Travel to the Blue Mountains and you’ve reached one of the more accessible wilderness areas in Australia. Just a short drive from Sydney, this World Heritage listed site is one of the most iconic landscapes of Australia and a “must-see” on your Australia vacation.
One million hectares of native bush less than two hours from Sydney, the Blue Mountains has a diverse mix of landscapes. Even though called a mountain it is actually a dissected sandstone escarpment that is older than the Grand Canyon. In addition it is home to forests, canyons, valleys and rainforests where you will find a large variety of animal and plant life. Though not really blue, they are called the Blue Mountains due to the blue haze emanating from the eucalyptus tree leaves that makes the area appear blue from a distance.
Originally a weekend destination for Sydney-siders to relax in quaint B&B’s and small hotels, it has become an area for the active and adventurous. With 140 kilometers of extensive walking trails, you could spend days just exploring the area. Mountain biking, horseback riding and 4 wheel driving are also popular ways to experience the region. Those with a more adventurous streak can go caving at Jenolan Caves, canyoning or rock-climbing while enjoying the peace and quiet of the dramatic scenery and fresh air.
The Scenic Skyway glides high over the Jamieson Valley or you can climb down the 1000 steps of the Giant Stairway at the Three Sisters, hike the valley floor then take the Scenic Tram back up a steep cliff to the top. This ride is the world’s steepest passenger railway.
The ancient Wollemi Pine is one of a few living fossils still in existence and you can find rare, ancient plants and over one hundred species of eucalypt trees deep in the bush. Native wildlife is in abundance but always be out on the lookout for that kangaroo hopping off in the distance or dramatically, colorful bird in the trees.
Even with all the varied active and adventure experiences available in the area, you still must take the time to explore the small towns in the region. Full of local cafes, teahouses with mouth-watering scones, and small boutique shops and galleries you can easily while away the day enjoying the local ambience. Small intimate hotels, B&B’s and some newer more resort type hotels offer a variety of accommodations for the discerning traveler.
With a relatively new and developing boutique wine area to the west of the main town of Katoomba plus a number of spa facilities opening up in the region, the Blue Mountain area is as popular as ever. Whether it is a quick trip up to enjoy lunch in one of the iconic local cafes, or a few day jaunt to get out and enjoy the pristine scenery, you must include a visit to the Blue Mountains when you travel to Australia.