With its UNESCO World Heritage status, the Blue Mountains boast an incredible array of breathtaking vistas, lush forests, and majestic waterfalls — perfect for endless wilderness adventures and activities away from the city.
The best way to explore the region is via the Blue Mountains Scenic Loop, which encompasses the historic Bells Line of Road. Bilpin, often referred to as the ‘Land of the Mountain Apples,’ enchants visitors with its idyllic orchards, farm gates, and boutique wineries, while iconic sights and lookout points await intrepid explorers.
In this guide, we unveil 10 of the best must-do activities in the Blue Mountains when staying at Crowne Plaza Hawkesbury Valley. So, strap on your hiking boots, pack your sense of wonder, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through Australia’s backyard paradise.
1. Shopping at Katoomba
Katoomba, the vibrant and eclectic heart and Capital of the Blue Mountains is a treasure trove of cultural delights, retail and rich history. As you meander down the bustling main street of Katoomba Village, you’ll pass well-preserved Art Deco facades that lend the town its unique character.
Upper Katoomba Street boasts a delightful array of dining options that cater to diverse palates. Favourites include Bamboo Box for budget-friendly Asian cuisine, Gazi Chargrill for authentic Turkish kebabs, gozleme, and falafel, and Sushi & Co for fresh sushi and delectable Japanese dishes. For those seeking a more relaxed atmosphere, the Station Bar offers an excellent selection of craft beers and tasty pub grub.
Meanwhile, Lower Katoomba Street presents another cluster of wallet-friendly eateries, making it an ideal spot for dinner or a convenient stop when exploring the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, the Street Art Walk, and World Heritage Exhibition. With a vast array of global cuisines, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re in search of mouthwatering food, local art, exquisite antiques, or everyday essentials — Katoomba has it all.
2. Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
Situated directly within the UNESCO World Heritage Area, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden holds the unique distinction of being the only botanic garden in Australia to hold such a title. Home to an expansive collection of cool climate flora and fauna, this extraordinary botanical garden at Mount Tomah, perched 1,000 metres above sea level, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
Embark on a botanical journey as you explore the remarkable 28-hectare estate, dedicated to the cultivation and conservation of a myriad of species. Take part in one of the guided walks or tours for an in-depth look at the past, present and future of the gardens. Thoughtfully divided into four distinct zones, explore the themed gardens, lawns, structures, viewing areas, and amenities. This layout offers a harmonious blend of nature and design, providing guests with a serene and engaging experience.
- Opening Times: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm
- Entry Price: Free
- Address: Bells Line of Road, Mount Tomah, NSW 2758 Australia
3.Hiking & Sightseeing at Scenic World
Since 1945, Scenic World has been a much-loved Blue Mountains destination for visitors seeking a unique, nature-based experience. Home to the world’s steepest passenger train, Scenic World offers a variety of unforgettable adventures. With the Unlimited Discovery Pass, you can choose to descend into the Jamison Valley on the Scenic Railway or glide past Orphan Rock and the iconic Three Sisters on the Cableway.
Take your time exploring the ancient rainforest canopy along the Scenic Walkway, available in 10-minute, 30-minute, and 50-minute options. Keep an eye out for the Gruffalo Spotters Trail and enjoy the sights and sounds of the lush environment. When you’re ready, return to the main building via the Cableway or Scenic Railway.
Soar past majestic sandstone cliffs, stunning valley views, and the breathtaking Katoomba Falls on the Scenic Skyway. This aerial journey stops on the valley’s east side where you can explore Katoomba Cascades and Reid’s Plateau. Best of all, you can enjoy these iconic attractions as many times as you like within a single day — making it an absolute must for families looking for outdoor fun.
- Opening Times: Mon-Fri 10 am-4 pm, Weekends 9 am-5 pm
- Unlimited Discovery Pass: Adults- $50. Kids under 3 enter free
- Address: Violet St &, Cliff Dr, Katoomba NSW 2780, Australia
4. Hillbilly Cider Shed
Discover the land of mountain apples at the charming Hillbilly Cider Shed in Bilpin, where you can sample a diverse selection of locally-made, internationally-acclaimed and award-winning ciders, including exclusive varieties only available on-site. Breathe in the rustic atmosphere with a spacious grassy area overlooking the orchard for sun-soaked relaxation and open log fires during the cooler months.
Savour every bite of the delectable wood-fired pizzas — available alongside refreshing draught cider, beer, or wine. Be sure to order yourself one of the tasting paddles to determine your favourite tipple to take home by the case. With live music on most weekends and plenty of wide-open rural space to enjoy, Hillbilly Cider shed is the perfect destination to unwind, relax, and immerse yourself in the laid-back ‘Hillbillyfication’ experience.
- Opening Times: Mon-Thurs 10 am to 4 pm & Fri-Sun 10 am to 6 pm.
