Blue Mountains: Need suggestions for touring

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Old Jul 11, 08, 10:29 am
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Blue Mountains: Need suggestions for touring

On my upcoming trip to Sydney in November, I wish to visit the Blue Mountains. I've read about many tours, but it's hard to decide among all the tour companies. I've read good things about Wonderbus and Oztrails as tour companies, but there are apparently many others. Any advice as to which is best?

Or, I understand can rent a car and drive which may offer more flexibility.

Then, I can take the train. Or, take the train part way to avoid the Sydney traffic conjestion, and rent a car from a nearby station, and continue on to the Blue Mountains and enjoy at our own pace and agenda.

Wow, many options, can anyone help with suggestions or advice?

Thanks!
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Old Jul 11, 08, 2:20 pm
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Depends, what do you want to see? How long do you wish to spend in the mountains?

I live in Katoomba, and can certainly give you some pointers, but it would really depends on what you are looking to do whilst you are up here.

Dave
(Where it is currently 3 degrees, but is was below zero last night when I went home from the pub - allowing for windchill - make sure you are well rugged up).
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Old Jul 11, 08, 2:25 pm
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Originally Posted by thadocta View Post
Depends, what do you want to see? How long do you wish to spend in the mountains?

I live in Katoomba, and can certainly give you some pointers, but it would really depends on what you are looking to do whilst you are up here.

Dave
(Where it is currently 3 degrees, but is was below zero last night when I went home from the pub - allowing for windchill - make sure you are well rugged up).
What will the weather be like, say around the end of November? In terms of what do see, I guess anything and everything, but I only have a day. I am trying to decide if to rent a car, take a train, take the train and rent a car, or take a tour. For ease an convenience, maybe a tour might be best, I don't know. Any tours you recommend, or to avoid? Thanks.
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Old Jul 11, 08, 3:07 pm
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Originally Posted by swdke View Post
What will the weather be like, say around the end of November? In terms of what do see, I guess anything and everything, but I only have a day. I am trying to decide if to rent a car, take a train, take the train and rent a car, or take a tour. For ease an convenience, maybe a tour might be best, I don't know. Any tours you recommend, or to avoid? Thanks.
November will be fine, weather wise. I willget back to you in about 24 hours, I am about to go to bed (it is just after 7am here).

I will probably be recommedning getting the train and using the Explorer bus - details available here - this will be the easiest way of seeing the major attractions - butas I said, I will get back to you in a bit under 24 hours.

Dave
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Old Jul 11, 08, 3:14 pm
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I'd make a standby car reservation just in case. A few years ago, my partner and I had stayed overnight at Katoomba or thereabouts. Terrible weather and visibility (a 1 May IIRC though November should be much better). Just as we had given up hope of seeing anything and were on the highway back to Sydney, the weather cleared up so we turned around and had a great sunset view of the 3 Sisters. There are a few other vantage points which may be a bit remote and long to walk to. Not sure if the bus mentioned goes to these points.
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Old Jul 11, 08, 3:21 pm
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May can be horrible (as can most of winter) - but then it can be fantastic as well.

Just rememebr our height - around 3500 feet above Mean Sea Level, so we often suffer from low flying cloud (and this can make a difference.

November should be fine though.

Dave
(I am REALLY going to bed now).
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Old Jul 12, 08, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by thadocta View Post
November will be fine, weather wise. I willget back to you in about 24 hours, I am about to go to bed (it is just after 7am here).

I will probably be recommedning getting the train and using the Explorer bus - details available here - this will be the easiest way of seeing the major attractions - butas I said, I will get back to you in a bit under 24 hours.

Dave
Do you think there is any advantage to taking a guided tour of the Blue Mountains? I'm thinking scenery is pretty self explanatory so commentary won't add much value.
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Old Jul 12, 08, 12:52 pm
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Originally Posted by spacebarkaren View Post
Do you think there is any advantage to taking a guided tour of the Blue Mountains? I'm thinking scenery is pretty self explanatory so commentary won't add much value.
Apologies, just got home from work (much later than I anticipated).

Since the OP is looking at November (four months away) I don't think there are any time constraints, so I will post a comprehensive reply later (I am too buggered).

But just to respond to your post - yes, the commentary is worth it. There is the history of the area, little bits and pieces behind the scenery that you miss if you don't know what to look for. The tour goes to places which are easily missed if you don't know that they are there, there are the hassles of finding a parking space if you are driving yourself, as well as hassles with driving on the wrong side of the road if you come from certain areas of the world.

