FAQsFrequently Asked Questions
The climate of the Upper Blue Mountains is somewhat cooler than the lower Sydney region. With Katoomba being 1030 metres (3380 feet) above Sea Level, temperatures are often up to 10°C lower than Sydney. During the winter months the average temperature in the Upper Mountains is around 5°C (41°F), while in Summer the average daytime maximum temperature is around 23°C (73°F) but climbs in to the 30’s (90°F+) occasionally. The Blue Mountains has a similar rainfall to Sydney, with the Upper Blue Mountains receiving an average of around 1050mm (41inches) per year. The summer months typically bring afternoon thunderstorms, and winter rainfall is more persistent drizzle. The upper Blue Mountains also occasionally experiences snowfall, but despite the cool temperatures there are rarely more than 5 snow days per year. Please be aware that our weather patterns all year around can be unpredictable and may change suddenly.
Summer Average Maximum Temperature: 22.7°C, Average Minimum Temperature: 12.4°C, Average Rainfall per week: 35mm, Average number of Rainy Days per month: 11
Autumn Average Maximum Temperature: 16.7°C, Average Minimum Temperature: 8.7°C, Average Rainfall per week: 29mm, Average number of Rainy Days per month: 9
Winter Average Maximum Temperature: 10.2°C, Average Minimum Temperature: 3.2°C, Average Rainfall per week: 21mm, Average number of Rainy Days per month: 7
Spring Average Maximum Temperature: 17.5°C, Average Minimum Temperature: 7.6°C, Average Rainfall per week: 20mm, Average number of Rainy Days per month: 8
All participants under the age of 18 must have a waiver form completed by their parent or guardian and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, except where prior arrangement has been made. Not all of our experiences are appropriate for young adventurers. Generally our policy is as follows:
- Our introductory trips are generally suitable for active young people aged 13 and over.
- Most intermediate adventures are accessible to fit, outdoorsy young adults aged 15 and over
- Our advanced experiences are for those who have a very high level of maturity and fitness and are aged 18 or over.
We are certainly happy and able to cater for younger participants, however to ensure that you get the most out of your day we recommend booking a private trip. Generally speaking, our introductory abseiling and rock climbing adventures can be delivered to ensure a great experience for children as young as 5, and we have a handful of canyon experiences that may be appropriate for participants under the age of 13. We have no definite cut off age but rather consider each group on a case by case basis to ensure the safety of the participants and the quality of experience for all our guests.
If you have children in your group who are under the minimum age for our activities then you are welcome to make a private booking. Our private experiences are recommended based on your abilities, interests, experience and needs. A private booking means we are able to make alterations to the itinerary if the younger adventurers run out of energy or find the day particularly challenging to make sure that your whole group has a fantastic day without impacting upon the experience of our other guests. We are also happy to be flexible with our start and finish times.
We like to encourage everyone regardless of physical weight or size. Equipment used for our adventures have high strength ratings of 2000–5000kgs, therefore we do not impose a participant weight limit. However, having a correctly fitting harness is important, so too is a level of fitness appropriate to the adventure you have chosen. Most of our harnesses are suitable for people with a waist diameter up to 115cm (measured above the iliac crest – in the “squidgy bits above your hips). Some of our other safety equipment, including wetsuits, are also limited by physical dimensions of participants. If you are over 2m (6’6”) tall, under 140cm (4’6”), or are particularly stout or slight of build for your height, then please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns or if you think you might require us to arrange alternative equipment.
Travelling to Katoomba from Sydney and surrounds is fairly straightforward. Catching the Train The train is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get to Katoomba from Sydney, and we would certainly recommend it as the most convenient and eco-friendly mode of transportation. Most of our adventures are scheduled to start so that they roughly suit the train timetable. Direct trains to Katoomba depart Sydney Central station about once an hour (up to every 30minutes in peak hour), and run all day and most of the night. Trains that go to Katoomba may also be listed as terminating at Blackheath, Mt Victoria or Lithgow. Please note: The most common reason for people missing their adventure with us is because they missed their train at Central. Make sure you allow adequate time for any connecting services you may be using, plan to get to the station early and have time to find your way around this large public space. The total travel time is about 2 hours. There are toilets on the train, and we would recommend taking some snacks and your water bottle with you for the journey. If you do catch the train, we recommend getting a seat upstairs, on the South side of the train (left hand side as you leave Central). The first hour of the journey is through the outskirts of the city and the suburbs of Western Sydney. After about 45minutes you will cross the Nepean River which will signal the start of the foothills of the Blue Mountains, and your ascent of about 1000m (3300feet) to Katoomba. Keep your eyes glued to the window as the train winds its way above the spectacular Glenbrook Gorge, and continue to soak up this unique landscape as the train provides you with vistas south across the Blue Labyrinth: south into the wilderness for over 100km. As you get higher in to the mountains you will start getting glimpses of the vast blue hazed eucalypt forests, and famous cliff walled valleys, before alighting in Katoomba and ambling across the road to our office. To find out the latest timetable and fare information (including any service interruptions or planned maintenance), phone 13 15 00, or go to www.transportnsw.info Ticketing on Public Transport If you are only staying for a short time in Sydney or won’t be utilising public transport very often then paper tickets are the best way to go. Most paper tickets can be purchased at the time of travel and some tickets can be purchased in advance (Prepay), from ticket outlets that include newsagencies, convenience stores, selected post offices, shops and kiosks. Some bus services require pre-purchase of tickets before boarding. If you are going to be in Sydney and surrounds for more than a few days and using public transport during your stay, then an Opal Card is definitely worth considering. Much like the “Oyster” card in London, Opal is an electronic ticketing system that is convenient for all transport modes – trains, buses, ferries and light rail – in Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra and Southern Highlands. You can get an Opal card from Opal retailers, Opal kiosks, the Opal website or Opal Customer Care representatives – 13 67 25 (13 OPAL). To find out more about ticketing go to http://www.transportnsw.info/ Driving by Car The directions to drive from Sydney City are not particularly complex: once you are out of the CBD, start following signs to Parramatta, Penrith or Katoomba and make your way on to the M4 motorway heading west. After about 50minutes you will cross the Nepean River and the foothills of the Blue Mountains will be rising in front of you and you will begin your ascent to Katoomba at 1000m (330feet) above sea level. After crossing the Nepean River the M4 soon changes its name to the Great Western Highway and ambles its way past many of the villages of the Blue Mountains. Travel time from Sydney to Katoomba is approximately 2 hours, but can be much longer if there are road works, or if you travel on public holidays or during peak times. If you leave the city before 7am (arriving Katoomba before 9am), your travel time may be a little less. There is free all day parking at Katoomba Train Station, which is accessed from the Great Western Highway via Goldsmith Place and is well signposted. To get to our office from this car park, take the pedestrian walkway underneath the railway line and up the stairs which will bring you out on Bathurst Road, directly opposite our office. Transfers There are a number of transport providers who do transfers from Sydney to the Blue Mountains. Some of the experiences are quite unique and depending on your interests and your budget you can travel by coach, smaller buses, limousine, motorbikes, or even helicopter. Ensure that whichever option you choose can get you to your adventure experience with us on time!
