The 3-Day Backpackers Guide to the Blue Mountains

3-Day Blue Mountains Experience

If you’re looking to explore and like a bit of adventure, and enjoy getting off the usual tourist trail, then the Explorer Bus is your key to see the most of the Blue Mountains.

So with the total freedom to go where you want, when you want. With the luxury to spend longer at the places you want to, and skip the ones you don’t. And with a bus every 30 minutes, you can plan your day to suit yourself.

Time Needed:

2 – 3 Days

Best Bus Pass:

Explorer Pass (valid for up to 3 days)




Aboriginal Culture & History

Get off the Beaten Track


Stop 6 – Honeymoon Lookout

Stop 7 – Echo Point (The Three Sisters)

Stop 9 – Katoomba Cascades

Stop 10 – Katoomba Falls

Stop 12 – Narrow Neck Lookout

Stop 14 – Cahill’s Lookout

Stop 28 – Lyrebird Dell

Stop 29 – Gordon Falls

Stop 31 – Leura Cascades

Stop 32 – Leura Village

Stop 1 – Katoomba

From Stop 25 – Wentworth Falls

Day 1
Let's Go Exploring!

Staying a couple of nights means you can make the most of your Blue Mountains adventure. Trust us you wont regret it.

“Our trip to the Blue Mountains was amazing. We truly wished we knew how spectacular it really was, we would have planned to stay overnight to hike another day. Many thanks for an amazing experience”– Trip Advisor.

Arrive in Katoomba and collect your great value Explorer Pass as you get off the train. Our shop is at the top of the train station stairs. Don’t forget to tell our friendly team to validate your ticket for your 3-day stay.

TIP: If you’re staying at one of the hostels, hotels or B&Bs on our route, leave your bags at our shop and start your adventure right away. We’ll take care of getting your luggage to your accommodation!

Honeymoon Lookout to Echo Point

Hop off at Honeymoon Lookout (Stop 6) for this easy-going bushwalk – a perfect way to experience the Blue Mountains wilderness. The views are great, the tall eucalyptus forest is full of wildlife, and you get to arrive at the Three Sisters by the “path less travelled”.

Climb down to stand on the first of the Three Sisters, then follow the main track to Echo Point. Spend as long as you like here – but be sure to keep your eye on the time and check your timetable for when the next bus comes around.

Katoomba Cascades to Katoomba Falls

Take the Explorer to Katoomba Cascades (Stop 9) to enjoy a scenic but relatively easy walk from here to Katoomba Falls at Stop 10.

The walk takes in the cascades and includes excellent views of the Jamison Valley & Three Sisters from Reid’s Plateau.

You then descend partway down the cliff on well constructed & maintained tracks – past Witches Leap – and onto the Round Walk.

The highlight of this track is Juliet’s Balcony.

From there it is steep stairs back up the cliff top and around to Stop 10 opposite the Caravan Park.

Next, to further whet your appetite for your Blue Mountains adventure, ride the bus on the Cliff Top Tour of lookouts around to Narrow Neck Lookout.

Hop off for photos of the Landslide sandstone cliffs, Narrow Neck Escarpment and the wilderness of the Jamison Valley, including Mt Solitary and the Ruined Castle.


To the west you can see beyond the Megalong Valley to the Great Dividing Range.

You’ll then head to Cahill’s Lookout where you can take some walks, have a picnic or just admire the view as you cruise past.

Lyrebird Dell to Pool of Siloam and Gordon Falls

Hop off at Stop 28 and head down to the Lyrebird Dell. This is a walk filled with Aboriginal history and sparkling waterfalls. Watch out for lyrebirds scratching around the forest leaf litter; hear the kookaburras laughing as you descend towards an ancient sandstone cave where there are still Aboriginal carvings dating back tens of thousands of years.

From here you continue towards the Pool of Siloam. This is a superb spot for a picnic, some quiet contemplation or a swim under the waterfall.

You then continue to Gordon Falls and it’s only a short walk down the steps to the lookout. There’s a short cliff top walk to Olympian Rock which is highly recommended.

Leura Village

By now you will probably want to be putting your feet up and enjoying a refreshing drink.

We suggest you ride the Explorer Bus and stop in at Leura Village and check out one of Australia’s most beautiful village streets, complete with cherry trees and an unusual park that runs right down the middle of the road.

This little shopping precinct is famous for its bespoke specialty items and homewares.

You’ll find Bygone Beautys – Treasured Teapot Museum with the largest privately owned teapot collection in the world and if it’s a few drinks and a bite to eat you’re after, Leura Garage is superb and they offer a free beer, wine or coffee with any main meal when you’re riding with us!

There is a supermarket if you need to collect some supplies for tomorrow’s adventures.

Scenic World

Scenic World Must See, Shopping Allow 2 hours Hop off at Explorer Bus Stop # 11 Wheelchair Accessible Purchase Explorer...

Read More

Day 2 Three Sisters, Giant Stairway & Furber Steps

There’s no better way to explore the Blue Mountains than on foot, and Giant Stairway to Federal Pass is one of the best – it’s got excitement, amazing scenery, lots of wildlife and a variety of ecosystems to explore. And you don’t have to be an experienced bushwalker to do it.

Hop on the bus and enjoy the ride around the Cliffs Tops & Valleys circuit and through to Echo Point.

Walk down to the Three Sisters, and take the Giant Stairway – all 998 steps of it – down to the bottom of the cliffs. Turn right and follow the path that snakes around the base of the Three Sisters, leading through dry sclerophyll forest to the bridge over Kedumba Creek. Take a good long look at the huge drop of Katoomba Falls – because you’re about to climb to the top of them.

Now, if you’re feeling the stairs may be too much for you, there is the option of riding the Scenic Railway back up the cliffs to meet the Explorer Bus at Scenic World.

