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Impressive mountains shrouded in a mysterious blue haze: the Blue Mountains are just an hour's drive from Sydney. An area with beautiful nature, picturesque villages and enough activities to fill a week.
The Blue Mountains are part of the Greater Blue Mountains Area, an area of 7 national parks that have been designated a World Heritage site. The Blue Mountains derive their name from the blue haze that hangs over these mountains, caused by the large number of eucalyptus trees. Small droplets of eucalyptus oil and dust bond together in the atmosphere to create a blue haze in the sunlight.
A visit to the Blue Mountains offers some great walking opportunities. The 10-kilometre-long ‘Sassafra Gully Walking Track’ begins in Springwood, a pleasant walk along roaring waterfalls, impressive rock formations and babbling brooks. It takes approximately 4-5 hours to walk the complete track, but there is also a 1-hour short route that provides a wonderful impression of the region. Along the way you may spot a great variety of birds, including the lyrebird.
Take the time to pause in the small town of Leura, known for its charming historic homes and lovely English gardens. In October, many of these gardens are open to the general public during the annual Leura Garden Festival. The town’s main street is lined with shops, galleries and restaurants. Enjoy lunch or dinner with a great view of the Blue Mountains.
The Three Sisters have graced many posters and postcards and are the symbol of the Blue Mountains. According to legend, these stones were once 3 sisters of a local tribe who fell in love with 3 brothers from another tribe. As tribal laws forbade the marriage, the 3 men decided to capture the sisters causing a tribal battle. In order to protect the 3 young women, a witch doctor temporarily transformed them into stones. Unfortunately, he was killed by the 3 men and because he was the only one who could undo the spell, the women have been trapped forever as these rocks. From the town of Katoomba it is approximately 2 km to Echo Point; this lookout offers a magical view of the Three Sisters and the deep Jamison Valley.
Located on the west side of the park, the Jenolan Caves are considered the most beautiful caves in Australia. The rippling sound of the underground rivers and the beautiful limestone formations that formed over the centuries create an unforgettable sight. Walk across the man-made walkways or grab a helmet and headlamp to explore off the beaten track and discover the secrets of the cave system. Also exciting, but less dangerous, are the ‘Legends, Mysteries & Ghosts Tours’, where a guide tells you about the unsolved mysteries of the Jenoland Caves. All this, of course, by the spooky light of a torch.