Some cruises start in Sydney, some end there, and some are round trips out of Sydney. When cruising to or from Sydney it’s nice to spend a bit of extra time there to see the area. Sydney has great public transportation. From ships that dock at the Overseas Cruise Terminal in Circular Quay it’s about a 200 yard walk to the train station. From there you can take a train to Central Station, from which you can find trains going all over. One of the options is to take a train up to the Blue Mountains. Central Station also has a line going to the airport. If your ship docks in at the White Bay Cruise Terminal neither tourist attractions nor public transportation are as convenient, but there are taxis and ferries.
If Sydney is just a port stop there might still be time for a trip up to the Blue Mountains, especially if the ship overnights there or offers day trips as an excursion. To get there by train take the Blue Mountain Line from Central Station. Leura or Katoomba are popular towns to visit. The view of the Three Sisters rock formation from Echo Point and the walking trails there are a major tourist attraction, as is Jenolan Caves, which takes longer to get to since it is on the far side of the Blue Mountains. The train stations aren’t always near the attractions, but the towns have busses.
Leura has shops, restaurants, galleries, gardens, and even a Toy and Railway museum. Katoomba’s major attraction is Scenic World featuring Blue Mountain views and several different rides up or down a mountain or across a canyon.
Jenolan Caves is farther west on the far side of the Blue Mountains from Sydney. It has tours through 10 of the stalactite and stalagmite filled scenic caves there. They also have some options for adventure caving through undeveloped caves.
Other lesser-known attractions in the Blue Mountains may require a car to get there. Euroka Clearing is home to wild grey kangaroos, which are smaller than the big reds of the outback, but bigger than wallabies. Colorful birds like rainbow lorakeets and cockatoos also call the park home. There’s a campground there.
Red Hands Cave is a small cave alongside a trail in Blue Mountains National Park that can be accessed from Euroka Campground or Glenbrook. These small indentations in the rock have ancient aboriginal handprints, which are fenced off for their protection, but visitors can look in and see the red handprints that give these small caves their name.
The Blue Mountains have lots of little off the beaten track places and bushwalking trails that locals or any visitors lucky enough to stumble across them or who have a local guide might find. Bushwalking is what Aussies call hiking through the forest.
A lot of the forests of the Blue Mountains are made up of Eucalyptus, also called gum trees by the locals. This favorite food of the koalas is not the only tree around though. Luera and Katoomba have pockets of prehistoric looking fern trees, and near the Three Sisters lookout we saw some strange looking bristlecone trees as well. Some with huge cones and others with small ones.
Although some of Australia’s wildlife is deadly, we have never seen any of their many species of poisonous snakes in the wild. We have had spider encounters within civilization, but whether any we saw out in the bush were of the poison sort I can’t say since they did not bite anyone. My daughter once had one of Australia’s deadly Sydney Funnel Web spiders living just outside her front door, but that one didn’t bother anyone. A poisonous whitetail spider bit me in her house once though. They like to hide in bedding and I woke up with the bite on one elbow just before we left for home. The bite grew and ulcerated until I read somewhere online to treat it with ice because nothing else would work and then it finally got better.
We went out into the bush a couple times with her shirtail relatives Phil and Marlene. They’re great tour guides who know the area well having lived there for many years. They knew where to find wild emus, great scenery, and all sorts of little places only locals know about.
They took us to a great viewpoint at Hassans Walls Reserve and a bush cafe in the middle of nowhere somewhere near Lithgow.