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Blue mountains...organised tour or go it alone?!

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Blue mountains...organised tour or go it alone?!

Spending 4 days in Sydney in August and thinking of making a day trip to the Blue Mountains. Is it worth getting an organised tour leaving from Sydney, or would you recommend travelling independently? Any advice appreciated!

sydney
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1. Re: Blue mountains...organised tour or go it alone?!

it's quite easy to drive up to blue mountain, if you join tour, they will bring you more places.....only blue mountain you can drive by yourself.

Sydney
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2. Re: Blue mountains...organised tour or go it alone?!

Since you will find Sydney traffic a breeze compared to the UK (even in rush hour) I'd suggest that you'd have much more flexibility by travelling independently. I'd rent a car for the day and head up there. If you rent the previous night then head out early you should head (I'm told) to Euroka Clearing (see posts by AlanJ about this). If you don't like city driving then see previous posts about Lilianfels by AlanJ which cover renting closer to the mountains.

Going under your own steam leaves you more time for exploring on foot (make sure you go down to the cliff lookouts by Wentworth falls for example) as well as giving you more time to look at the outstanding lookouts on the Grose Valley side as well (Govatt's Leap, etc). Going with a coach you'll feel crowded everywhere you go, whereas by yourself you will be able to enjoy at least some of the area's magnificence and peace.

The days are short in August so you'll have to leave early in the morning to get maximum light hours anyway. The coaches don't so you'll see less.

Sydney
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3. Re: Blue mountains...organised tour or go it alone?!

Tinx, I would like to tell you a little story about organised bus tours to the Blue Mountains in winter -- this story took place about three years ago, in either July or August.

An old friend who I hadn't seen in thirty-five years (when we met on my honeymoon in Japan) rang me to say that she was in Sydney (for the first time) and would love to renew acquaintances. Trouble is, she was with a party of Japanese on a guided tour with every day spoken for. How could we organise it? No problem... I arranged to actually meet her while on one of her day tours, and since one of these was a trip to the Mountains, we made our rendezvous at Echo Point.... all I had to do was wait until the bus full of Japanese tourists came in and pick the likely lady.

I didn't realise then that on any day at Echo Point there are sixty to seventy Japanese tour buses, and that means at any given moment there are five or six parked there. As soon as I arrived I saw that I'd have to start asking the drivers which hotel the passengers had come from.

The day was appalling -- like so many of the days in winter, Echo Point was so enshrouded in mist that you couldn't see a single thing. Just white. The day before it was great, so was the day after -- this day, alone, was the one to avoid in the Mountains (it might have been wonderful in the city). The Japanese passengers on each bus steppoed out, shivered, looked around for a few seconds, and got back in again. They had seen nothing. Next stop: the gift shop for souvenirs, then the restaurant for lunch, and then the long drive back to Sydney, a whole day wasted.

I had to talk to the drivers, remember, so I walked towards two who were standing by their coaches chatting. They were actually joking together about how they'd brought these people up there for nothing, that they weren't going to see a thing. They thought this was very funny. Since I was looking for one of the people they had been deriding, my blood boiled and finally I went up to them and told them I wasn't amused. They couldn't have cared less, of course, continued to laugh about it. You know... "rich tourists but that's not going to help them in this weather". I asked them why they didn't just reschedule the trip by swapping it over with another one which also figured on their guests' itinerary, and they answered that that would never do, as the tour companies arranged all these things with the restaurants, etc. and they weren't about to let them down. It was obvious that the hapless tourists were the last rung on this ladder, just pawns in a game... no one running the tours cared whether they had a good time or not.

The moral of this true story.... do it yourself, get up early, and before you leave your hotel ring the station master at Katoomba Station and ask him what the weather is likely to be like there that day (you can't tell by looking at what it's like in Sydney). Unlike those bus operators, the station master is a decent fellow who really wants visitors to have a good time and go away with good memories and great photos.

Redmond, Washington
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4. Re: Blue mountains...organised tour or go it alone?!

Thank you for taking the time to reply to this. We are visiting the first of October and I was wondering if we should go it alone or on a tour. My husband and I are frequent travelers and usually like to do things on our own. We are hesitant to rent a car because we habitually drive on the wrong side of the road. (being from the states)

We thought about taking the train up and then catching the explorer bus there. Any thoughts on this?

Thanks

Deb

Sunny Queensland...
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5. Re: Blue mountains...organised tour or go it alone?!

Deb it is not that bad driving on the other side of the road_we go to the states twice a year where you drive on the wrong side of the road.I just remember to keep my wife in the gutter or kerb as you say.It is yhe only time I am allowed to!

A car gives you great flexibility but you certainly dont need it all the time and a train trip to the blue mountains can be enjoyable in its own right.

Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney
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6. Re: Blue mountains...organised tour or go it alone?!

dear deb,

just did a quick check re travelling to the blue mountains. the two hour train trip from Central railway station to Katoomba(in the blue mountains) costs A$22.80 return/person.

Check out these two sites about the Explorer bus in the mountains. there are many sites but i just scanned these ones. do check out the others.

fantastic-aussie-tours.com.au/explorerbus/

whats-on-in-sydney.com.au/outAndAbout.asp…

ID=12

weekends are usually busier in the mountains so decide if you'd like peace and quiet or bustle and choose which days you'd like to go to the mountains.

enjoy.

june

Redmond, Washington
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95 posts
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7. Re: Blue mountains...organised tour or go it alone?!

Thank you all for taking the time to reply to me. You are so helpful. I am sure as our trip nears I will be asking for more advice. This is great.

Deb