Blue Mountains National Park

Blue Mountains National Park, Tourism New South Wales
Barbecue Bike riding Campfire Caravan Disabled Drinking water Horse riding Park entry fee Toilets Wildflowers Wildlife Aboriginal site Camping area Four-wheel drive touring Information Lookout Picnic area Ranger Walking


Blue Mountains National Park presents an astounding and unique landscape to its millions of visitors. The terrain ripples and folds, a world of canyons, gorges and bizarre rock formations, with golden sandstone breaking through a dense canopy of greenery. Waterfalls cascade magically from cliff faces and a mystical blue haze hangs in the air. The park is immensely rich in natural and cultural history.

Less than 100 kilometres west of Sydney, this park comprises some of the country’s most distinctive landscape, a vast expanse of majestic beauty that provides almost endless opportunities for visitors to explore, walk and wonder at the scenery, climb or cycle, picnic or paddle in a canoe, and learn about the area’s remarkable Indigenous heritage or more recent European history. There are four key areas: Katoomba–Leura, Blackheath, Wentworth Falls and Glenbrook. The park protects tracts of wilderness and a diverse range of threatened, rare and endemic species and is part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

Fact file


From Sydney via Great Western Hwy or by train to Glenbrook, Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Blackheath or Mount Victoria

Best season

Spring to autumn


50–100 km west of Sydney

Park information

  • NSWNPWS 1300 361 967
  • Heritage Centre, Blackheath (02) 4787 8877
  • NPWS Blue Mountains (02) 4588 2400
  • NPWS Oberon (02) 6336 1972


267 954 ha

Visitor information

Blackheath (02) 4787 8877

Katoomba/Leura 1300 653 408

Featured Activities in the National Park

  • Marvel at Wentworth Falls plummeting into the valley below in a silvery spray

    Soar above the Jamison Valley in the Scenic Skyway

    Try to identify some of the 90 eucalypt species found in the park

    Learn about the Aboriginal heritage of the Blue Mountains region  

See Also

A look at the past

The rugged terrain of the Blue Mountains posed an enormous natural obstacle for the first white settlers, a seemingly impenetrable barrier to the expansion of Sydney until Gregory Blaxland, William Wentworth and William Lawson tackled the mountain ridge tops in 1812 and were able to forge a route across, opening up the fertile plains and mineral fields to the west. By the 1830s roads had been cut and carved through the mountains, but it was the arrival of the Great Western Railway, which had crossed the mountains by 1869, that made the area easily accessible to Sydneysiders.

In the late 19th century, the Blue Mountains with their ozone-laden mountain air flourished as a health retreat, and grand guesthouses and lavish summer residences sprang up. Townships emerged, railway workers settled, and farmers and market gardeners set up business. Faster trains in the 1950s brought a new wave of settlers, and people have continued to be drawn to the area by its pristine air and wild beauty so close to Sydney.

As early as the 1930s a few dedicated conservationists began to lobby to save the area’s natural environment. Reserves were set aside and a trust established to administer the land until finally, in 1971, the National Parks and Wildlife Service officially assumed the management of Blue Mountains National Park.

Aboriginal culture

The park occupies the traditional territory of the Dharug people and evidence of their occupation, including rock-art sites, dates back 14 000 years.

Natural features

High plateaus, sheer cliffs, deep gorges and weathered outcrops (the most famous being the Three Sisters) are all characteristic of the Blue Mountains. Between 190 and 230 million years ago, layers of shale, coal, sandstone and claystone settled into the Sydney Basin, then between 2 and 60 million years ago, those layers were uplifted, buckling and warping to form the Blue Mountains. The sandstone plateau with its peaks of basalt is evidence of volcanic activity, but erosion and weathering have added their own dimension – carving, etching, moulding and relentlessly wearing away. Over time the Grose River has gouged its way through the rock, creating the near-vertical walls of the Grose Valley. The layering is exposed in deep canyons and cliffs that tower up to 200 metres. The rivers, creeks and the many waterfalls and cascades are other major features of the park.

