Domestic goddess and backyard explorer with a passion for freelance writing!
Published May 2nd 2014
Stunning Australian outdoors
Inevitably one of the most famous and a big favourite of tourists who visit Sydney, the Blue Mountains is a mountainous region bordering the Sydney metropolitan region from about fifty kilometres west. The Blue Mountains forms part of the Great Dividing Range and is bound by the Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers on the east, the Coxs river and Lake Burargorang to the west and south, and the Wolgan and Colo rivers to the north.
The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Site encompasses seven national parks and a conservation reserve which incorporates a vast area of the Blue Mountains.
With a rich Aboriginal heritage of the Gundungurra peoples for many millennia, and the Darug peoples in the lower Blue mountains area, evidence of their inhabitance can be found in the form of hand stencils at Red Hands cave near Glenbrook, carved images of animal tracks and an occupation cave at Kings Tableland Aboriginal site.
Arthur Phillip first spotted the Blue mountains from a ridge from what is now Castle Hill and the Aboriginal peoples knew two routes to cross the mountains, which was followed most likely by a convict John Wilson who subsequently crossed the mountains, first among the Europeans.
The Blue Mountains gets its blue hue from sunlight mixing with drops of eucalypt oils blanketing the valleys and tablelands which can be seen from miles away adding to the majestic views. Only two hours drive from Sydney,one passes through the picturesque towns of Blackheath, Katoomba, Leura, Mount Victoria and Lithgow amongst others.
Wentworth Falls is a must do stopover, where you can take a walk all the way down the track to the base of the falls and have a splash below. Allow yourself an hour or two for that if you can. The drive through the mountains is winding and misty so be careful when driving.
Another must do further up from the Blue Mountains is Jenolan Caves, a magical collection of limestone caves where a guide takes you through various tours including a night time ghost tour, best if you are staying over in the mountains as it is quite late. Again, make sure you check tour timings so you can plan your visit.
The highlights of the Blue Mountains itself includes the Three Sisters Point, one of several lookouts where you can take amazing photos, learn about the dream time stories of the Aboriginal people and take a walk along the bridge into a cave on one of the "sisters" or large rocks standing in the water along a cliff face.
There is also Australia's steepest railway, cable car ride across the valley, and numerous bush walking trails you can get into. Nearby are also Mt. Tomah or Blue Mountains botanical gardens, Mt. Wilson and other picturesque towns. There is plenty of accommodation, nice restaurants and relaxing things to so, so whether you come to the mountains for a day trip or weekend away, you will love it.