Expect to be fascinated by the stunning landscapes of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area with a blue backdrop of eucalyptus trees that seem to go on forever. Begin discovering some of the 140 kilometres (87 miles) of walking paths on foot, enjoy the natural bushland, wonder at the spectacular rock formations and explore hidden caves on an outdoor holiday. Listen to Dreaming tales shared by local Indigenous guides and enjoy the resident artists’ work before retiring to a comfortable retreat surrounded by wildlife.
The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is about a 2-hour drive from Sydney city west. It is better reached by car and explored, but you can also get there by train and on a bus ride. Sydney Airport is around an hour and 40 minutes east of Katoomba ‘s key Blue Mountains area. There you can find busses to some of the leading attractions, including the Scenic World cable car. Additionally, bus companies, including AAT Kings and Gray Line, provide rides in the city centre from hotels.
The Blue Mountains derive their name from the abundant blue haze in this World Heritage region produced by extensive eucalyptus forests. To create a distinctive colour, small droplets of oil released from the trees mix with water vapour and sunlight.
See Echo Point Lookout ‘s Three Sisters rock formation at Katoomba; it’s also the gateway to other walking trails. One of the most visited sites in the Blue Mountains is The Three Sisters. They watch over the Darug, Gundungurra, Wiradjuri and Dharwal Aboriginal people’s traditional country land. The pillars were once, according to one Indigenous story, three lovely women called Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo who had been turned into stone by an influential aboriginal chief.
This spectacular rock formation is best seen from Echo Point Lookout. Still, you can also get up close via Honeymoon Bridge on a walking path to the top of the Three Sisters. To learn more about how the Three Sisters were created, be sure to pay a visit to the Waradah Aboriginal Center in Echo Point. Come onboard the world’s steepest passenger train and descend with Beautiful World Blue Mountains to an ancient rainforest. Or get a panoramic view from a glass-floored cable car suspended over a steep gorge over the mountains.
While many Blue Mountains walks can be completed individually, it is better to follow a guided tour. This is especially true if you are not familiar with the area and the weather conditions. Tours run from Sydney and Katoomba to Jenolan Caves, every day. Scientists believe that there are at least 340 million years of calcareous formation there.
Life’s an Adventure, as well as a two-day Wolgan Valley and Glow Worm Cave Walk, provides a fantastic Six Foot Track ride. You will also explore the rich Indigenous heritage of the Blue Mountains on a walking tour with local Blue Mountains Walkabout Darug guide. Spend a day on the hop-on-hop-off Blue Mountains Explorer Bus or with Blue Mountains Trolley Tours, if your feet need a break. Both businesses frequent 29 stops around Leura and Katoomba, including the main attractions. Aboriginal Blue Mountains Walkabout tour begins at train station Faulconbridge.
Marvel at the cliff top lookouts in this mountain area. Explore waterfalls, valleys and rocky tablelands of sandstone, and read about ancient Indigenous history in the area. Soak up the Blue Mountains lakes, waterfalls, forested valleys and cliffs along the numerous well-marked walking trails.
Follow the original 1884 horse trail from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves on the 3-day Six Foot Route. Alternatively, take the 1.8-kilometre (1.1-mile) simple Princes Rock Walk to a view over Wentworth Falls, Kings Tableland and Mount Solitary. You could then wade and boulder-hop down the Glenbrook Gorge, on the three-kilometre (1.9-mile) Glenbrook Gorge Trail. Then, on the problematic National Path, climb up the sheer cliffs surrounding Wentworth Falls. Deep inside the Jenolan Caves, you can find the crystals of calcareous stone and the underwater rivers.
Some fun experiences are on offer in the mountains, from climbing rock and abseiling with companies like the Blue Mountains Adventure Company to guided hikes with Tread Lightly Eco Tours and Indigenous Blue Mountains Walkabout. You can also go on a fun 3-day trek of Life’s an Adventure.
If you plan on spending more than a day enjoying the Blue Mountains, several lodging options are open. Shopping for arts and crafts at galleries is a common pastime in pretty mountain villages like Leura. There are outstanding restaurants in the area, such as Darley ‘s Restaurant at Lilianfels and Blue Mountains Botanic Garden’s Tomah Gardens Restaurant.
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