Have you been itching to feel the thrill of driving through unsealed roads? Well, you won’t have to look any further as the Blue Mountains is just a two-hour drive away from Sydney. Not only will you be thrilled by some of its tracks, but you will also witness scenic views and experience the fragrance of lush eucalyptus forests.
The Blue Mountains World Heritage Area got its name due to its blue horizon. Aside from off-roading, you can explore several walking tracks, underground caves, massive rock formations, and the native bushland. You can also listen to the Dreaming stories told by Aboriginal guides and marvel at the artworks of local artists.
Do you want to head to the Blue Mountains on your next trip? Read more about it below and prepare everything that you need before heading out.
How Can I Reach the Blue Mountains?
If you’re driving to the Blue Mountains, you should get to M1 and follow this route:
- Merge onto M1
- After 7.3 km, keep driving on the right lanes and continue on M2
- Continue until you reach M7
- At the interchange in Light Horse, use the left lane and follow signs leading to M4 toward Penrith/Blue Mountains
- Keep driving on the right lanes to reach Great Western Hwy/A32
- After 2.5 km, turn left onto Ross St
- Continue taking Ross St until you reach Park St
- Turn right onto Euroka Rd
- After 300 m, turn left onto Burfitt Parade
- Continue onto Bruce Rd
What Should I Know About the Blue Mountains?
The Blue Mountains, located immediately west of the sprawling metropolitan area of Sydney, constitute one of the most easily reachable areas of relatively unspoiled natural highland beauty in the state.
Although it’s not exceptionally high, the Blue Mountains are nonetheless renowned for their majestic scenery of a unique kind, their cultural attractions, and a relatively quiet, alternative mode of life.
Part of Australia’s Great Dividing Range, the Blue Mountains region, was inscribed as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO in 2000.
How Are The 4WD Tracks in the Blue Mountains?
NSW’s Blue Mountains offers a lot of things to do along the tourist area: cafes, gift shops, lookouts, and waterfalls. Wentworth Falls, Leura and Katoomba are undeniably among the most pleasant places to spend the day – the number of tourists walking the streets will be a testament to that. But if you take the Bells Line of Road up the mountain instead of the Great Western Highway, you’ll find yourself heading towards a very remote destination: The Lost City.
Drive on the Bells Line of Road in Richmond and down to the twisting road passing through apple and stone fruit orchards in the towns of Berambing and Bilpin. Rows of fruit trees, farmland and distant slopes from the car window make for a very scenic stroll, and around 10 mins after passing Bell you’ll be at the small town of Clarence – home of the now-defunct Zig Zag railway.
It was built during the 1800s, and the 2013 bushfires shutdown the tourist area, but they’re hoping to have it restored in the (hopefully in the not-too-distant) future. Cross the railway line onto a gravel trail that will lead you past Clarence Sawmill and the Boral quarry. The Old Bells Line of Road turns right onto Glowworm Tunnel Road and meanders to the Bungleboori picnic area.
The forks in the road on this track mean you can choose your adventure; taking the right track and heading down Glowworm Tunnel Road will eventually lead to – you guessed it – the Glowworm Tunnel. Take a break and get off the wheels to walk the last 100 m to the tunnel to see the glow worms. So, if you’ve got took the kids with you, this is worth a look.
Turn left onto Beecroft Track leading on to Blackfellows Hand Track to see the centuries-old rock paintings. Low range is usually advised on this track, especially if the area has seen a lot of rain. Parts of the road are steep and slippery, which also make them an experience best shared with more than one vehicle in case one need to be winched out of an undesirable situation.
A power lines service trail serves as an alternate route to the Lost City if you are from Bungleboori campground, on which you will need to take the left-hand track at the next three forks along the way and consider a low range for the last 200m descent towards the Lost City.
The oil-shale mining ghost town at Newnes is a more relaxed drive can be accessed from Wolgan Road and worth a look and has the lure of a cold beverage waiting for you at Newnes Hotel.
