Impressive mountains, enveloped in a mysterious blue haze. Just an hour’s drive from Sydney are the Blue Mountains - a place of wonderful nature, chocolate box villages and enough activities to easily fill a week.
The Blue Mountains make up a part of the Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Site that consists of seven national parks. The area gets its name from the blue mist that hangs around the mountains. This tint is caused by the eucalyptus trees that are present in huge numbers, the resin of which is also known as blue gum. Under certain climatic conditions the resin is released into the atmosphere and the sun’s rays are refracted through these resin particles to create a blue light.
From Sydney the area is easy to reach by car. The following route leads past a number of well-known highlights of the park.
No trip to the Blue Mountains is complete without a good walk through the woods. Springwood is the start of the 10-kilometre Sassafra Gully Walking Track. The walk passes sparkling waterfalls, imposing rock formations and babbling streams. It takes around four or five hours to complete the trail, but there is also a shorter route that can give you a good impression of the area in just an hour.
A nice place for a break is the small town of Leura. The place is known for its picturesque historical houses and marvellous English gardens. Many of these gardens are open to the public each October during the Leura Garden Festival. In the main street are dozens of shops, galleries and restaurants. A lunch or dinner here is accompanied by wonderful views of the Blue Mountains.
More information on: http://www.bluemts.com.au/info/towns/leura
These three ladies have adorned countless posters and postcards and remain the symbol of the Blue Mountains. From Katoomba it is about two kilometres to Echo Point. This observation point offers a magical view of the Three Sisters and over the deep Jamison Valley. According to local legend the stones were once three sisters. They were temporarily transformed into rocks by a wizard to stop them falling into the hands of three not so intelligent brothers. The wizard ended being murdered by these three guys and the young women have been stuck ever since trapped as rocks.
More information on: http://www.katoomba-nsw.com
On the westerly side of the park are the Jenolan Caves, regarded as the most beautiful in all Australia. The noise of gushing underground rivers and the amazing limestone formations that formed here over the centuries combine to create an unforgettable experience. As well as wandering over the walk bridges that have been installed it is also possible to head off track a little, equipped with helmet and headlight, and discover the secrets of the cave system. A less risky but still exciting alternative is the Legends, Mysteries & Ghosts tours that are given each evening. A guide tells stories of unsolved mysteries that occurred in the Jenoland Caves, illuminated only by the eerie light of a burning torch.
More information on: http://www.jenolancaves.org.au/
The Blue Mountains offer marvellous overnight opportunities, from luxury resorts to authentic wooden cabins in the middle of the forest. More information about these possibilities can be found on the Blue Mountains website.