Native plants

Open forest, predominantly eucalypt, covers most of the park, typically with Sydney peppermint, red bloodwood, stringybark and scribbly gum, with an understorey of banksia, grevillea, wattle and hakea, as well as wonderful wildflowers in season (look for the velvety flannel flower and the striking crimson–red of the waratah). There are small areas of closed forest, notably the magnificent Blue Gum Forest, and scattered areas of woodland, with scribbly gum, mountain spotted gum and similar shorter species clinging to the drier and upper slopes of the mountains. There are woodlands around Wentworth Falls, Katoomba and Blackheath. Pockets of relict rainforest are tucked deep into cool gullies – tall coachwood and sassafras create a canopy and in the moist, shady environs below is a secret green world of ferns and orchids, mosses, lichens and fungi. Rainforest such as this flourishes in the gorges of Wentworth Falls, and in the Grand Canyon near Blackheath. In poorly drained areas, hanging swamps create a veil of sedges, grasses, ferns and native flowers, draped from waterlogged hillsides and cliff edges – you will see these near the Pulpit Rock Track and Fairfax Heritage Track. In drier areas, near cliff edges and on exposed sandstone, shrubby heathland and low trees such as dwarf she-oak and tea-tree survive, with a mass of brilliant flowers erupting in spring. Cliff Top and Pulpit Rock tracks are good locations to enjoy the heath.


The park is vast and while wildlife is present, it is rarely easy to see. Most of the mammals are shy and nocturnal, but eastern grey kangaroos, wombats, wallaroos, swamp wallabies, bandicoots, possums, several species of glider and 15 bat species are among those that inhabit the park. Of the reptiles you may see eastern water dragons basking in the sun and dozens of skinks scurrying around. The red-bellied black snake is the most common snake. The park provides a haven for numerous bird species. Watch for glossy black-cockatoos near casuarinas (she-oaks) – they feed only on the seeds from the tough wooden cones of these feathery trees. Yellow-tailed black-cockatoos and sulphur-crested cockatoos also feed in the open forest. Flowering banksias and grevilleas provide nectar for numerous spinebills, honeyeaters and noisy friarbirds, while the soft fruits and sticky seeds of the rainforest attract wonga pigeons, Australian king-parrots, crimson rosellas, superb lyrebirds and white-browed scrubwrens, to mention just a few.


With wonderful walks, breathtaking views, idyllic picnic spots and many reminders of the area’s Indigenous and European cultural history, this is one of Australia’s most visited national parks. Call in at the Heritage Centre at Blackheath or visitor centres at Echo Point and Glenbrook for detailed information about walking tracks, camping, and Discovery walks, talks and tours (held weekends and school holidays). Wheelchair access is available at various sites and walks, including the Fairfax Heritage Track to Govetts Leap Lookout at Blackheath, and tracks at Echo Point and Katoomba Falls Reserve. Many tours in and around the park are run by private operators (check out

Adventure sports

The park offers a wealth of canyoning opportunities, though many chasms are suited to those with experience only. Rock-climbing and abseiling are also extremely popular as there are some breathtaking sites. These activities are potentially dangerous, so consider joining a group or club. All Aboriginal sites and some other areas are closed to rock-climbing and abseiling (ask the NPWS for a detailed list).


This is bushwalking heaven, with over 140 kilometres of walking tracks, from rugged, challenging bushland to paths created for Victorian-era honeymooners. All walkers should carry drinking water and remember that the weather in the mountains can change rapidly so always be prepared. It is best to pick up a detailed list of walking tracks (there is also 2 kilometres of boardwalk through the rainforest) from the visitor centre and there are some good books available. The following are a few shorter walks. Princes Rock Walk (1 km, 30 minutes, easy), with its 1890s heritage parapets, leads to one of the national park’s impressive lookouts. Mount Banks Track (1.5 km, 1½ hours, medium difficulty) lets you take in stunning views, including from the summit of Mount Banks, and an impressive view of the Grose River gorge. Furber Steps−Scenic Railway Walk (2 km, 45 minutes, medium difficulty) includes a descent via hundreds of steps through luxuriant rainforest with beautiful tree ferns, and past cascades, waterfalls and rock overhangs. Walk to the Rainforest Lookout where you can gaze over the rainforest canopy. You can walk to the base of the Scenic Railway, which runs daily, leaving every 10 minutes, so you can ride back up to the starting point.

Canoeing and kayaking

These activities offer a peaceful way to explore the park’s lower areas, especially after rains, and an excellent chance to observe wildlife.