- Weekend 2-hour booking slots: 11.30 am, 1.30 pm, 3.30 pm
- Address: 2230 Bells Line of RdBilpin NSW 2758, Australia
5. Bellbird Walking Track & Lookout
The Bellbird Lookout Track is a family-friendly walk in Binna Burra, offering spectacular views of Turtle Rock, Ships Stern, Egg Rock and the Numinbah Valley. If you’re looking for an easy walk with breathtaking vistas, this is the ideal choice. One of the main draws to this walk is the Bellbird Lookout, which provides stunning views of the Numinbah Valley’s remarkable natural wonders.
For those after a more challenging day-long trail, The Lower Bellbird Track meanders past orchid and fern-adorned cliffs, babbling mountain streams, and across a stretch of dry rainforest dominated by hoop pine. Continue along the track beneath Bellbird Lookout and emerge from the rainforest into a clearing, once the site of a dairy farm. To complete the walk, simply return along the same path to the Saddle trailhead.
Opening Times: Lower Bellbird track is open 24 hours a day
Location: 1183 Bells Line of Rd, Kurrajong Heights NSW 2758, Australia
6. Best Blue Mountain Vantage points
The Walls Lookout, situated in the northern section of the Blue Mountains, is easily accessible via the Bells Line of Road and is one of the most popular beauty spots in the region. A brief walk from the car park leads to this expansive cliff-top lookout, offering visitors stunning panoramic views over the ranges.
Echo Point Lookout, another hugely popular tourist hotspot boasts some of the most spectacular views of the renowned Three Sisters. Overlooking the lush eucalyptus foliage of Jamison Valley and its surrounding sandstone cliffs, Echo Point is a must-visit.
Other notable vantage points and areas of outstanding natural beauty include:
- Cliff View Lookout
- Echo Point Lookout
- Evans Lookout
- George Phillips Lookout
- Jamison Lookout
- Juliet’s Balcony
- Spooners Lookout
- Wentworth Falls Lookout
7. Bilpin Apple Picking
Long celebrated as Sydney’s “fresh food bowl,” Hawkesbury’s bounty of pick-your-own orchards provides visitors with the opportunity to enjoy the freshest produce directly from the source. Apple picking is a particularly popular activity in Bilpin, offering visitors the delight of harvesting fresh fruit straight from the tree.
Ideal for family outings, romantic adventures, or simply reconnecting with nature, a day spent apple-picking in Bilpin promises an unforgettable experience. With an assortment of apple varieties available throughout the season, there’s something to please every palate. In addition to filling your basket with fresh apples, you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy the stunning scenery and a beautiful climate throughout the year. Some of the best apple-picking orchards include:
- Bilpin Botanic Orchard
- Bilpin Fruit Bowl
- Bilpin Springs Orchard
- Pine Crest Orchard
- Shields Orchard
- TNT Produce
8. Bilpin’s Apple Pie Trail
Renowned for its apples and beautifully cool climate, Bilpin is a haven for fruit enthusiasts who appreciate the crisp, sharp bite of the region’s most famous fruit, the humble apple. The Bilpin Apple Pie Trail captures the essence of this delightful region, guiding visitors along a 15 km stretch that highlights all the outlets serving scrumptious apple pie. Embark on an adventure that promises a day filled with hunger-busting discovery, where cider, apple sauce, chutney, apple-centric home-bakes and juice by the jug await.
Some of the most popular Apple Pie Trail stops include:
- Royal Gardenia
- Mountain Bells Cafe
- Pie in the Sky Bilpin
- Bilpin Fruit Bowl
- Tutti Frutti Bilpin
- The Grumpy Baker
- Bilpin Apple Pie Cottage Orchard
9. Waterfalls & Babbling Brooks
Immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of the Blue Mountains with a visit to the remarkable Empress Falls at Wentworth Falls, nestled within the enchanting Valley of the Waters. The nearby Sylvia Falls, Lodore Falls, and Katoomba Falls each offer their own unique allure, making them perfect destinations for nature walks, picnics, swimming, and photography.
Lose yourself in the tranquillity of these natural wonders and create memories that will last a lifetime as you explore, unwind, and capture the essence of these stunning landscapes in person. Some of the most popular falls include:
- Empress Falls
- Govetts Leap Falls
- Katoomba Cascades
- Katoomba Falls
- Leura Cascades
- Linda Falls
- Lodore Falls
- Red Rock Falls
- Sylvia Falls
- Wentworth Falls
10. Lunch in Style
The Bilpin Afire is a super cosy restaurant that offers up beautiful views of the surrounding Blue Mountains. Tuck into crispy, crunchy pizzas made using traditional methods. American classics such as burgers and barbecue, vegetarian-friendly options are also available, as well as appetising steak prepared in various styles.
Or why not take advantage of long and lazy lunches overlooking the manicured lawns of Crowne Plaza Hawkesbury Valley at Barracks Bar? Delight in the rich local flavours of the region, thoughtfully woven into their seasonal menu of fresh, high-quality ingredients.