The Blue Mountains – named as such because of the blue haze created by the eucalyptus oil in the air above the mountain gum forests – formed over several million years ago and has remained largely untamed. The Blue Mountains are 104km (65 miles) west of Sydney with access by private vehicle, train or coach tour.
Go abseiling over roaring waterfalls, wade along babbling brooks, walk through canyons that remain unchanged since the Jurassic era, paddle and airbed silently beneath glow worm covered overhangs, stroll under groves of huge tree ferns and swim through crystal clear pools. These are experiences that last a lifetime.
This is The Blue Mountains. From the lookouts perched on the edges of Blue Mountains National Park, blue ridges fade into the distance broken by weathered cliffs and waterfalls that plunge down into wide forested areas or narrow ravines. Four very distinct seasons bring an array of changing colors set against blue skies, crisp mountain air and mountain mists rising from the valley. Ancient rock formations such as the Three Sisters, The Ruined Castle and Pulpit Rock await inspection with the Jenolan Caves, a spectacular conservation reserve abounding in wildlife and rugged limestone scenery. The nine showcase caves are recognized as some of the best naturally decorated caves in the world and are just 76km from Katoomba.
Ride the Scenic Railway, the steepest incline railway in the world, or enjoy the breathtaking views from The Skyway, a gondolier style cable car, both in Katoomba. The majesty and adventure of the Blue Mountains has been captured on film, on show at The Edge – Blue Mountains Maxvision Cinema.
Bushwalking is popular all year round with visitors enjoying the unique flora and fauna, specialized areas such as the ‘hanging swamps’ around the headwaters of the creeks and the dropping ledges of the cliff faces housing plants unique to the area. Bird watchers will be amazed at Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos, king parrots, crimson rosellas and gang gangs that are easily attracted to the now famous mountain gardens that are open for viewing at various times throughout the year. Adventure activities are also offered by a number of well trained adventure operators.
Known for its rich Aboriginal and European heritage, the Blue Mountains is also known as the ‘City of the Arts’. Winter brings the Yulefest celebrations in June, July and August with Christmas cheer, open log fires and wonderful food. Antique shops, art galleries, Victorian and Edwardian style buildings, the decadence of Devonshire teas with lashings of whipped cream, all help to create that special atmosphere of history and nostalgia for times gone by.
Accommodation is available in a wide range of properties from mountain resorts to cozy bed and breakfasts and a range of motels, backpacker lodges and self-contained cottages and cabins. The Blue Mountains Holiday Book is produced annually and provides information on accommodation, touring and activities.
Blue Mountains National Park is part of the Great Dividing Range. The Blue Mountains tower above the coastal plains to form a rugged barrier between Sydney and the west.
The Blue Mountains National Park conserves some of the most spectacular scenery of this region, including vast wilderness areas and an endless diversity of habitats and micro-climates. The area has recently joined other international icons on the World Heritage List and became Australia’s 14th listed site. It includes seven outstanding national parks – the Blue Mountains, Wollemi, Yengo, Nattai, Kanangra-Boyd, Gardens of Stone and Thirlmere Lakes National Parks – along with the Jenolan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve.
60 kilometres west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains National Park is famous for the Three Sisters lookout where views can be seen of sandstone ridges, forested valleys and waterfalls.
The Heritage Centre is open daily for information on the tracks, facilities and points of interest in the park and has a heritage display.
Accessible by road and rail, activities in the park include bushwalking, camping, wilderness adventure and sightseeing.110 Km/68.75 Miles from Sydney Bushwalking.
Nowhere in the world will you find bushland like Australia’s. Towering blue and red river gums, olive green foliage and unique plant life. Native shrubs of every colour, hiding abundant animal life. Kangaroos, goannas, wombats, pre-historic lizards, like the gecko, blue-tongue, frill-neck and thorny devil.
The country offers scenery and bushwalking possibilities for every type of nature-lover, from easy one hour rambles through pretty scenic bushland to eight day hikes across remote areas of stunning and unique beauty.
Every weekend, thousands of Australians head off for the tranquility of national parks and reserves.