Day Trip to Blue Mountains via Train?

Jan 30th, 2004, 09:06 AM
  #1  
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Day Trip to Blue Mountains via Train?

This is a followup to a more general message I posted a while back. My wife and I will be in Sydney in early June and will likely not rent a car. We are thinking of taking a day trip to the Blue Mountains via train. Could somebody offer some suggestions about the best way to approach this? How can we best see some of the worthwhile sites if we are on foot or relying on taxis (including which town or towns we should be targeting as our main stop)?
mitchgx is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 10:39 AM
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this is one for Alan...who hasn't beren around much lately!
margo_oz is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 01:39 PM
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Buy a blue mountains explorer ticket at any railway station.catch the train to Katoomba and get the explorer bus around the sights
johhj_au is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 02:34 PM
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If you have not already done so I suggest you either do a Search at the top of the page or find one of Alan's posts and click on his name - as there were several very detailed responses from him not so long ago about touring the Blue Mountains.
prue is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 01:34 AM
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Hi, mitchgx!

It's easy to see the most popular Blue Mountains sights using public transport, and you will do quite well out of your single day.... even though two days and one night would be preferable.

Leave Sydney as early as possible... but before you leave check the weather, as a rainy or overcast day in Sydney will very likely, in June, mean that the Mountains will be fog, fog, fog from maybe Lawson upwards... you won't see a thing!(However, a clear June day is a thing of beauty up there: cool, crisp, sunny, perfect for photographs).

The trains from Sydney terminal leave hourly at about two minutes past the hour. Your best stop to alight would be Katoomba, about two hours away. After an hour of this, when the train crosses the Nepean-Hawkesbury River, the scenery, which up until then will make you wonder if perhaps you caught the wrong train, becomes very pleasant.

From Katoomba station you can easily catch one of the explorer buses which allow you to get off and on again as many times as you like. The driver will tell you which are the best places to alight... Echo Point and the Scenic Railway terminal are two of the "musts" (you can walk down into the valley from the first and come back up again, two hours later, at the second).

If the day is cloudless, do try and walk down to the valley floor.. don't just do as the tourist buses have their passengers do: fifteen minutes to take photos at the top, and then off to the restaurants and souvenir shops. While the Mountains are very scenic from the ridges, they're far less spectacular than, say, the Grand Canyon; but where they excel over the American sight is that it won't take you a full day's walk to get to the bottom. An hour of moderately-easy walking and you're down in the cool Australian bush, surrounded by tree ferns and waterfalls (no wild life to speak of, however... there used to be lyre birds down there, but I haven't seen one in forty years). If you don't want to walk all the way up again, you can always take the Scenic Railway... there will be signs pointing to the station.

The explorer buses also take you to the nearby village of Leura, and I can think of no way better to spend the late afternoon and early evening than strolling the main street of this village: quaint old shops, antiques, home-grown produce, etc; and, when the shops close, the restaurants are better (though pricier!) than their counterparts in Katoomba. You can catch the train back from Leura to Sydney... the station is right there at the top of the main street.

Do this trip on a weekday, if possible, not Saturday or Sunday. The rail company, Cityrail, has a nasty habit of closing down the rail services at weekends for "essential repairs", and their alternative arrangements, by irregular and uncomfortable buses, will take all the fun out of your day.

The above posters have made excellent suggestions, and you should follow these; you will, I am sure, have a great time, even without the taxi you mentioned (an expensive alternative)to take you to some of the less-travelled (and not so accessible)areas such as Govett's Leap at Blackheath or Wentworth Falls.

If you stay overnight and have a second day, you might try and join a day trip to Jenolan Caves starting from Katoomba.
Alan is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 08:16 AM
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Your reply about the blue mountains is very informative for me. Thanx!

However, i hope that you can tell me more about the Jenolan Caves. So, if i want to visit the caves on a separate 2nd day, we can take the train to Katoomba again and sign up for a day-tour at the station? is any pre-bookings required?

Is it possible to visit the caves ourselves (what is the best form of transporation? I am not driving.) Will visiting these caves take up one whole day?
Jazy is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 09:55 AM
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Dear Jazy and/or Mitch,
If you open the thread "Blue Mountains Excursion" you will find all the best information of how what and where to overnight to see the Jenolan Caves tahnks to our Australian advisors. We will be doing this hopefully April16-17 and will post a report.

AndrewDavid
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Jan 31st, 2004, 11:12 PM
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Hi AndrewDavid,

thanx for your response.

I have seen that posting.. however, most of what they were saying were for cases where you drive there.

Currently, i have no transport. What i gather from the above threads was to catch a train from central to katoomba and buy the unlimited explorer bus ticket, after that i would like to go to the caves. Alan suggested staying at Jenolan Caves in that thread which caught my attention. But i have no idea how i can get there coz the website says that there is no public transport available.

