Best Drives Around Sydney: Blue Mountains/Lithgow

Skip across the Blue Mountains on this classic drive

bells line road blue mountains

One of the best drives that Sydney-siders can take is to head west and experience the Blue Mountains.

And who better to talk us through the drive than a local? Tim Fowler from the local radio stations for the region – 2LT and Move FM, says this is the best way to get the most from a drive west…

sydney blue mountains drive mapUsually when I drive from Lithgow to Sydney or return I take the Great Western Highway thru the mountains, but there’s no doubt the Bells Line Road is more scenic.

As the map above shows, from the Sydney CBD, you head North-West on the M2, before turning off to Windsor Road and follow the signs for Windsor and Richmond.

The road less traveled

Yes, there are more traffic lights than getting to the mountains via the M4 motorway, but as soon as you say goodbye to Windsor your next set of lights isn’t until Lithgow!

mount tomah nswAs you the climb into the Blue Mountains there is a real sense of leaving the city behind.

It’s longer and a supposedly slower drive, but prettier and certainly more relaxed as your cruise thru different vistas, little townships and unspoiled parts of the Blue Mountains.

The speed limit along the Bells Line Road is mostly 80km/h and yes, it is very easy to find yourself going more quickly, but a consistent police presence should reign you in.

The lower speed limits allow you to take in the beauty of one of the great parts of this country.

The charm of this route is the relative lack of big trucks which contributes to a relaxed trip.

Make sure you take the time to visit the Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens where you will be able to stretch your legs, grab a coffee and experience some breathtaking views over the mountains and western Sydney.

As you reach the township of Bell you will be offered the choice of continuing on to Lithgow via Chifley Road, or swinging to the left and travelling south on the Darling Causeway to Mount Victoria, and the Great Western Highway.

I recommend taking the time to come to Lithgow.

blast furnace park lithgowThe city, which sits on the western edge of the Blue Mountains, is well-serviced with plenty of food and coffee options.

There are also tourist attractions to experience, including the Blast Furnace Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, and Hassan’s Walls Lookout.

From Lithgow, you can either head back the way you came, or take the Great Western Highway back via Mount Victoria, Katoomba, Leura and Springwood.

The highway is now predominantly four-lanes and is an easy drive.

You can also divert off the highway to easily take in attractions such as The Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath, and Katoomba’s famous Three Sisters and Scenic Railway.

Best Drives Around Sydney: Blue Mountains/Lithgow

  • Round trip time – approx. 4.5 hours from Sydney CBD
  • Road Surface – Generally good
  • Road types – Motorway, Suburban, Highway, Country Roads
  • Skill Level – Intermediate/Caution required in cold conditions

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