What Activities Can I Do in the Blue Mountains?
Undoubtedly one of the essential sights in the entire Blue Mountains; the unique rock formation is known as the Three Sisters. This natural wonder features three enormous rocks on top of a sandstone cliff which guts down towards the Jamison Valley. The structure has become both a local and tourist favourite, being a part of the landscape for millions of years.
The rock formation is not just a natural wonder; however, as it has a strong connection with the indigenous people of the area, even having a famous Dreamtime story attached to it. The legend goes that once there were three beautiful sisters called Meehni, Wimlah, and Gunnedoo, who fell madly in love with three brothers from the neighbouring tribe.
Sadly, the two tribes were emeries, and marriage between them was forbidden. Unable to help themselves, the brothers set out to capture the women, which launched a war between the tribes. A local witchdoctor decided to help the women, transforming them into stone to protect them from the war’s danger.
However, tragedy struck during the battle when the witchdoctor was killed, leaving no one able to break the spell and bring the women back to life. And so, the three sisters remain rocks for all eternity, standing mournfully high above the Jamison Valley, never to be human again.
What Do Other 4WD Enthusiasts Say About The Blue Mountains?
According to user mikehzz of 4x4earth.com, following a lot of the tracks will be difficult without a map. There are some forks in the road in Blackfellow’s Hand and you can easily head towards a wrong direction. If you’re looking to stay on track, the Boiling Billy suggestion is considered excellent as it has directions with GPS coordinates. Numerous easy tracks with enjoyable lookouts await at the end, such as Mt Hay at Leura, King’s Table land at Wenty Falls, Glow worm tunnel, Wheeny Creek at Kurrajong, Blackfellows Hand, 6 Foot Track, etc. On the sidetrack of those are the more difficult tracks.
Where Should I Stay in the Blue Mountains?
The Blue Mountains has a range full of camping options, ranging from free bush camps to Tourist Parks. All have excellent facilities and sites for tents or vans. You can choose from the following options:
- Katoomba Falls Tourist Park: Located on the spectacular scenic Cliff Drive, is 2km south of Katoomba railway station and town centre.
- Blackheath Glen: Located in a secluded part of Blackheath, however, is only a short 10-minute walk through beautiful parks leading to the centre of the village. The Park is located 1km from Blackheath Railway Station.
- Cathedral Reserve – Mt Wilson: 40km north of Katoomba, this is a large, level camping area (suitable for camper trailers, caravans, motorhomes and tents) close to rainforest walks.
- Hartley Vale Mt York Precinct – Lockyers Track: Situated at the base of Mt York via Hartley Valley Rd – small camping area (restricted sites) suitable for tents. Single pit toilet.
- Mt York Precinct – Mt Victoria: 5km from Mt Victoria village at the end of Mt York Rd – small camping area (restricted sites) suitable for tents. A popular climbing area and historic roads.
- Megalong Valley – Old Ford Reserve: It is adjacent to Megalong Creek – medium-sized campground. Access is via a sealed road. Toilets provided (no other facilities).
Why Are They Called The Blue Mountains?
The Blue Mountains is named that way because, from Sydney, they look blue. They are clad in vast forests of eucalypts (commonly called gum trees), which in the hot sun release a fine mist of eucalyptus oil from their leaves. The mist refracts light, which makes the haze look blue at a distance.
How Cold Does It Get In The Blue Mountains?
The climate in the Blue Mountains is more temperate in the lower region. Visitors who cannot bear the cold temperature during winter can enjoy the warmer weather in the Blue Mountains in this region. The average temperature in the lower area during summer is 29oC and 16oC during winter.
What Should I Wear To The Blue Mountains?
The climate in the Blue Mountains is relatively pleasant. Summer visitors should wear shorts or loose trousers along with comfortable walking shoes. Winter visitors should prepare a hat and jacket.