gardens and Bilpin, also known as Sydney’s fruit bowl.

Bilpin Cider picnic area
Bilpin Cider have lovely grounds perfect for afternoon tea.

While apples are the main crop, several fruits are grown including pears, figs, stone fruit and berries. Some orchids open their doors to the public during the season. It is best to check this before heading off to help you plan your route.

You can also enjoy cider tastings at Hillbilly Cider, Bilpin Cider and a bunch of other cellar doors.

Related: Check out some other great Road Trips for Sydney

Things to know before you go

Road Tolls

You will travel on some toll roads so you will need to log on to this site to pay your toll within three days to avoid them adding an admin fee of $10-$20. You can work out toll costs with this calculator.


Check the weather forecast before you leave. Temperatures can be entirely different from Sydney.

Blue Mountains Roads
The drive can get busy on weekends

Blue Mountains Apps

Ask Ros – a very handy app developed by a Blue Mountains local that covers events, attractions, local weather, itinerary ideas and lookouts. Well worth downloading.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife– excellent app for using maps and walking guides offline when internet access

On the way there or back you might want to visit Featherdale Wildlife Park 

Check out these links for more ideas

Have questions about things to see and do in Sydney?
Head over and join our Facebook Group and we will be happy to help

6 thoughts on “Easy Blue Mountains Day Trip By Car [Itinerary]”

  1. At Blackheath I presume you mean ‘Anonymous’ cafe and at Medlow Bath its companion ‘Synonymous’; both with Campos coffee. and both good.

  2. Hi sydney expert. It seems you don’t purchase any tickets or go on any of Scenic World attractions. Does it mean I can visit the Blue Mountains for free?

  3. Hi Blue Mountain expert,
    We wish to enjoy the beautiful landscape including sunrise and sunset at Blue Mountains. We have planned to travel by driving on Feb 7(Sat) and stay one night at Blackheath. Please advise how to plan to the itinerary (with time) to catch the sunset and sunrise.

    Please also advise if this is possible: We will likely split in two groups, with the senior group on the car ride and drive to Scenic world & take the cable cars, the other group hike from Echo points to Scenic World to meet the senior.

    Thank you from Canada

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