Katoomba area

Blue Mountains National Park

Overview

Katoomba area is the heart of Blue Mountains National Park. This popular day trip from Sydney is home of the iconic Three Sisters. It's packed with heritage walks, world-class views and waterfalls, including Wentworth Falls.

Read more about Katoomba area

The dazzling natural beauty of Katoomba, Leura and Wentworth Falls has drawn visitors for over 100 years. Echo Point is a Blue Mountains favourite. Marvel at the famous views of the Three Sisters rock formation, Mount Solitary, and the dramatic sandstone cliffs towering above the Jamison Valley.

From family-friendly strolls to challenging descents into World Heritage-listed wilderness, Katoomba area is a walker’s paradise. Take in ever changing views along Prince Henry Cliff walk which boasts over 20 lookouts and 3 waterfalls between Katoomba and Leura. Swap cliff top for cool rainforest on the short Round walking track. It’s easily combined with a Scenic World ride (fees apply). The historic Giant Stairway will test your legs as it zig zags down the cliff face to meet the heart-pumping Federal Pass.

Short on time? Head to Wentworth Falls. You won’t have to go far from the carpark to find a panoramic lookout or scenic walk to a cascading waterfall. Wentworth Falls track and historic Princes Rock lookout are highlights. Enjoy a relaxing picnic serenaded by birdsong or grab a snack at Conservation Hut. Then walk it off via the rock overhangs and summer wildflowers of Overcliff-Undercliff track. The Valley of the Waters is a shady retreat on a hot summer day.

Thrill seekers can take to 2 wheels along the exhilarating Narrow Neck peninsula, also a popular spot for abseiling and rock climbing tours. The fire trails of Kings Tableland offer remote mountain biking and camping adventures. Intrepid hikers will want to tackle the fabled Six Foot track.

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/katoomba-area/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about the Katoomba area.

Getting there and parking

To get to the Katoomba area of Blue Mountains National Park:

From Sydney:

  • Head west on the M4 and Great Western Highway towards the Blue Mountains
  • Katoomba is around 1.5-2 hours drive from Sydney and Wentworth Falls is around 1.5 hours drive from Sydney

From Lithgow:

  • Follow the Great Western Highway east toward Sydney
  • Katoomba is around 40km, and Wentworth Falls is around 47km

Parking Show more

By bike

Visit Transport for NSW for cycling and bike transport information.

By public transport

Best times to visit

The Katoomba area is a great place to visit at any time of year. Here are some of the highlights.

Autumn

Cooler temperatures and clear skies make autumn perfect for a bushwalking or camping getaway. Well-prepared hikers can tackle the 3-day Six Foot track between Katoomba and Jenolan Caves, or Mount Solitary walking track. Keep an eye out for vibrant red, orange and yellow fungus that blooms around Leura Cascades at this time of year. If you’re lucky you might see a male lyrebird putting on a show to attract females.

Spring

From early spring into summer, wildflowers blossom across the heath and forested trails, attracting birds (and birdwatchers). Spot yellow wattles, rich red waratahs, pink boronias, and blue native iris flowers. Why not get off the beaten track and see another side of the Blue Mountains with a bike ride or 4WD to McMahons Point. You’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of Lake Burragorang and the wilderness beyond. A night under the stars at Ingar campground, accessible only by bike or foot, is well worth the effort.

Summer

Enjoy a scenic picnic serenaded by bellbirds at Valley of the Waters picnic area, or set the kids loose in the playground at the council-run Gordon Falls picnic area. On a hot summer day Lyrebird Dell is a great option, taking you into a cool rainforest gully to the beautiful Pool of Siloam and a fascinating Aboriginal shelter. This is also the best (and safest) time to join an introductory canyoning, abseiling or rock climbing tour.

Winter

On a misty winter morning, Mount Solitary rising above the fog is a magnificent sight. Set out on a heart-pumping hike, trail run or mountain bike ride. The steep descents and challenging climbs from Furber Steps or the Giant Stairway, or bike ride along Andersons trail, will soon warm you up. Indulge in a hot chocolate or hearty lunch at Conservation Hut after exploring the tracks and lookouts around Wentworth Falls.

Facilities

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

All Blue Mountains National Park visitors planning a long hike, off-track or overnight adventure, or visiting a remote part of the park, are recommended to fill in the trip intention form and carry a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). Find out more about hiring a PLB and completing a trip intention form on the dedicated iPads at Blue Mountains Heritage Centre (Blackheath), Katoomba Police Station, and Springwood Police Station.

  • Keep well back from cliff edges and waterfalls at all times, especially when taking photos. Read our waterfall safety tips.
  • Please stay on tracks and be aware of your surroundings and footing.

