The Blue Mountains is a mountain region located in New South Wales, Australia, that borders on Sydney’s metropolitan area and forms part of an extensive mountainous area associated with the Great Dividing Range. Geologically, it is situated in the central part of the Sydney Basin. The blue in the name comes from the sun meeting the oil from the eucalyptus leaves, bestowing a near-permanent blue sheen. The mountains part is not really accurate, the area is actually a high plateau cut through by rivers and creeks.
In 1813, Gregory Blaxland, William Charles Wentworth and William Lawson became the first European settlers to successfully navigate a path across the Blue Mountains. These majestic barriers were once considered impassable, but their traversing opened up the interior of Australia to settlers. The Blue Mountains are rich in coal and shale, and mining for these resources began in Hartley Vale in 1865. The range also connected the settlers to arable land in the country’s interior and to indigenous groups who traded with the Europeans.
The Blue Mountains have evolved from a serene and difficult to navigate mountain trail more than 200 years ago, to a bustling home of artsy cafes and fanciful bed and breakfasts filled with energetic hikers, nature lovers and holiday travelers. In fact, the Blue Mountains have become Sydney resident’s favourite escape.
The Blue Mountains: What You Need to See
The Blue Mountains offer sites and attractions for visitors that include:
- Echo Point: The starting place for the adventure, is Echo Point in Katoomba, where a picture perfect view of the Jamison Valley unfurls. Nearby, the Giant Stairway descends into the valley via hundreds of steps. At the bottom, a walking trail heads through the eucalyptus forest, accompanied by riotous birdsong. Katoomba is also home to many bed and breakfasts.
- The Three Sisters: This is the Blue Mountains most spectacular rock formation visited by millions of visitors around the world. This iconic landmark represents Three Sisters, who according to Aboriginal legend were turned to stone. Bathed in different colours throughout the day, this landmark is one of the most prized photo opportunities for visitors.
- Leura: There are 26 towns in the Blue Mountains, with Leura being the most visited and certainly one of the most beautiful. Leura is a quaint town with tremendous visual appeal that captures the true essence and of fresh countryside living. The town and its surrounding provides beautiful scenery and many historic landmarks. There are also hotels and inns. Also for shoppers, there is the Leura Mall.
- The Lower Blue Mountains – The lower Blue Mountains are generally skipped in favour of the more spectacular views higher up (you should view these as well). But the section of the Blue Mountains National Park near Glenbrook has some beautiful walks to lookouts over the Nepean River and some gorgeous swimming holes. It’s also the best place to see kangaroos.
- Waradah Aboriginal Centre: Get a more personal look at the native people of the Blue Mountains. This exciting destination features a colourful culture, and a completely new and unique experience that is unique to Australia.
- The Jenolan Caves – The Jenolan Caves (jenolancaves.org.au) are thought to be the oldest cave system in the world, and are packed with impressive shawl-like formations, stalagmites, stalactites and sparkling crystals.
The Best Way to See the Blue Mountains
The best way to see all of the Blue Mountains highlights is by contacting Blue Mountains Tours by Dingo Travel. They offer great options to tour the Blue Mountains depending on how you want to spend your day. They will guide you on the exciting journey to conquer the terrain of the Blue Mountains on a bush walk; cross the dense forests, rest in the caves, see the beauty of waterfalls and unveil new experiences.
Their tours include:
- One Day Discovery Tour – Discover the most famous and beautiful landmarks in the spectacular surroundings of the Blue Mountains.
- One Day Aboriginal Cultural Tour – Discover the heritage of this ancient culture whilst surrounded by the splendour of the Blue Mountains.
- One Day Jenolan Caves Tour – Explore the impressive limestone caves that form one of the world’s oldest cave systems found in the Blue Mountains.
Whichever tour you choose, you will have memories that last you a lifetime.
The Blue Mountains National Park is listed as a World Heritage site. The Blue Mountains are just a short drive from Sydney and have rightly become one of Australia’s must see places.