A canyon is a deep ravine between pairs of escarpments or cliffs and is most often carved from the landscape by the erosive activity of a river or creek over millions of years. The Blue Mountains in Australia has the world’s greatest concentration of vegetated slot canyons. A slot canyon is a narrow canyon, with steep near vertical walls that are often carved out smoothly by water. A slot canyon is significantly deeper than it is wide. Some slot canyons can measure less than 1 metre across at the top but drop more than 30 metres to the floor of the canyon. In Australia most slot canyons are formed in sandstone and in the Blue Mountains the canyons are full of rainforest plant species. They are often lined with ferns and thick moss, some of the oldest plant species on earth. The majority of the canyons in the Blue Mountains World Heritage area are found in the Wollemi Wilderness, and are difficult to access. However a reasonable number are closer to towns and are regularly visited by canyoners on weekends in summer. Some canyons have less water and can even be visited in winter.
We generally run our experiences in all but the most extreme weather conditions. Moderate wind, drizzle, rain and mist do not impact on the safety of our operations and your adventure will depart as normal. Of course if we have concerns about the weather we’ll try to let you know in advance, and if you’re concerned then please feel free to give the office a call; we are always happy to chat. On the rare occasions that the weather surprises us we sometimes find ourselves making safety decisions on the day of your adventure. In the event that we are unable to run the adventure that you had booked in for, we endeavour to provide you with 3 options:
- We’ll try our darndest to find a suitable alternative location or adventure that is protected from the weather, and we’ll happily take you there so you still have a great time. We’d hate for you to miss out! But if this alternative isn’t suitable for you, then…
- We’ll try and book in an alternative date that suits you because we’d still love to adventure with you one day, or we’ll provide you with a credit to use at a later date. Of course, sometimes you can’t make it back on another day (e.g. you’re visiting the area from overseas). If that is the case…
- We don’t think you should be penalised if we make a safety decision, there are no “admin fees”, and certainly no “cancellation charges” – we’ll provide you with a full refund and do our best to recommend some other excellent things to do for the day. We want to make sure you have a great time in the Blue Mountains no matter what the weather is doing.
Having said all that, our full booking terms and conditions are available online at https://bmac.com.au/Site/Terms-Conditions and you should still read them before booking with us. But don’t worry too much about the weather. We are well equipped and have a lot of local knowledge to ensure you have a great experience in just about any condition. ?
Congratulations! We have taken several women abseiling, climbing and canyoning in their first trimester of pregnancy. On the rare occasion that we have taken women out after the three month mark, they’ve generally had extensive experience with these activities before pregnancy. When it comes to adventuring in your second trimester we don’t have any fixed rules, but we advise caution. Please do not join us for an adventure if you are in your third trimester. There are many complications with the activities we conduct, not least of which being in remote locations far from comprehensive medical assistance. Before you book on an adventure while pregnant, please be aware: • All of our climbing, canyoning and abseiling activities involve wearing a harness. When you wear a harness, your core muscles are required. Working these muscles too hard poses a low (but real) risk of early onset of labour. • In general, pregnant women often tire much more quickly and are more susceptible to extremes of temperature. Many of our adventures involve long walks and time in cold environments. • In addition, pregnancy can involve many complications that are well outside the scope of our training, knowledge and experience. Please take this information into consideration before making a booking.
There are a number of transport options whilst in Katoomba and surrounds.
- The train is a convenient way to travel between the villages of the Blue Mountains. To find out the latest timetable and fare information, phone 13 15 00, or go to www.transportnsw.info
- Hertz is the only car hire company in the upper Blue Mountains and is reasonably close to Katoomba and Leura Train Stations. A hire car is a great option if you have made your way to the Blue Mountains by train.
- Taxis are common in Leura and Katoomba but are a little harder to come by in some of the other villages.
- The Blue Mountains Explorer Bus is a hop on/hop off service that services the villages of Leura and Katoomba, including all the major tourist attractions, most of the major accommodation providers and some fantastic lookouts and walks. The tickets are valid for a full week so if you are staying for a few days they are excellent value.
- Trolley Tours have a daily service to Jenolan Caves that must be booked in advance. You may also wish to consider their hop on/hop off service if only visiting the Mountains for one day.