The NSW Blue Mountains are a must-see for visitors to Australia, and like some other attractions that we have in Australia, are perhaps taken a little for granted by us.

The beauty and diversity of this region, a designated World Heritage listed area, is almost unmatched.

You can do a lot here in a day, it’s even better to spend a weekend, and there is certainly enough to see and do that a week in the Blue Mountains wouldn’t be too long.

But, alas, we had just the one day to make the trip through from Sydney to Lithgow, taking the chance to put the recently-released 2018 Toyota Camry through its paces.

And while the Blue Mountains are a natural wonderland, it is also a fantastic region to really test a car.

m4 motorway west bound

The Blue Mountains can be seen in the distance when traveling west on the M4.

Leaving from suburban Sydney, getting to the Blue Mountains is certainly not a difficult proposition.

From our starting point in the Southern suburbs we steered the Camry onto the M5 motorway, then the M7, before heading west on the M4.

Take note, at the time of writing there were long stretches of road work along this vital artery with crews toiling away adding in a fourth lane between the M7 and the Northern Road.

It isn’t long, even with the slower road work speed limits, to see the mountains in the distance and before you know it you’ve left Penrith and the Nepean River in your mirrors.

Climbing up into the mountains is a mostly gradual proposition and this is thanks to the improvements made to the Great Western Hwy through the Blue Mountains over the past two decades.

These works, which have been undertaken with care and attention, now mean you have two lanes of traffic through from Lapstone Hill in the east, to Katoomba in the west.

You wind your way up and around passing through (or near) more major centres like Springwood and Lawson as the air invariably gets cooler and the landscape more dramatic.

The aforementioned Lawson is a good place to make a pit stop – there are good facilities and easy parking here, along with a number of shops and an old-fashioned hotel.

Another good rest stop can be had at Wentworth Falls, a destination little more than 10 minutes further west.

great western highway leura nsw