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Located about two hours west of Sydney The Blue Mountains make for an ideal weekend camping spot. The best way of getting there is to simply drive up the M4; however, the area is also readily accessible by public transit. The Blue Mountains are a network of mountains with towns scattered throughout. As such, driving makes it a bit easier to get around. But, if taking personal transportation just is not feasible public transportation can be taken to Katoomba. From there, there is a hop on, hop off Blue Mountains Explorer bus. Other public transit stops include Wentworth Falls, Leura Station, Medlow Bath Station and Blackheath station. However, orienting yourself for camping around these areas may be more difficult via public transportation.
The Blue Mountains host a variety of camping options. These range from minimal amenities to caravan parks. Blackheath Glen is a bit more low-key than Katoomba, but it may be more necessary to have a vehicle for ease of transportation. If you are not trying to escape the tourism bumble then staying in Katoomba will keep you closer to a lot of things to do. The Blue Mountains camping sites range from free to paid caravan parks. The main differences lie in the amenities offered by the sites.
Free Campsites in the Blue Mountains
There are a few free campsites in the Blue Mountains, we will start here because who doesn’t like free? If you choose these options make sure to bring lots of your own drinking water, toilet paper, sturdy garbage bags, and cooking supplies. Often, the free campsites are fairly limited with amenities. Also, since they are free, they tend to fill up quickly so plan to get there around dinner time for a good spot.
- Blackheath Glen Reserve- This campsite offers pit toilets, garbage disposal, and is suitable for all types of vehicles. Plus, the drive down is quite lovely. This is a smaller campsite and it can get quite full early on in the evening. Plan to come here early if you wish to have a good spot. The space itself does not offer much for privacy (Typical of free campsites). But, we ended up spending quite a few nights here. We had slightly limited cell phone service with our Telstra data plan. Basically, we could sporadically get service.
- Old Ford Reserve- This campsite offers pit toilets and is suitable for all types of vehicles. It is actually located just a bit further up the road from the Blackheath Glen Reserve, which is handy should they be full. This space is fairly wide open with limited privacy but its free! We stayed here for one night to mix things up and had a pleasant evening. There are a fair amount of picnic tables. We even saw our first wombat in Australia here. Plus, we had some cell phone service with Telstra.
- Mt York- is another free campsite offering pit toilets, suitable for all types of vehicles. We did not personally stay here but if you have let me know what it is like in the comments! I am going to check it out the next time I am in the area.
- Cathedral Reserve- Again, we did not personally stay here but it offers toilets and claims to be suitable for all vehicle types. Have you ever stayed here?
- Boyd River Campground- This is a free campsite that is not technically in the Blue Mountains but is nearby to the Jenolan Caves. So if you were planning a trip to check out the caves this is a possible place to stay for the night. There are pit toilets and it is accessible by a van but the road can be a bit bumpy. We had no Telstra cell phone service. This campsite was close to the Kanangra Walls, which are worth checking out if you are in the area.
For more free sites around Australia, check out the CamperMate app. It is one of the main tools we use to find camping around Australia.
If the idea of drop toilets, removing your own garbage, and no showers horrifies you then there are some more options. Our general camping strategy for Australia has been to cling to the free campsites until the need for a shower and/or laundry gets too strong. We then retreat to the paid campsites for a night. But, if this strategy does not work for you, have no fear! Some paid Blue Mountains Camping sites include:
- Katoomba Falls Tourist Park– This campsite is conveniently located essentially in Katoomba. They offer flush toilets, showers, laundry, drinkable water, garbage disposal and a camp kitchen. Payment is made online. This is where we stayed for our first few nights testing out the van. As it had amenities it was a nice way of breaking up the free spots. With Telstra, we also found that we had cell phone service!
- Blackheath Glen Tourist Park– Offers toilets, showers, laundry, garbage disposal, and a camp kitchen. We did not stay here personally; however, it sounds like a typical caravan park.
- Jenolan Caravan Park– Jenolan Caravan Park offers laundry, showers, garbage disposal, and BBQs. Again, we did not personally stay here but reviews are good?
Paid Accommodations in the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains are accessible by public transport making this an excellent escape from Sydney for a weekend. Or, if camping just is not your thing, then here are a few more accommodation options.
- Blue Mountains Backpacker Hostel– The hostel is in a great spot in Katoomba, the staff is friendly, the common areas and kitchen are massive. This is a pretty nice hostel to stay at if you enjoy cooking for yourself and hanging out in a common room. We spent a night here as we got to the mountains late and wanted something easier than tracking down a campsite.
- Blue Mountains YHA– Another Katoomba option that offers a good location in the thick of things with laundry and a fair sized kitchen.
- The Flying Fox Hostel– Nearby the Katoomba station this could be a potentially good option if you are using public transportation.
There are also a plethora of hotels to stay at. As a budget traveller, I rarely grace hotels with my presence so I’m definitely out of my element referring you towards any. But, they are not hard to find in the Blue Mountains.
Heading to the Blue Mountains? Find out what else there is to do there.
Have you come across any other campsites in the Blue Mountains that you enjoyed? Tell me about them in the comments.
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