There’s no question that the Blue Mountains is a unique landscape filled with amazing photographic opportunities. If you aren’t a local though, it can be hard to know where to find the best locations to shoot what you’re looking for.
So here are my favourite spots and go-to Blue Mountains photography locations when I am heading out with the camera!
If there’s somewhere you think I should be adding to this list, or if you are looking for a particular type of location, feel free to let me know in the comments below!
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Table of Contents
Wildlife Photography in the Blue Mountains
There is a plethora of wildlife in the Blue Mountains if you know where to look. These are wild animals however, so what and how much you see will always be dependent on more variables than you can control – which is what makes it fun!
Wentworth Falls Lake
If I was to guarantee any location to see wildlife in the mountains this would be it. Wentworth Falls Lake has a large population of various types of waterbirds, and they are quite used to people so they aren’t going to be bothered by you turning up to take photos, and you’ll get a great opportunity to play with light on the waters surface. Expect to see at least Pacific Black Ducks, Dusky Moorhens, Egrets and Swamphens on the lakes surface and shore. You may also see one of the other 100+ species which have recorded sightings at the lake.
Where to find it: The best access point for the Lake is from Sinclair Crescent, Wentworth Falls. There is parking available.
Emu Green Reserve
Technically this spot is at the base of the mountains but it’s worth the inclusion. I’ll stop short of providing a guarantee on this one as I haven’t visited enough to give the judgement over time, but I find it hard to believe you wouldn’t find plenty of birds to photograph at this gem of a location, you’ll hear the calls the instant you step out of the car.
I’ve personally seen;
- Sulfur-Crested Cockatoos
- Rainbow Lorikeets
- Pacific Black Ducks
- Gray Butcherbirds
- Noisy Miners
- Bell Miners
- Red-Whiskered Bulbuls
- Spotted Doves
- Magpie Lark
and heard more birds that I didn’t see, including an Eastern Whipbird, a fast and elusive character!
Where to find it: This is a quiet reserve in a residential area and can be found at the end of Russell Avenue in Emu Plains. There is only street parking available.
If you walk as far as the river you will pass through a grove of trees which the Bell Miners call home and you’ll have a good chance of catching a glimpse!
Little Switzerland Trail
Another Wentworth Falls location that is fabulous for birds, this spot is my first go-to if I want to head out with the camera. There is a great variety of birds here but I’ve also had days where I’ve seen barely anything at all, it can depend on how busy the area is when you visit. The day I saw the most species was a gloomy and drizzly day.
Due to the vegetation present in this location you may be lucky enough to see a couple of the Black Cockatoo species, including the Yellow-Tail and the Glossy Black, the latter of which is currently listed as vulnerable. Their food source is the Casuarina, much of which was destroyed in the Black Summer bushfires. There is a good supply of Casuarina in this location and if you are lucky enough to see them don’t get too close so as not to scare them away from their food source. This is one you will want the long lens! I took this shot with my 300mm lens.
I have personally seen here;
- Glossy Black Cockatoos
- Yellow-Tail Cockatoos
- Red Wattlebirds
- Pied Currawongs
- New Holland Honeyeaters
Where to find it: Turn onto Hordern Road from Tablelands Rd in Wentworth Falls. There is a small carpark available for Lincolns Rock lookout. The trail starts after the roundabout.
Another location I can’t guarantee as it does depend on the time of day you are there. This is a potential location for Kangaroos and other Macropods, as well as Wombats if you happen to be there early in the morning or at dusk.
And its a stunning place to visit anyway with two wineries worth stopping in!
I captured this Scarlet Robin at the Pony Club.
If you continue along through the valley to the 6 foot track, you’ll also find plentiful opportunities to shoot small birds at Guyver Bridge. I finally managed to get a good shot of a Silvereye here.
Where to find it: At Blackheath take the left turn over the railway line and follow the signs to take Megalong Road down into the valley.
Waterfall Photography in the Blue Mountains
There’s a plethora of waterfalls in the Blue Mountains to visit, however from a compositional perspective there are a few that are the pick of the bunch.
Another Wentworth Falls attraction, Sylvia Falls is a small but stunning waterfall which brings with it the bonus of a number of other waterfalls on the same track. It looks lovely as a long exposure.
Where to find it: Sylvia Falls is the second of the waterfalls which can be found on the Valley of the Waters track at Wentworth Falls. The first, Empress Falls, is also impressive but is a bit more limited on vantage points to photograph due to the geography. Parking is available at the end of Fletcher Street where the track begins.
Located on the Horseshoe Falls track at Hazelbrook, a personal favourite of mine, Oakland Falls is the third of the falls which are along the main track. Both Horseshoe Falls and Oakland Falls offer compositions from behind the water flow, however I think the glen at Oakland is prettier.
