I have been to The Bluemountains for 2 times this year and I have discovered the cheap way to enjoy that trip. The trick is: do not to get on one of those explorer/sightseeing buses. There is actually some sort of public buses that can take you around between the tourist spots.
First, get a MyMulti daily pass for AU$20.00. This ticket can be purchased in news agents or any store that sells prepay bus tickets. You can use this ticket to catch a train to Bluemountain (Katoomba train station) and also for returning to Sydney.
At the Bluemountains, you can use that ticket to get on a bus to get around. There is one bus company, the Bluemountains Bus Co., that runs a route between tourist attractions. They charge you AU$2.00 each time you hop on, unless you have a MyMulti ticket, isn’t it great? You have a ticket for your trains from and to Bluemountains, and also getting around there by bus.
The bus that travels between the tourist attraction (Katoomba – Skyway Station – Scenic World – Echo Point) is the 686 bus. It looks like a regular bus, not the double decker or antique sightseeing buses. It is usually white or brown coloured. There is a bus stop near Katoomba train station, right in front of Carrington Hotel, accross the explorer bus stop. This bus runs as frequently as any other sightseeing buses, about every 30 minutes in each bus stop. But of course, the driver won’t talk or do storytelling while driving, they are not your tour guide, just a bus driver.
There you go, AU$20.00 for train rides to Bluemountains and returns, and bus passes to get around there. What about the other AU$25.00? That’s for three rides in Scenic World (The Skyway, The Railway, and The Cableway). Actually, there is not much to see on Bluemountains except for the Three Sisters. So, people usually take those three rides which cost AU$25.oo to enjoy the scenery from inside cable cars accross the valley.
The rides were pretty good. The Skyway is a cable car with a glass floor so you can take a look at the valley right below where you are standing. Then you can continue to The Railway which is a rail car that takes you further down in a 60 degree angle railway(kind of scary for me, but fun). After that, you take a walk to the Cableway which is basically a huge cable car that can fit maybe up to 30 people. It goes up back to Scenic World where you can catch a bus to another point of interests.
There you go, AU$45.00 for a Bluemountain trip including three rides at Scenic World. If you take the sightseeing buses, it will probably cost you AU$40.00 only for the bus ticket. You still need train tickets to get to Bluemountain and back to Sydney. As far as I know, this is the cheapest way to explore Bluemountain. However, I cannot guarantee that this will still be the cheapest in the future. Maybe there will be changes for the MyMulti tickets scheme or the Bluemountain Bus Co. or anything. Let’s just hope that nothing changes, hehehe.