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A Guide to Sydney's Blue Mountains

If you want to experience the natural beauty of the Australian wilderness, set out on foot to explore the Blue Mountains, a World Heritage area with breathtaking landscapes that will blow your mind.

Two hours west of Sydney you will find a luxury retreat surrounded by dense rainforests that appear to stretch on forever, valleys obscured by mist and mysterious routes that will surprise even the most experienced hikers. Expect to be enchanted by the impressive waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, and the sounds of the native lyrebirds.

The name of the Blue Mountains originated from its distinctive colour, produced by the combination of the vast eucalypt forest and sunlight. This natural blue haze is created when the trees release tiny particles that mix with water vapour and sun rays, providing an incredible sight.

If you are passionate for outdoor adventure travel, gear up for the experience of a lifetime. This area has a wide range of awesome activities to offer, from rappelling and climbing to petting koalas in parks and selected sanctuaries.


How to get there

The easiest way to get there is to take a train or a bus from central Sydney to the mountain village Katoomba, where you can find a vibrant cafe culture and many fine restaurants in the main street. The town also features Australia’s best Art Deco buildings and many galleries where history, arts, and nature merge in a unique way.

After a few minutes drive from Katoomba, you leave the houses behind, and you can start your journey boarding the world’s steepest passenger railway, the Scenic Railway. Discover the thrill of a 52º incline trip in glass-roofed carriages that descend through a tunnel 300 meters down into the valley.

Along the way, explore hidden gems such as the Katoomba coal mine, enjoy the walk to the Cascades or taste pure water straight from Marangaroo Spring.


Three Sisters

A visit to the Blue Mountains would not be complete without viewing the famous Three Sisters rock formation from Echo Point Lookout. You can also get amazing views and see them change their appearance as the sun goes down.

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, AustraliaThe Three Sisters. Source: Anne Dirkse [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], Wikimedia Commons

Jamison Valley

Jamison Valley, New South Wales, AustraliaJamison Valley. Source: Flickr - Andrew Xu, [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)]

A good option to ascend back to the top of the mountains is via the Skyway, taking a trip across the Jamison Valley on the largest aerial cable car built in the Southern Hemisphere. The sensation of being suspended 200 meters high in the air is one you will never forget!


Jenolan Caves

Jenolan Caves. Source: JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24524727)Jenolan Caves. Source: JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Another must-see destination in the Blue Mountains is the Jenolan Caves, one of the world’s oldest and most outstanding cave formations. It has more than 40 kilometres of multi-level passages and over 300 entrances. Scientists believe the age of the clay to be approximately 340 million years old.

Though perhaps the most strenuous to get to, River Cave is said to be the most beautiful. There you will find a magical underworld that includes a “Pool of Reflections” - illuminated, calm pools of blue water, and the “Minaret” - a spectacular stalagmite.

The oldest caves are located at the top and the youngest near the Jenolan river. If you are lucky, you’ll get to see interesting aquatic animals too.

In this wild rich area, you can also immerse yourself in the amazing history of the Darug and Gundungarra tribal groups that lived here over 22.000 years ago. The Blue Mountains hold a strong Aboriginal legacy which can be found depicted in ancient paintings, spectacular sandstone caves and ceremonial sites that inspired the many legends passed down from generation to generation.

For those spiritual travellers who wish to dig deeper into the connections between the people of this land, the Aboriginal stories are well worth exploring.

If you want to learn more about the fascinating history of Sydney and its surroundings, and receive excellent tips on things to do in Australia, don’t hesitate to join a free walking tour in Sydney with the most knowledgeable local guides!