Cyclists will find a multitude of roads and trails. The Blackheath Tour (10 km) is one of the easiest and takes in splendid views including Govetts Leap, Evans Lookout, Pulpit Rock and Perrys Lookdown. The Oaks Trail (28 km) from Woodford to Glenbrook is a classic ride, requiring a little more fitness as you cycle down some steep hills, but you can see Aboriginal rock engravings (at the Circles) and hand stencils (at Red Hands Cave). The ride takes 3 to 4 hours.

Four-wheel driving

Murphys Fire Trail to Murphys Glen (5 km one way) and Murphys Fire Trail from Wentworth Falls to Ingar camping ground (16 km one way) are two shorter routes. For those seeking to explore further, the Old Oberon–Colong Stock Route (130 km one way) leads to Yerranderie. Check with NPWS about their 4WD tag-along tours. Trail-bike enthusiasts also use these routes.

Scenic railway and skyway

The Scenic Railway at Katoomba, reputedly the world’s steepest railway, descends 415 metres into the valley and runs daily. For an aerial view, take the Skyway, a 720-metre cable-car ride across the startling ravines and waterfalls of Jamison Valley. Fees apply.

Scenic touring

The Grand Circular Tourist Drive (260 km) is one of the country’s great touring routes, winding from Sydney up the Great Western Highway then back through the quieter Bells Line of Road. Spectacular lookouts, access to walking paths, the excellent Heritage Centre at Blackheath, the historic township of Hartley, plummeting waterfalls, sun-dappled glades for picnics and Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens are a few of the highlights en route.


Acacia Flat camping area (walk-in camping)

This is a simply gorgeous bush camping area in Blue Gum Forest in Grose Valley. The modern conservation movement is reputed to have been born in this forest, and after a night spent sleeping beneath the majestic blue... Find out more

Batsh Camp camping area

One of the few camping areas in the southern end of the national park, Batsh Camp can be reached via the stunning Oberon–Colong Stock Route. Access by 2WD is possible in dry weather only. The campsite has fairly... Find out more

Burra Korain Flat camping area (walk-in camping)

This is a walk-in bush camping site for self-sufficient walkers, reached from the Victoria Falls Lookout. It’s a strenuous 6 km, 5 hr return trip, so you may as well take a tent with you and savour the experience.... Find out more

Burralow Creek camping area

You can reach this spacious, family-friendly camping ground via a fire trail off Burralow Rd from Kurrajong Heights, or via the Patterson Range Fire Trail from Bilpin. Both these roads are 4WD only. The Bulcamatta Falls... Find out more

Dunphys camping area

Located in a spectacular setting with escarpment views below Katoomba, Dunphys camping area is one of the best in the Blue Mountains. The site’s openness catches the warming rays of the sun any time of year and... Find out more

Euroka Campground

This camping region, near the lovely Nepean River Gorge, can be reached via Bruce Rd in Glenbrook. It comprises 5 camping areas: Appletree Flat, Redgum, Nioka, Bennets Ridge and Durag. Note that the access gate is locked... Find out more

Ingar Campground

At Ingar Campground you can swim or paddle in the dam on Ingar Creek, or strike out on a walking or mountain-biking track. From Wentworth Falls, take Tableland Rd and turn onto Queen Elizabeth Dr then Ingar Fire Trail.... Find out more

Mount Werong Campground

A stone hut at this campground can be used as a cooking shelter (firewood not supplied), plus there are covered picnic tables. To get here, head south from Oberon on Shooters Hill Rd, turn left onto Gurnang Forest Rd,... Find out more

Murphys Glen Campground

Murphys Glen Campground is tucked away among turpentine, angophora and eucalypt, 6 km south of Woodford via Bedford Rd off Railway Pde. Note that this is 4WD access only. It’s a short walk from the carpark to the... Find out more

Perrys Lookdown camping area

Perrys Lookdown campground has fabulous views of the Grose Valley and Mt Banks. Campers can only stay 1 night and no wood fires are permitted. It’s 9 km from Blackheath via Hat Hill Rd, and there’s a short... Find out more

Walk-in camping

Self-sufficient backpack walkers can camp in the national park to the south of the Great Western Hwy. Camping is not permitted within 200 m of any public access road, visitor facility or constructed walking track.... Find out more

See Also

comments powered by Disqus