Visiting Katoomba: How to get here

Travel the path less travelled | Luke Mallinson
Travel the path less travelled | Luke Mallinson

Just 90 minutes west of one of the world’s most iconic cities, Sydney, you’ll find the extraordinary World Heritage wilderness area of the Blue Mountains. At its lively urban heart is the thriving mountain town of Katoomba.

Its central location makes it the perfect base camp to take on a thrilling adventure, from canyoning to abseiling, hiking to cycling.

Getting to Katoomba is easy. If you’re coming from Sydney, here’s how to get here. 

Taking the train to Katoomba

The train is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get to Katoomba from Sydney, and certainly recommend it. 

Most of the adventures at Blue Mountains Adventure Company (BMAC) are scheduled to start so that they roughly suit the train timetable. Plus, our trips already are very low carbon emitters, so you can easily reduce your impact and forget traffic stress by taking public transport.

Direct trains to Katoomba depart Sydney Central Station about once an hour (up to every 30 minutes in peak hours) 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. 

Plan ahead with the Transport NSW app

Visit to plan ahead and see fare information (including any service interruptions or planned maintenance). You can also phone 13 15 00. We recommend downloading the TripView app – the lite version is free to use, to access the latest timetabled services with real-time data.

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.

A tranquil rest spot on the Grand Cliff Top Walk in the Blue Mountains |  <i>Jannice Banks</i> Walking through the geological marvels of the River Caves Canyon |  <i>Harriet Negus</i> Jenolan Caves end of the Six Foot Track |  <i>Rob McFarland</i>

Bonus tip: Make sure you sit upstairs

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 45 minutes you will cross the Nepean River which will signal the start of the foothills of the Blue Mountains, and your ascent of about 1000m (330 feet) 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 into the mountains, you will see 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.


Ticketing on public transport

If you are going to be in Sydney and its surrounds for more than a few days and using public transport during your stay, you may consider getting an Opal Card. 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. 

However, you can tap on and off with your credit or debit card or device (American Express, Mastercard, Visa) to complete a trip where you will be charged an Adult Opal fare. So if you are travelling with children (below the age of 16) or are eligible for a concession or senior/pensioner fare, an Opal card is worth getting. 

You can get an Opal card from Opal retailers, Opal kiosks, the Opal website or Opal Customer Care representatives – 13 67 25 (13 OPAL). 

Driving by car

The directions to drive from Sydney City are not particularly complex. Once you are out of the Sydney CBD, start following signs to Parramatta, Penrith or Katoomba and make your way onto the M4 motorway heading west. After about 50 minutes, 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 (330 feet) 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. 

Parking around the Katoomba area

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.

If the car park lot is full, you can always find street parking. Generally, the free and non-metered streets are around a 10 or so minute walk to the BMAC office. Cascade Street (parallel to Parke St) often has free vacancies during the day. 

Arranging transfers to the Blue Mountains

Several transport services provide 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, private car, motorbike, or even helicopter. Ensure that whichever option you choose can get you to your adventure experience with us on time!

Need more information on how to get to Katoomba? Get in touch with our helpful team.

General Info, Katoomba, how to get to Katoomba, transport to Katoomba, travelling to the Blue Mountains

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We respectfully acknowledge the Dharug, Darkinjung, Dharawal, Gundungurra, Wanaruah, and Wiradjuri language groups as the traditional custodians of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and thank them for sharing this beautiful land with us. Our Reconciliation Action Plan outlines our commitment to building respectful relationships, creating meaningful opportunities, and addressing inequalities that have historically existed.

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