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The Blue Mountains, Sydney is famous for its offbeat flavours among the tourists and the backpackers. This region offers lush nature, and it is pretty popular for its vista points, waterfalls, caves, and gardens. Attractions like the Three Sisters Falls, Wentworth Falls, and Echo Point are heavily popular among tourists. But, a visit to the Blue Mountains’ hidden attractions can relieve the senses.
Below I have listed the top less-touristry spots hidden in the nooks and corners of the Blue Mountain that are worth visiting.
Mitchell’s Pass was the third route to be built up by Major Thomas Mitchell that climbs the eastern escarpment of the Blue Mountains. This place is a reminiscence of older days and has a rustic charm about it. Not in official use anymore, you can visit this pass on a Blue Mountains Tour from Sydney to spend some time secluded in the lap of nature. Or else, you can cycle from Blaxland railway station, down Mitchell’s Pass, and take a detour to Knapsack Viaduct.
Lenox Bridge is located on Mitchell’s Pass at Glenbrook and is a heritage-listed road bridge. This bridge was built by David Lennox in 1833 and carries the Mitchell’s Pass across Brookside Creek. It is exceptionally rare, the oldest surviving stone arch bridge on the Australian mainland, and a great spot to witness the marvel of early engineering days.
The bridge was re-opened in 1982 after being closed in the 1950s owing to structural damages. Currently, the bridge is only open light traffic. Activities you can undertake here include cycling, bushwalking, and hiking from Lennox Bridge to Elizabeth & Marges’ Lookouts and Knapsack Viaduct.
Red hand cave
Another hidden attraction in the Blue Mountains is the Red Hand Cave. Located in the Glenbrook Area, this cave showcases one of the best Aboriginal rock arts in the region.
That being said, only Aboriginal rock art is not the only reason to visit this cave but also the incredibly beautiful and quiet forest walk to reach this spot. You can start this trail from the Jellybean Pool. Just walk forward along with the pool, keeping it on your left, and you will reach the Red Hand Cave sign when you cross over the water at the end of the pool.
We can safely call the Red Hand Cave the most impressive rock art site we can ever get to see near Sydney. Here you will find stencilled outlines and red, yellow, and white coloured handprints that gave this place the name Red Hand Cave.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Starting Point: Jellybean Pool
Things to bring: Water, hat, and sunscreen
Old zig-zag railway
Old Zig Zag Railway is an Australian heritage railway located in Lithgow, NSW. The not-for-profit Zig Zag Railway Co-op opened the railways in 1869. It regularly runs except on Christmas Day and is one of the best ways to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Blue Mountains, Sydney. The chuffing steam locomotive, the whistle, and the views of grand sandstone viaducts can transfer you to the ear of steam trains.
Take a step back in time, and enjoy the flavour, sound, and sight that conjures the charm of bygone eras.
Location: Lithgow, NSW
Accommodation: Available nearby the station
Tickets (including return journey): Adults- $25
Senior citizens/ Concession- $20
School-age children- $12.50
Children under 5- Free
*** Currently not operating and undergoing maintenances (updated Oct 2021).
Campbell Rhododendron gardens
Although precisely cannot be categorised as things less travelled, Campbell Rhododendron Garden must be on your bucket list, especially if you plan to visit the Blue Mountains in spring.
The garden is in full bloom from October through November. Located in Blackheath, in spring, here you can get to see an array of vibrant colours. You can find bulbs of Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Pieris, Lilacs, and other exotic species among the flowers.
Take some time out and unwind at the Rhodo Tea Room, open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, with a cup of freshly brewed coffee, tea, or any other tasty treat of your choice.
Opening time: 9.00am to 6.00pm
Entry fee: Suggested donation of at least $5 per visitor
Located in the Kanangra-Boyd National Park, the Kanangra-Boyd lookout is a perfect place to see the expansive vistas across one of Australia’s most spectacular landscapes. One of the must-see places in the Blue Mountains Sydney itinerary, this lookout is only a 10-minute walk from the Kanangra Walls carpark and offers the best view of Kanangra Walls and Mount Cloudmaker.
Not only is this look worth visiting but also the trail leading to this place. Do not forget to bring your camera along, as, on the way, you can find an abundance of silver banksia, white flowering hakeas, and bright red mountain devils.
Location: Kanangra-Boyd National Park
Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate
Wheelchair accessibility: Yes
Best time to visit: Spring
Facilities: Picnic tables
Newnes plateau (lost world or ghost town)
Once an oil shale mining site, Newnes is a hidden attraction is a lost world or a ghost town. This place is located in the Wolgan Valley north of Lithgow and is partly surrounded by Wollemi National Park.
If you love the rugged terrain and are a fan of climbing and mountain biking, Newnes Plateau could be a wonderland for you. Other activities you can undertake here include bushwalking, canyoning, camping, and hiking. But if you are not an adventure junkie, you can take a leisurely walk and catch the breathtaking views of the Donkey Mountain, Pantoneys Crown, the meandering Wolgan River, and the rock formations that Gardens of Stone.
If you are planning to explore this area by walking, you can take any of the following walks:
- Pipeline Pass
- Wolgan River to Rocky Creek
- Wolgan River to Annie Rowan Creek
Location: Wolgan Valley north of Lithgow
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Wheelchair Accessibility: No
Parking: No at The Newnes Plateau Cliffs
Best time to visit: Spring and Winter