Disclosure: There's a good chance this post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through my blog helps me stay on the road! So, thank you!(Last Updated On: October 13, 2018)
This month I got the chance to go on a Blue Mountains day tour with Activity Tours Australia. The day was perfectly planned from Sydney to include all the most amazing things to do in the Blue Mountains, such as viewpoints of the mountains and the three sisters, rides at scenic world, Aussie wildlife and animals, and even a river cruise and a quick look at the Olympic stadium. I was so happy to show my parents around my new home in Sydney!
My parents finally visited me on my travels for the first time (RIP to my beloved dog Poppy, but on the bright side, my parents can now travel. Bitter and sweet) so I knew I had to show them as much of Sydney as possible! And I absolutely did… I might have worn them out a bit from so much adventuring, but that’s a different story. Oops.
My mum hadn’t been to Australia since she lived here when she was 6, and it was my dad’s first time ever being here! I’ve been here for about five months now, so I wanted to show them the best of what I had already seen, and go on some new adventures with them also. The Blue Mountains were always on all of our lists, so it was a perfect opportunity.Booking a Blue Mountains Day Tour Too? Check Availability here!
Out Blue Mountains Day Tour
Our hilarious tour guide with Activity Tours, Steve, picked us up from the ferry just before 8am for a full day of true Australian adventuring. We were all really relieved to have the whole day planned out for us, as not to have to navigate the confusing roads or plan out the sightseeing ourselves. Everything on our blue mountains day tour was organized from start to finish, with all the best sights in the Blue Mountains and quite a few extra things added in as well. Here’s how our unforgettable day went:
FEATHERDALE WILDLIFE PARK
We first stopped at Featherdale Wildlife Park to see some real Aussie animals as the first stop of our Blue Mountains day tour. This was such a fantastic addition to the tour and gave the day a real authentic Australian feel. I’ve been all over Australia and seen a lot of the animals, but if you are just in Sydney for a short time like my parents were, it was perfect that the tour stopped here because there aren’t many more chances to see kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, wombats, and other Aussie creatures in the city! You can’t really come here and not pet a kangaroo now, can you?
But this place had so much more than Kangaroos. It had every variation of Kangaroo and wallaby that I didn’t even know about (big ones, small ones, striped and spotted, pygmy, etc), zillions of really colorful, interesting, strange, massive, and tiny birds that all made the most interesting sounds, snakes, a crocodile, dingoes (so cute!), koalas, wombats (which are hilarious to watch, slightly awkward animals that made me laugh pretty hard) and tons more. Check my video to see a lot of these!
After teaching us a little bit about aboriginal culture, art, and boomerang throwing during the drive, we stopped at a big field where I volunteered to try my hand at throwing a real boomerang. After a quick lesson about how to do it – make sure there is a shaved edge, hold the other side, have your arm at a 45 degree angle to your head, aim at the treetops, and make sure to flick your wrist – I tried it myself. The boomerang actually came back! It landed about 10 feet away from me, and I got better each time I tried. It was really cool to actually try after hearing about these mysterious returning boomerangs for my whole life!
PARK & LAKE
We made a few little stops on the way to the Blue Mountains. My tour was in May, which in Australia is the height of fall. The opposite seasons are still so confusing to me! But, as you can see in the video, the leaves on the trees were all changing to bright reds and yellows, making for a gorgeous scene up in the mountains on our blue mountains day tour. We got out to explore a pretty blue lake and park before our walk.
SHORT BLUE MOUNTAINS BUSH WALK
Our first view stop was down a little trail that I would never have found if we weren’t on the blue mountains day tour. We walked down this short trail that opened up to a stunning, sweeping view out over the beautiful Blue Mountains! The air was so fresh and crisp, and the mountain breeze was gently carrying the scent of eucalyptus up to us from the deep valleys. It was an amazing viewpoint and refreshing feeling to be out in nature, away from the city buzz for a bit. The Blue mountains are one of the most famous national parks in Australia and it was so great to finally see them!
