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Blue Mountains

Getting there & away

Traveling by your own vehicle is the best way to enjoy the Blue Mountains. There are no gas stations; fill up on gas in Papine at the east edge of Kingston or in Buff Bay on the north coast.

From Kingston, follow Hope Rd uphill to Papine, from where Gordon Town Rd (B1) leads into the mountains. At The Cooperage, the B1 (Mammee River Rd) forks left steeply uphill for Strawberry Hill resort (near Irish Town) and Newcastle. Gordon Town Rd continues straight from The Cooperage and winds east up the Hope River Valley to Gordon Town, then steeply to Mavis Bank and Hagley Gap, the gateway to Blue Mountain Peak.

Minibuses and route taxis arrive from and depart to the mountains from the Park View Supermarket on the square in Papine at Kingston’s eastern fringe. The frequency of service changes from day to day depending on demand. For the two main routes, you can generally expect at least one morning run and one in the afternoon, but exact departure times are impossible to predict.

Destinations include Mavis Bank (one way US$3, 15km, 1½ hours) and Newcastle (US$3, 23km, 1¼ hours).

From the north coast, the B1 heads into the mountains from Buff Bay. During the rainy season, the road often closes following landslides, but it’s always good to check its status before departing. When the road is open, there is no regular bus service from Buff Bay up the B1, and route-taxi service is infrequent at best.

The roads hug the mountainside in endless switchbacks and are narrow and often overgrown with foliage. Many corners are blind. Do as the locals do and honk your horn frequently.