Where to find it: Approximately 1 kilometre down on the right side of Oaklands Road in Hazelbrook. The first few waterfalls are a short walk from the entrance. There is some parking available on the edge of Oaklands Road.
Another multi-fall mountains track, the Lawson Waterfall Circuit is an easy walk offering five waterfalls. Depending which side you start, Junction Falls is either the second or fourth fall along the track, and it offers the chance to centre the pretty falls while capturing some interesting foreground in the picture.
Where to find it: The Lawson Waterfall Circuit can be found on Honour Avenue in Lawson. Junction Falls are the second fall if commencing from the Adelina Falls end.
If you can get your timing and positioning right, Terrace Falls in Hazelbrook offers some great opportunities for capturing the Terraces for which the falls are named. I need to get back here to retake my photos after some good rain.
Where to find it: One end of the Fire trail which the track starts from can be accessed from Valley Road in Hazelbrook. There is space for some parking. You can go straight to Terrace Falls by bypassing the first entry to the track and going in through the second which will take you straight down to the bottom of the falls.
Blue Mountains Sunset Photography Spots
Now I’m still working on a dedicated list of these. The big wet we’ve seen this past year hasn’t been conducive to heading out to shoot sunsets! But in the meantime here’s my top favourites I have made it to!
This is one of my favourite spots in the mountains, and a beautiful place to watch the colours change as the sun sinks over the hills in the west.
Where to find it: At the end of Farm Road in Springwood. There is approximately 1 kilometre of dirt road and a carpark at the end. The lookout is about 200 metres from the carpark.
If you don’t mind sharing, as this is one of the most popular sunset spots in the mountains, Lincolns Rock is always worth checking out.
Where to find it: Park in the carpark at the end of Hordern Road in Wentworth Falls. Lincolns Rock is a short walk away, just follow the people
Cahills/Boars Head Lookout
You’ll need some good cloud, which I keep missing, to get the best out of this spot but in the right conditions I’ve seen some spectacular sunset shots taken here.
Where to find it: Cliff Drive in Katoomba. There is some limited parking available and both Boars Head Lookout and Cahills Lookout are a short walk from there. You will pass Boars Head on the way down to Cahills.
Blue Mountains Sunrise Photography Spots
When it comes to sunrise, westerly views are more common in the mountains, so there aren’t as many known vantage points for sunrise as there are sunset. there’s really only one place I’ve actually been that I would recommend.
Easterly facing, Govetts Leap is the best known location for sunrise in the Blue Mountains, but its also a roll of the dice. You need a little cloud to diffuse the light for some good shots, but you don’t want too much cloud or even mist, which this spot can be prone to.
In the event there is no cloud cover you can take advantage of the light and find some alternative compositions off to the side.
Where to find it: Take Govetts Leap Rd off the highway at Blackheath and follow it to the end.
Kings Tableland Aboriginal Place
The oldest Aboriginal site in the Sydney basin at 22,000 years old, the rock platform offers an almost 360 degree view. I’m yet to make it to this spot for sunrise myself, but I can vouch for the fact it has a clear view to the east and I have seen some great shots taken from out here. I can confirm its not good for sunset though!
Check out the signs of Aboriginal occupation while you’re there!
Where to find it: The beginning of the dirt track is at the bottom of Queen Elizabeth Drive in Wentworth Falls. Its a narrow residential street so you may find you are better parking on Tablelands Road and walking from there. Once you reach the information sign continue straight to be taken to the rock platform.
Photographing Flora in the Blue Mountains
If shooting flowers or Macro is more your style, I have some recommendations for you too, including where to find Waratahs in Spring!
Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
There’s something to see at any time of the year you visit the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah. The expansive 252 hectare property has 28 hectares which are open for public access year round (except Christmas Day) and features different garden areas and plants to enjoy. The range of Proteas is particularly extensive.
You’ll even be likely to catch a few birds around here too!
Where to find it: Take advantage of a day trip to the other side of the mountain and explore some of the great food and drink on offer in the region. The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden is free to enter and located on the Bells Line of Road at Mount Tomah.
Lockleys Pylon is one of my absolute favourite walks in the Blue Mountains, and its renowned for its wildflowers. These were decimated by the Black Summer bushfires, as many parts of the mountains were, however have been springing back again!
Lockleys also offers some of the best views in the mountains, and I suspect it is a spot for sunrise, though I haven’t made it out there that early myself to test the theory!
Mount Hay road also has lots of Waratahs on offer in Spring if you keep your eyes out!
Where to find it: On Mount Hay Road at Leura. Travel through the gate and follow the dirt road for about 10 kilometres and you will find the track to Lockleys Pylon on the left. The track follows the ridge and is a 7 kilometre return walk if you go all the way to the Pylon.
Blue Gum Swamp
If you are looking to photograph some Waratahs in Spring you should find a few scattered along this Winmalee track.