LUNCH IN LEURA
Next it was time for a leisurely lunch in an adorable little mountain town called Leura. There was one main street lined with vintage shops, gourmet deli’s, bakeries, and chocolate shops. It had such a cute, small-town vibe that completely made it real to me that we were up in the mountains, and made it hard to believe we were just a few hours from the bustle of Sydney on our blue mountains day tour.
We checked out a fancy little deli that looked out over the colorful fall trees, with all sorts of home-made cookies, jams, breads, sweets, and lunches ranging from a goat’s cheese and feta quiche to eggplant parmesan. We got a few treats before heading down to a pie shop down the road, where we made the experience as authentic as possible with a real Aussie pie (as you can also see in the video)!
THE THREE SISTERS
After lunch we made our way to a famous viewpoint and the staple of the Blue Mountains day tour scenery, a rock formation called The Three Sisters. Our tour guide Steve told us all about the aboriginal legend outlining how the rock formation came about, involving an elaborate story about a father turning his three daughters into stone as a last measure to protect them. There are so many fascinating aboriginal stories about how different Australian landscapes were formed! We took some photos with the three sisters, which were very opulent and majestic jutting up very close to the viewing platform where we were standing.
BLUE MOUNTAINS SCENIC WORLD
Our last stop in the Blue Mountains day tour was a cool little theme park-like place called Scenic World, which was comprised of three ‘rides’ for a bit of an extra (worth it!) cost. We first got into a cable car to take us across the Valley to where Scenic World, its gift shop, and its restaurants, was located. The cable car even had a glass-ish platform at the bottom so you could see the valley hundreds of feet below you, and had sweeping views of the Blue Mountains, the Three Sisters, and another solo sticking-up rock pretty fittings called Orphan rock.
The World’s Steepest Railway
One of the three attractions at scenic world is quite actually the world’s steepest railway – kindof like a funicular that almost goes vertically down through a natural cavity in the mountains. They very appropriately play the Jurassic Park soundtrack for this ride, which is super thrilling! The seats all tilt back as the passengers hold onto the seats in front of them for dear life – can you imagine sitting in a seat on a train that all of a sudden went like 50 degrees down a hill?! It was awesome, and you can see my reaction going up and down in the video!
The other attraction at scenic world is a cable car that goes from the top of the hill down the the bottom, about a 10 minute walk away from where the railway car ends. There are absoutely beautiful views on all of these (‘scenic world,’ as it turns out, is actually pretty fittingly named as well :P) and at the bottom there are a bush walks in all directions. The trails that pass through here lead all throughout the Blue Mountains to other landmarks – there is a waterfall quite close by (pictures in the video) and there are 2 and 3 hour treks in either direction as well. On the 10 minute walk between the Scenic world rides, you can learn all about the mining that went on there years ago (the reason the railway was built in the first place) and learn loads about the mining industry that boomed there once upon a time.
SYDNEY OLYMPIC PARK
We made one final stop on our Blue Mountains day tour on the way back into the city, after most of us had a nice little nap in the car over a few hours’ journey. Sydney held the Olympics in 2000, and the grounds are located just up the Parramatta River. We got to explore the area a bit and see the place where the olympic torch was, still standing today as a beautiful permanent statue.
BOAT RIDE UNDER THE BRIDGE
Included as the final leg of our Blue Mountains day tour was a lovely boat cruise along the Parramatta river, under the Harbour Bridge, and right back to the center of Sydney. This was a lovely relaxing way to end the day – watching the sunset over the river and admiring all the riverside houses as we glided along the water. Thanks Activity Tours for an unforgettable and adventurous day!
What a sunset!
The track between rides at scenic world.
The opulent Opera House viewed from the ferry.
Yes, the tain goes up that track.
my classic cliff photo!
And, ‘orphan rock!’
Disclosure: Activity Tours provided me with a tour in exchange for this video, but all words are my own and I absolutely adored my Blue Mountains day tour!