Adventure sports

Adventure sports like climbing, caving, canyoning and abseiling offer a thrilling opportunity to explore our unique environments. Before you head out, be aware of the risks and stay safe during adventure sports.

Bushwalking safety

If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

Fire safety

During periods of fire weather, the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service may declare a total fire ban for particular NSW fire areas, or statewide. Learn more about total fire bans and fire safety.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

Prohibited

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the OEH pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Nearby towns

Wentworth Falls (2 km)

Wentworth Falls is a historic town in the Blue Mountains. It's a good base to explore this World Heritage-listed area on foot.

www.visitnsw.com

Katoomba (3 km)

Katoomba is at the heart of most of the stunning natural attractions that make up the Blue Mountains National Park. You can admire deep valleys, sandstone plateaus, waterfalls and native animals from the many walking trails and lookouts near Katoomba.

www.visitnsw.com

Sydney City Centre (105 km)

No trip to Sydney is complete without spending some time in the city’s beautiful parks. Whether it’s in central areas like Hyde Park or the Royal Botanic Gardens or further out in Centennial Parklands, there’s plenty of green space to go out and enjoy.

www.sydney.com

Learn more

Katoomba area is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  •  Superb lyrebird, Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

    With a complex mimicking call and an elaborate courtship dance to match, the superb lyrebird is one of the most spectacular Australian animals. A bird watching must-see, the superb lyrebird can be found in rainforests and wet woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria.

  • Wedge-tailed eagle. Photo: Kelly Nowak

    Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax)

    With a wingspan of up to 2.5m, the wedge-tailed eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey. These Australian animals are found in woodlands across NSW, and have the ability to soar to heights of over 2km. If you’re bird watching, look out for the distinctive diamond-shaped tail of the eagle.

  • Yellow-tailed black cockatoo. Photo: Peter Sherratt

    Yellow-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus)

    The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is one of the largest species of parrot. With dusty-black plumage, they have a yellow tail and cheek patch. They’re easily spotted while bird watching, as they feed on seeds in native forests and pine plantations.

  • Eastern water dragon. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Eastern water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii)

    The eastern water dragon is a subaquatic lizard found in healthy waterways along eastern NSW, from Nowra to halfway up the Cape York Pensinsula. It’s believed to be one of the oldest of Australian reptiles, remaining virtually unchanged for over 20 million years.

  • Closeup of a laughing kookaburra's head and body. Photo: Rosie Nicolai/OEH

    Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)

    Of the 2 species of kookaburra found in Australia, the laughing kookaburra is the best-known and the largest of the native kingfishers. With its distinctive riotous call, the laughing kookaburra is commonly heard in open woodlands and forests throughout NSW national parks, making these ideal spots for bird watching.

  • Short-beaked echidna in Ben Boyd National Park. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton/OEH

    Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

    One of only 2 egg-laying mammals in the world, the short-beaked echidna is one of the most widespread of Australian native animals. Covered in spines, or quills, they’re equipped with a keen sense of smell and a tube-like snout which they use to break apart termite mounds in search of ants.

Plants

  • Old man banksia, Moreton National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

    Old man banksia (Banksia serrata)

    Hardy Australian native plants, old man banksias can be found along the coast, and in the dry sclerophyll forests and sandstone mountain ranges of NSW. With roughened bark and gnarled limbs, they produce a distinctive cylindrical yellow-green banksia flower which blossoms from summer to early autumn.

  • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

    Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

    An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

  • A red triangle slug on the trunk of a scribbly gum tree in Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Elinor Sheargold/OEH

    Scribbly gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma)

    Easily identifiable Australian native plants, scribbly gum trees are found throughout NSW coastal plains and hills in the Sydney region. The most distinctive features of this eucalypt are the ‘scribbles’ made by moth larva as it tunnels between the layers of bark.

  • Smooth-barked apple. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    Smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata)

    Smooth-barked apple gums, also known as Sydney red gum or rusty gum trees, are Australian native plants found along the NSW coast, and in the Sydney basin and parts of Queensland. Growing to heights of 15-30m, the russet-coloured angophoras shed their bark in spring to reveal spectacular new salmon-coloured bark.

  • Close up photo of a waratah flower, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Simone Cottrell/OEH.

    Waratah (Telopea speciosissima)

    The beautiful waratah is not only the NSW floral emblem, it's also one of the best-known Australian native plants. This iconic Australian bush flower can be found on sandstone ridges around Sydney, in nearby mountain ranges and on the NSW South Coast. The waratah has a vibrant crimson flowerhead, measuring up to 15cm across, and blossoms in spring.

Environments in this area

School excursions (5)

What we're doing

Katoomba area has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents. Here is just some of the work we’re doing to conserve these values:

Sylvia Falls, Valley of the Waters, Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: David Finnegan/OEH