Where to find it: The Blue Gum Swamp track starts at the end of Whitecross Rd Winmalee. Follow the fire trail and swing left at the sign for Blue Gum Swamp to search for Waratahs.
Burramoko Fire Trail
This trail is most well known for being the track out to Hanging Rock and Baltzer lookout, but it also has plentiful Waratahs in Spring!
Best Blue Mountains Views to Photograph
The Blue Mountains is filled with opportunities for an epic landscape shot and naturally your favourites are going to depend on what kind of landscape view you are after.
Lockleys Pylon, which I listed for its wildflowers, has some of the best views in the mountains along virtually the whole track. Here are a couple of my other favourites, some of which you can only reach on foot.
Another of my favourite walks in the Blue Mountains, the spectacular Asgard Head lookout offers views of the Grose Valley and Burra Korain Head, and has the added bonus of a really interesting walk out there.
The walk is between 7 and 9 kilometres depending how many of the detours you take along the way! If hidden history interests you make sure you take the track down to check out the old mine.
Where to find it: The Asgard Swamp track starts on Victoria Falls Road in Mount Victoria. The gated entry to the track is approximately 4.5 kilometres along the dirt road. It may not be signposted but it is quite clear. The fire trail ends at the track down to the mine but continue straight for approximately half a kilometre to reach Asgard Head.
Another stunning walk and view not far from the Asgard Swamp track. The walk out to the head is about 3.5 kilometres and involves some up and down and rock scrambling, with amazing countryside all the way until the final masterpiece!
Where to find it: The entry to the Ikara Head track is about 3.5 kilometres down Victoria Falls Road. If you set the GPS for Ikara Head it will take you to the Ikara Head fire trail, and the walking track is about 100 metres before this on the left and starts from one of the side runoffs cut into the side of the road.
Queen Elizabeth Lookout
While it involves less walking than my other recommendations at less than 500 metres (beware though because it is almost entirely stairs), this is another of the great lookouts on offer in Wentworth Falls and offers the opportunity to capture cloud sitting low in the Jamison Valley if you happen to be there at the right time.
Where to find it: Queen Elizabeth Lookout is at the top of the Valley of the Waters track, about 500 metres (down the stairs) from the Conservation Hut.
Eagle Hawk Lookout
If you want to take your photos of the Three Sisters without the crowds, head to Katoomba’s Eagle Hawk Lookout for almost the same view which you’ll most likely have almost to yourself!
Astrophotography in the Blue Mountains
Escaping light pollution is essential for Astophotography, so you want somewhere with nice open skies and no streetlights. For the milky way you’ll want to be shooting in Winter, so be sure to layer up.
Somewhere out on the Tablelands at Wentworth Falls is perfect, although its also creepy as heck if you happen to be flying solo. Lincolns Rock is an ideal spot, but be careful of the edges! There is a cave under the rock somewhere also which at the right time of year offers the opportunity to shoot the Milky Way bordered by the cave walls. I don’t recommend searching for the cave at night.
If you’re interested in some foreground trees to add some interest the picnic area at Wentworth Falls is where I took this shot on the night of a meteor shower.
Mount Hay Powerline Trail
While I haven’t been shooting astro out there, I have been out there for night photography and the Powerline fire trail will bring you to an open space with unobstructed views of the sky and very little light pollution. You will need to walk for 10-15minutes to reach it.
Again this has the creepy points so might not be one to try solo!
Unique Scenery to Photograph in the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains has plenty to offer in the way of unique landscapes and formations to shoot!
If you are interested in unique geological formations a trip out to Jenolan Caves is a must! Even if you don’t go into the caves there is plenty to explore and shoot just strolling around the grounds.
Secure in its title of one of the best walks in the Blue Mountains, the Grand Canyon walk at Blackheath has something to photograph around every corner, whether you want wildlife, vegetation, water or geology.
Take your energy for this one, what goes down must inevitably climb out again!
Where to find it: The Grand Canyon loop starts at Evans Lookout in Blackheath which is at the end of Evans Lookout Road. There are a couple of dedicated carparks which will add 1.5 kilometres to the 6 kilometre walk for the canyon loop.
Wind eroded cave
A popular location for local photographers, including the occasional wedding shoot, the wind eroded cave has been carved away by the wind over time to form an overhang that resembles a wave. I need to go back and update my photos here, it was closed for some time after the Black Summer bushfires.
Where to find it: Take Hat Hill Road off the Great Western Highway and follow it until it becomes Perry’s Lookdown Road where you will eventually fork to the left onto Anvil Rock Road. The wind eroded cave is a short, signposted walk from the Anvil Rock carpark.
My Photography Equipment
I shoot with an Olympus EM5 Mark III and a range of Olympus lenses.
For more detail on my set up check out my photography equipment list.
Where to stay in the Blue Mountains
Heading up for more than a day trip and wondering where to base yourself?
Did I cover your favourite photography spot in the Blue Mountains? Let me know below!