There are also the hassles of going to a decent restaurant for lunch and remembering that you are driving, so only one glass of wine, a problem which does not present itself if you are using one of the tourist bus services.

Of course, YMMV.

Dave
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Old Jul 12, 08, 2:48 pm
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Originally Posted by thadocta View Post
Apologies, just got home from work (much later than I anticipated).

But just to respond to your post - yes, the commentary is worth it. There is the history of the area, little bits and pieces behind the scenery that you miss if you don't know what to look for. The tour goes to places which are easily missed if you don't know that they are there, there are the hassles of finding a parking space if you are driving yourself, as well as hassles with driving on the wrong side of the road if you come from certain areas of the world.

There are also the hassles of going to a decent restaurant for lunch and remembering that you are driving, so only one glass of wine, a problem which does not present itself if you are using one of the tourist bus services.

Of course, YMMV.

Dave
Sorry, by guided tour I meant the kind where the tour guide is with you at all times. But it sounds like the Explorer bus (hop on and off) offers some commentary too.
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Old Jul 13, 08, 12:21 am
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We took a guided tour on our trip a couple of weeks ago. We used OZ Experience. I thought the tour was definitely worth it. The guy was super super knowledgeable, we took a couple of hikes where he gave a lot of ecological and cultural history, and he also threw in a bunch of stories. It really provided an extra dimension that made us appreciate the trip a lot more.
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Old Jul 16, 08, 11:25 pm
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The trip up on the train is fantastic as it covers some areas of the National Park that is not seen from the road.

Once you get here, the Explorer Bus is quite good as is the Trolley Tours. They have commentary & you can get on, get off at any one of a number of stops, depending upon which company you select. I would recommend the Explorer Bus over Trolley Tours.

Yet another alternative would be to take the train but then get a local Taxi to take you around. Its not the cheapest option, depending upon how many people you have with you. The local cabbies here generally have a good local knowledge & can take you to places off the beaten track - even when the weather may be poor.
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Old Jul 17, 08, 11:31 pm
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Welcome to FlyerTalk, FoggyBear - although you have been a member for nearly five years, a great first post.

Dave
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Old Jul 28, 08, 1:54 am
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Trying to make sense of the relationship between the various passes is not easy for an outsider!

If we already have a Purple TravelPass - which seems to take me as far as Emu Plains. So if we want to go as far as Katoomba and then use the Explorer Bus - what is the best approach ticket-wise?

Thanks.
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Old Jun 8, 09, 2:46 am
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It seems that a car rental (if one is staying in Sydney - we are staying at a hotel in Darling Harbour) is the cheapest way of going to Blue Mountains, but it may not be the best way of seeing the scenery, enroute or there (at least for an outsider, who does not really know what are the best locations to see, or the most scenic route to get there).

One of the previous posts suggested a train, followed by a hop on, hop off bus there? Can one buy a combo ticket (ticket, and hop on, hop off bus) in Sydney, or does one have to buy the hop on, hop off bus ticket somewhere in the Blue Mountains?

If one takes a tour originating in Sydney, which is the best tour company? I guess that a guided tour from Sydney to the Blue Mountains, and back, would not allow one to enjoy the scenery as much as if one goes by train, and it does not allow one to the flexibility of spending as one or little time at a particular location, as with the hop on, hop off bus?
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Old Jun 8, 09, 12:35 pm
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we were just there in May

We took the train from Cicular Quay and got off at Katoomba, we then walked 1/2 hr thru the town and to Scenic World where we purchased a Silver pass includes Up & Down to the valley (we took the train down and Cable car up , If I was to redo it it would be the train both ways) then teh SkyCar over to the other side 25 AUD per person.

we then walked along the trail to Echo pt and then to the 3 sisters back to Echo pt and then walked back to the train station and headed back to teh City

If you do as we did and leave at 9am (we did this at 8:30) and caught the 8:55am train from central all it cost was 17 AUD per person round trip its 24 AUD if you want to get a train during Peak 9am and before. Funny teh only place we had to scan or show our tkts was at Cicular Quay so we could have purchased a 3.60 tkt and gone all the way. You must change trains at Central but the local train is included in the price.

It would have been 54 AUD for the trains and Explorer Bus. Keep in mind the bus runs every 1/2 hr so if you happen to just miss it at a stop you'll have to wait another 1/2 hr. If youre in shape Im not the walk is Great.

IMO the Bus is a complete waste of both time and $$
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