You can hardly throw a stone in the Blue Mountains without hitting a scenic lookout or a beautiful viewpoint. With hundreds of spots overlooking the Kedumba Valley, Mount Solitary, Jamison Valley, Grose Valley, Narrow Neck Plateau, Kings Tableland, Katoomba Falls, Three Sisters, and countless other landmarks, it’s often overwhelming to even decide where you want to stop to take photos. While it would be just about impossible to find a bad view, these are some of my absolute favourites, offering a wide variety of vantage points over one of the most stunning natural wonders in all of Australia. Visit one or visit all twelve— you won’t be disappointed, and you’ll definitely be back for more.
Queen Victoria Lookout
Area: Wentworth Falls
Getting there: Drive to Conservation Hut (the start of the Valley of the Waters track) and park in the designated carpark or on a nearby residential street
Walking required: About 10 minutes down a steep trail
Best for: Secluded views over the Jamison Valley
Top tip: Walk the entire Valley of the Waters track for more beautiful views, including a number of impressive waterfalls. Read more about the walk in this post.
Lady Darley Lookout
Getting there: The quickest access is via Panorama Drive in Katoomba, where a small trail departs directly to the lookout
Walking required: About 10 minutes down a series of wooden stairs
Best for: Views of the Kedumba Valley
Top tip: Crawl out through the hole in the fence and take photos from the gnarled rock, it’s an awesome, unobstructed view of the mountains.
Getting there: Follow signs from Blackheath to the popular Govetts Leap, parking in the adjacent lot
Walking required: Less than 10m from your car
Best for: Sweeping views of the Grose Valley and a number of distant waterfalls
Top tips: The elevation and vantage point of this east-facing lookout make it an ideal location from which to watch the famously beautiful Blue Mountains sunrise.
Getting there: Drive to the Echo Point Visitor Centre in downtown Katoomba and try to find parking in the usually overflowing lot. Otherwise, pay for parking on one of the nearby roads.
Walking required: Depending on your parking spot, of course, walk just a few minutes to the viewpoint and down the ramp to the lower platform, as well.
Best for: Views of the Three Sisters, possibly the most iconic view in all of the Blue Mountains
Top tips: Avoid the parking mayhem by walking to this viewpoint from Scenic World or Leura Cascades along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk. Alternatively, try to get here early in the day to beat the crowds and get a free park at the Visitor Centre!
Sublime Point Lookout
Getting there: Navigate to Sublime Point Lookout and park in the carpark at the start of the short trail
Walking required: About 80m down a dirt path
Best for: Panoramic views of the Jamison Valley, Kings Tableland & Mount Solitary
Top tips: Take photos on the flat rock to the left of the trail just before you reach the lookout. It offers amazing views without all the people, and certainly adds something unique to your pictures!
Cliff View Lookout
Getting there: Park at the Katoomba Falls Picnic Area and follow signs along the concrete path to Cliff View Lookout
Walking required: About 10 minutes
Best for: Direct views onto Mount Solitary and the Narrow Neck Plateau
Top tips: Walk the 6.5km Prince Henry Cliff Walk from Katoomba to pass this viewpoint and dozens of other scenic spots. Read more about the walk in this post.
Area: Wentworth Falls
Getting there: Park at the Wentworth Falls picnic area and follow signs to the falls
Walking required: About 700m, if walking the most direct route
Best for: A number of beautiful waterfall views, including Weeping Rock, Queen’s Cascade, and (of course) Wentworth Falls
Top tips: Visit this viewpoint of the falls on the 5.5km return Charles Darwin Walk also departing from the Wentworth Falls picnic area
Getting there: Navigate to Evans Lookout and park in the nearby lot
Walking required: Only a few minutes from the car to the lower lookout
Best for: Alpenglow at sunset
Top tips: Tackle the circular Grand Canyon Track, one of the best bush walks in the whole region, that begins at Evans Lookout
Area: Wentworth Falls
Getting there: Just navigate straight to Lincolns Rock, there’s a little area to park right next to the lookout
Walking required: About 10m from your car
Best for: Dangling your feet over the beautiful Blue Mountains
Top tip: Check out the cave below the rock for more amazing photo opportunities! Just walk over to the far left of the lookout and follow the tiny path down and around to the cave.
Bridal Veil Lookout
Getting there: The quickest point of access to this lookout is via trail from the Leura Cascades picnic area
Walking required: About 15 minutes along a dirt path
Best for: Views of the beautiful Bridal Veil Falls
Top tips: Enjoy this lookout along the Prince Henry Cliff Walk from Katoomba to Leura. Read more about the hike in this post.
Getting there: Park on Pulpit Rock Road and walk down to the lookouts
Walking required: As much or as little as you want along the many ladders and paths leading to other viewing platforms
Best for: Views of Grose Valley and the Blue Gum Forest
Top tips: Allow some time at Pulpit Rock to explore the extensive network of ladders and lookouts for views in every single direction
Getting there: From Echo Point Visitor Centre
Walking required: About 5 minutes down a very steep series of stairs
Best for: Unique views of the Three Sisters
Top tips: Take photos of the bridge from above before you descend too far (or even from Echo Point before you walk out to the bridge itself), as it will lend your other photographs some context
Getting to the Blue Mountains
The easiest way to get to the Blue Mountains and make the most of your time is definitely by driving. Katoomba, one of the main towns in the region and home to many of the biggest tourist attractions, is only 90 minutes from the Sydney CBD, 2 hours from Wollongong, and 3.5 hours from Canberra. If you don’t have access to a car (and don’t feel comfortable hiring one), the other option is to catch a train from Sydney’s Central Station to Katoomba, which takes under 2 hours and costs only $8.50 each way.
Getting around the Blue Mountains
If you aren’t driving, there are several train stations around the Blue Mountains that will get you within a few kilometres of interesting walks and lookouts (such as Wentworth Falls Station). Alternatively, you can also splurge on a $50 hop-on/hop-off pass for the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus, which will stop at more than 30 attractions, including Scenic World, Echo Point, Leura Cascades, several lookouts and hikes, and a number of restaurants (see the full list here).
Where to stay in the Blue Mountains
The absolute best way to enjoy the Blue Mountains, in my opinion, is to stay right in the middle of the bush at one of the many free campsites throughout the region. Many of these sites position you next to awesome hikes or scenic lookouts, and they are a great way to maximise your time outdoors. My favourite campsites are Perry’s Lookdown, Blackheath Glen Reserve, and Old Ford Reserve. If you’re not a huge fan of tents, there are also a number of more upscale option, including hotels and glamping. Read about accomodation in the Blue Mountains in this post: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO EXPLORING SYDNEY’S BLUE MOUNTAINS
- The Blue Mountains region tends to be considerably hotter than Sydney in the summer and considerably colder in the winter, so the best time to explore, both in terms of weather and crowds, is during spring or autumn.
- Don’t completely rule out a winter visit, though! It can be a great way to score inexpensive accomodation or a secluded campsite, and you’ll be amazed by the lack of crowds.
- At all costs, avoid visiting the Blue Mountains during NSW school holidays. The entire region, especially Katoomba, becomes a zoo and it really takes away from the outdoor experience.
- There are heaps of things to do in the Blue Mountains, so make time for a few hikes, explore sparkling caves, ride the world’s steepest railway, admire street art, or shop at weekend markets.
- Read more about the Blue Mountains in this post: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO EXPLORING SYDNEY’S BLUE MOUNTAINS