So, now i am not sure where i can stay and how i can go to the caves from the blue mountains area. If all things fail, can i just get any hotel at blue mountains and get a day-tour package to the caves from them?
Jazy is offline  
Feb 1st, 2004, 01:46 AM
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I think there are one-day tours to Jenolan Caves from Katoomba, and I expect there would also be two-day tours with accommodation thrown in. However, I don't know what time they depart and return, or if they are a daily event. If I can find out this information, I will get back onto this thread. Meanwhile, there are a couple of websites you might like to look at which will possibly answer some of your questions: http://www.jenolancaves.org.au/
http://www.bluemts.com.au/categories.asp?id=367
http://www.bluemts.com.au/jenolan4WD/default.htm

Hope these are of some help.
Alan is offline  
Feb 1st, 2004, 06:30 AM
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Alan, thank you for your informative post. I have a feeling we will be following your advice just about to the letter as that sounds like exactly like what we had in mind!

I'll probably be posting a couple other queries in the coming weeks to determine how to spend our other days without a car while in Sydney (i.e. Hunter Valley day trip? Worthwhile Ferry trips etc.). Thanks again!
mitchgx is offline  
Feb 1st, 2004, 11:33 AM
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Hi! We took a tour in the Blue Mountains with a company called Oztrails (www.oztrails.com.au) . There were about 10 of us on a small bus. Our guide Dave was very informative and managed somehow either to get us to all the spots before the other tourists or chose good alternative places where there was no one else around. On the way back instead of driving through the traffic we took the ferry to Circular Quay which was lovely. We also got a good lunch. Dave talked too much ! but he looked after us well and it was a really relaxed stress free day. So if you decide to give the train a miss this could be a good option.
carrom is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2004, 08:16 AM
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as i surfed around, other than the blue mountain explorer bus, i've also found 'trolley tours' at blue mountains. Have anyone tried the trolley tours before? Is it the same as the explorer bus tours?

thanx for any info.
Jazy is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2004, 09:02 AM
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Is the trolley tour one of those roller coaster type things? They were used in the Blue Mountains for mining and now you can ride in them. We took a short ride on one. it's a bit like being at the fun fair. Like a little open train but very steep in the rainforest.
carrom is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2004, 07:40 PM
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Hi, again, mitchgx!

As promised, I have been phoning around for you, and here is the information about getting to Jenolan Caves if you don't have a car:

There are two bus companies (both offices right opposite Katoomba Station) which run daily coaches (but only one per day each) to Jenolan Caves from Katoomba. One is Fantastic Aussie Tours (phone 1300 300 915), whose coach leaves at 10:30, arrives at the Caves at 12;45, leaves the Caves at 3:45, and gets back to Katoomba at 5:15. The second is Mountain Link Trolley Tours (phone 1800 801 577), which leaves Katoomba at
9:45, arriving at the Caves at 11:15. It leaves again at 3:00, arriving at Katoomba at 4:45.

Neither of these day-trips allows you much time at the Caves, and I would imagine that if you did it as a day trip you'd be herded into the Lucas Cave for a ninety-minute tour, and that's it. This is not the best cave, by a long shot, but it is the easiest, so in busy times they don't bother with guided tours -- they just turn on all the lights and open the front door. Not the experience you came to Jenolan for!
Both these bus companies were quite happy about a person buying a single ticket each way and spending the night at Jenolan, which would be my recommendation, if you have the time. Otherwise, I guess you could stay in Katoomba, take the Mountain Link coach out at 9:45, and come back on the Fantastic Coach, thus allowing about 4 and a half hours to try for one of the better caves.

If you travel up from Sydney the same morning as you catch the bus, I would suggest that the Fantastic bus is the one for you, as a 9:45 departure on Mountain Link would have you leaving Sydney on the 7:02 train, which is a bit early for most people!

Jazy, the trolleys are not trolleys at all -- they are just buses tarted up to look like they ought to run on tracks, even though they don't. As far as I am aware, they cover the same route as the Explorer buses and charge the same fares -- in fact, I always thought that they were all the same company, and that you might find either a bus or a "trolley" coming along at any time. Certainly, I know of no advantage in choosing one over the other.

Alan is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2004, 08:31 PM
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Thank you so much Alan, these information are great and really useful for me.
Jazy is offline  
Feb 5th, 2004, 02:27 PM
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Thanks, Jazy! I appreciated your dropping that line, as chasing up that last info took a few long-distannce phone calls. Hope that mitchgx found it of some use also.
Alan is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 06:47 AM
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Alan -

Yes, you're advice and help is much appreciated; definitely above and beyond the call of duty!

As our trip gets closer, I may call upon your advice a bit more. Thanks!

-MG
mitchgx is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 03:02 AM
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Topping for copen
Alan is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 01:26 PM
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Just had to add that if you are going in June you may want to check out Yulefest dinner options.
DropBear is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 01:35 PM
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Also if you want a package that is cheap try Metropole Guest Inn. They are not posh or grand but rather a character place to stay if you understand. But with accomodation depending on package chosen they include such things are the explorer bus ticket, a bus trip to Jenolan caves and Imax theatre tickets etc etc. Along with some meals.
DropBear is offline  

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