Sydney is surrounded by so much natural beauty that venturing out of the city is a definite must. With this full day tour from Sydney CBD we were taken deep into the Blue Mountains and the Jenolan Caves for a full day of exploration and incredible sights.
With an 8:10am departure from Four Points Sheraton in the city we gathered at the entrance before being greeted by our transfer host. After the group was assembled we were led to the waiting mini bus to be transferred to our coach. AAT Kings has a range of pick up locations* around the city including the Four Seasons, Hilton Hotel, ParkRoyal Darling Harbour, Rydges and Sofitel Wentworth. The company offers the hotel pick-ups complimentary, which was great in our circumstances as we didn’t have our own transport in Sydney.
Upon arriving at the departure point we were greeted by our friendly tour guide/driver before boarding our already full coach. With a full bus of keen travellers we began our journey towards the Blue Mountains. Travelling over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and heading out of the city we were treated to beautiful views of the harbour and the surrounding suburbs. The long journey was made comfortable with the air-conditioned coach and commentary from our driver/guide.
We reached our first stop within an hour and a half and upon arriving in Leura we were greeted with chilling weather. We were then given up to 45 minutes to explore the quaint town and in that time we could browse the vintage shops, dine for lunch at a local café or purchase some snacks for the road ahead from Woolworths. This stop over could have been shortened as Leura is not that big and if you do not want to have lunch there is a fair bit of waiting around before re-boarding the bus.
The next stop on the agenda was Katoomba and the famous Echo Point Lookout to admire the Three Sisters rock formation. Unfortunately this was only a quick stop with a total of 15 minutes allocated to jump off the bus, walk the short distance to the lookout, snap some photos and get back on the bus. This was the most popular stop of the day with hoards of people gathering for the perfect photo of the Three Sisters and the surrounding Blue Mountains area.
Echo Point Lookout has two platforms to admire the formations as well as binoculars and railings for your safety. Easily one of the most popular attractions in the Blue Mountains, Echo Point and the surrounding township of Katoomba is where all of the action happens. Katoomba is a small town with a number of eateries, pubs and shops as well as the popular tourist attraction, Scenic World. This tour didn’t include access to Scenic World or the chance to explore Katoomba, but if you’re given the chance it comes highly recommended.
From here we began our journey to the Jenolan Caves which are located just over an hours drive from Katoomba. The journey there was incredibly scenic and at times a little terrifying as the road; Cliff Drive, journeys along the cliffs edge with nothing but a vegetative drop. Thanks to our experienced driver we were delivered safely and soundly to the caves in time for our tours. Three people on our tour were signed on for a canyoning adventure through the caves, which departed around half an hour earlier than ours. We were left to explore the small area and relax before meeting up at the entrance of the cave to begin our journey inside.
Upon meeting the extended tour group made up of travellers from around the world, we were issued our passes from our new guide and briefed on the tour. We were asked not to touch any of the rocks or walls inside the cave as the oils off our skin can be quite damaging to these historic caves. Luckily we were warned that there was a reasonable amount of stairs to climb up and down on this tour through the Lucas Cave, so we were wearing our running shoes. Be sure to wear warm comfortable clothing as well but be prepared to peel layers off as you venture through the caves. The Jenolan Caves stretch along 40 km of multi-level passageways and are the oldest known open caves in the world. With all of the caves that have already been discovered, there are people still working to uncover new passages.
Out of the nine caves open to the public we were set to explore the Lucas Cave, which is the most visited cave and home to some popular formations including the Cathedral room. There were various stops along the way to admire the cave’s main highlights, learn about the rocks and what life was like for explorers many years ago. The various stops acted as the perfect resting point between climbs however there was no seating and it was evident some of the tour members were struggling a little.
With lights set up throughout the entire cave we were never left in the dark, except for when our guide turned them off to show us what the caves are really like. Now fitted with white lights, the cave was once filled with multi-coloured lighting giving it a trendy, disco feel. A small section of these lights are still installed in the cave and make for the great ending to this tour.
There were toilets and a shop located at area around caves and after finishing the tour we were given some time to organise ourselves before re-boarding the bus for the return trip back to Sydney. The return journey was set to last just under 3 hours and as the day was nearing an end the entire bus was relatively tired. With the cabin dimmed and sun set we were closing in on our destination. Our visit to Sydney coincided with that of the famous Vivid Festival, which lights up the city. Upon our arrival into Sydney we were treated to amazing views of the Opera House in full glow, making this the perfect ending to a great day.
Overall this was an enjoyable day tour, however it would have been great to have more time at Echo Point Lookout and Katoomba to explore Scenic world. If you’re looking for a tour that encompasses the Blue Mountains and the neighbouring Jenolan Caves in a swift day package, then this is the option for you.
- Hotel transfers
- Jenolan Caves tour
- Child (2-15 yrs) from $82.45
- Concession from $147.44
- Adult from $163.93
In addition, if you’re looking for things to see and do around Sydney and the Blue Mountains be sure to check out our catalogue pages online, which feature a range of tours, attractions and activities.