Introducing Blue Mountains
A region with more than its fair share of natural beauty, the Blue Mountains was an obvious choice for Unesco World Heritage status. The slate-coloured haze that gives the mountains their name comes from a fine mist of oil exuded by the huge eucalypts that form a dense canopy across the landscape of deep, often inaccessible valleys and chiselled sandstone outcrops.
The foothills begin 65km inland from Sydney, rising to an 1100m-high sandstone plateau riddled with valleys eroded into the stone over thousands of years. There are eight connected conservation areas in the region, including the Blue Mountains National Park, which has some truly fantastic scenery, excellent bushwalks (hikes), Aboriginal engravings and all the canyons and cliffs you could ask for. Wollemi National Park, north of the Bells Line of Rd, is NSW’s largest forested wilderness area, stretching all the way to the Hunter Valley.
Although it’s possible to visit on a day trip from Sydney, we strongly recommend that you stay at least one night so that you can explore a few of the towns, do at least one bushwalk and eat at some of the excellent restaurants. The hills can be surprisingly cool throughout the year, so bring warm clothes.