Note that fares apply and will be charged when you reach the top.

For those that enjoy a good walk and new challenges, then the climb out of the valley via the Furber Steps gives you awesome views of Katoomba Falls and across to the Three Sisters.

At the top, if you have planned well, take a well earned rest and walk out to Reid’s Lookout and take advantage of the views as you enjoy a picnic.

Alternative spots for a picnic are close by if you wish to stretch out on some grass, you can do so next to Katoomba Falls Cafe or across the road there is a large public park with some shady trees, taps with drinking water, and toilet facilities.

Hop back on at either Stop 10 or across the street at Stop 16.

Leura Cascades

Leura Cascades Must See, Waterfalls Allow 1 hour Hop off at Explorer Bus Stop # 31 Purchase Explorer Bus Pass...

Read More

Leura Cascades

Hop off at Leura Cascades, and walk down the beautiful track beside the creek. Chill out by the waterfalls for as long as you want, take lots of pictures, and look out for big water dragons. The grassy picnic area near the car park is also good spot to have a little siesta.

Gordon Falls Lookout to Olympian Rock Bushwalk

Another option is an easy stroll along the cliff tops from Gordon Falls to Olympian Rock, visiting some stunning lookouts along the way. Hop off at Gordon Falls (Stop 29).

From the Gordon Falls Lookout follow the signs towards to Olympian Rock with its fantastic views of the Jamison Valley and its rippling forest ridges, you can see the Eastern Face of the Three Sisters, also Mount Solitary, the long finger of Sublime Point, and a distant slice of Lake Burragorang.

When you get to Olympian Rock, climb up the stairs to Stop 30. The Explorer Bus will be along soon to ferry you back to the bright lights of Katoomba.

Blue Mountains Cultural Centre

Hop off at Stop 1 in Katoomba Street and walk across the road to the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.

The fascinating World Heritage Exhibition here has the full lowdown on both of those stories and many more – it’s a great place to learn about the nature and history of the Blue Mountains.

Afterwards, check out the Art Gallery or hang out in the city library, where you can connect to free wi-fi and look out of the big windows at a great view over Katoomba and the wilderness beyond.

Katoomba Street - Food & Pubs

Katoomba has plenty of food options, so if you take some time to stroll along the main street you will find something that will reward you for your hard work out in the Australian bush today, and reload you for tomorrow’s challenges!

Celebrate your day out with a drink in one of Katoomba’s pubs. They’re friendly places, and it’s not hard to get into conversation with a local. Check out the history inside The Carrington Hotel, have a drink by the fire in the lounge

Live music can be found at various venues around Katoomba. Try out The Station Bar or Hotel Gearin. For more of a nightclub scene, check out the Baroque Room, opposite the station above the Harp and Fiddle Bar.

Day 3
Wentworth Falls Bushwalks

This is your gateway to one of the most exciting half-day bushwalks in Australia.

Simply hop off at the Fairmont Resort (Stop 25) for the stunning walk to Wentworth Falls, via Lilian’s Bridge, then spend the day enjoying some of the best bushwalks in the world.

Ask the driver to point you towards the start of the track, then head down into Lilian’s Glen and cross the narrow bridge over Empress Canyon.

Descend through the stunning waterfalls of the Valley of the Waters, snake your way across the cliffs on the National Pass, and emerge at the Middle Falls of Wentworth Falls, where the water pools into shallow waterholes before continuing its crashing descent to the valley floor. Then we have the climb up the incredible hand-carved rock stairs of the Grand Stairway.

At the top of the main falls you’ll find a smaller waterfall that tumbles into a pool with a wide sandy beach – a great place to eat your lunch and enjoy the view down the Jamison Valley.

From here follow the signs back to the Jamison Carpark, via Princess Rock Lookout (for great shots of Wentworth Falls and the Grand Stairway – show your friends where you climbed up), then take the wonderful Charles Darwin walk to the village of Wentworth Falls and the train station. You can catch a train to Katoomba or Sydney from here.

Leura Village

Another chance to explore Leura Village, or grab a bite to eat.

Leura Garage (Stop 33) has delicious food and you’ll get a FREE beer, wine or coffee with any main meal if you’re an Explorer Bus passenger.

At the top of the Mall is the station, and just next to this is The Bunker and also Madame Wangs. These are great options for a bite to eat.

The Explorer Bus can pick you up right outside the door (Stop 34).

Katoomba Street Art Walk

Leave Leura by mid afternoon and hop on the Explorer Bus into Katoomba. Ride down to Stop 2 at the bottom of Katoomba Street, and walk round the corner to check out the Katoomba Street Art Walk.

From here, you can take a short walk into the suburbs of Katoomba to discover a fascinating piece of Blue Mountains history.

We recommend a stroll down to ‘The Gully’ to experience some of the local Katoomba History. It is a moving and rewarding experience.

The Gully

The Gully is about a 10-minute walk downhill, to the west of Katoomba town centre.

This was home to the Katoomba Aboriginal community from the middle of the 1800’s until the 1950’s – when a group of local businessmen lobbied council to build a race track. As the inhabitants (including non-Aboriginals) had no ‘title’ to the land they were forcibly removed, and until recently nothing was left of it but the stories held by a few surviving elders.

Then in 2002 the land was handed back to the Aboriginal community. The Gully is now an important landmark for local Aboriginal people, and you can learn more about their story through the signs that stand along the walkways. You can also see remnants of the track now slowly being reclaimed by the bush.

What a great trip! You’ve seen the best scenery in the Blue Mountains, done some awesome bushwalks, and visited places most tourists don’t reach.

But there’s still lots more to see in this vast and fascinating wilderness – so why not stay a bit longer and explore more?