The Blue Mountains are a mountainous region and a mountain range located in New South Wales, Australia. The region borders on Sydney’s metropolitan area, its foothills starting about 50 kilometers (31 mi) west of the center of the state capital, close to Penrith on the outskirts of the Greater Sydney region. The public’s understanding of the extent of the Blue Mountains is varied, as it forms only part of an extensive mountainous area associated with the Great Dividing Range. As defined in 1970, the Blue Mountains region is bounded by the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers in the east, the Coxs River and Lake Burragorang to the west and south, and the Wolgan and Colo rivers to the north. Geologically, it is situated in the central parts of the Sydney Basin.
The Blue Mountains Range comprises a range of mountains, and plateau escarpments extending off the Great Dividing Range about kilometerstres (3.0 mi) northwest of Wolgan Gap in a generally southeasterly direction for about kilometerstres (60 mi), terminating at Emu Plains. For about two-thirds of its length, it is traversed by the Great Western Highway, the Main Western railway line, and the soon-to-be-completed, Blue Mountains tunnel. Several established towns are situated on its heights, including Katoomba, Blackheath, Mount Victoria, and Springwood. The range forms the watershed between Coxs River to the south and the Grose and Wolgan rivers to the north. The range contains the Explorer Range and the Bell Range.
The Blue Mountains area includes the local government area of the City of Blue Mountains. Since the early 2010s, the region’s biodiversity and infrastructure have been severely affected by massive bushfires of unprecedented size and impact. In 2018 8.4 million people visited the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands Basalt Forests are prominent forest communities within the ecoregion.
Top 5 PLACE TO Visit In Blue Mountains
1. Scenic World Blue Mountains
Scenic World offers some of the most popular adventures in Blue Mountains National Park. It’s a great way to experience dramatic topography.
Choose from four different experiences here: Zoom through a cliff-side tunnel into an ancient rainforest on the Scenic Railway, the steepest railway in the world. Soar across the forest canopy on the glass-floored Scenic Skyway, or plunge into the Jamison Valley on the Scenic Cableway.
At your own leisure, you can also stroll along the 2.4-kilometer Scenic Walkway, an elevated boardwalk through the Jurassic rainforest.
No matter what adventure you choose, you’ll start at Scenic World Top Station, perched on a cliff edge over the Jamison Valley. Here, you can buy your tickets, grab a bite to eat, purchase souvenirs at the gift store, and steal a glimpse of the spectacular scenery that awaits you on your descent into the valley.
Address: Corner of Violet Street and Cliff Drive, Katoomba, New South Wales
2. Govetts Leap Lookout
Perched over the steeply plunging Grose Valley, Govetts Leap Lookout offers one of the most magnificent views in the Blue Mountains. It also tends to be less crowded than Echo Point, which looks out over the Three Sisters. The panorama extends across the main ridge, with its sandstone cliffs, to Bridal Veil Falls and the dense eucalyptus forest below.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can descend into the valley from the lookout and enjoy the scenery along some of the region’s more challenging hikes.
Govetts Leap is easily accessible by car. Along the same road, you’ll find the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre, with excellent exhibits and information on the area.
Address: Govetts Leap Road, Blackheath, New South Wales
3. Explore the Blue Mountains Hiking and Heritage Trails
One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of this World Heritage wilderness is exploring some of the park’s 140 kilometers of hiking and heritage trails. Many of the trails date from as early as 1825.
One of the most popular trails is the historic National Pass. Carved into the edge of a cliff, the trail begins at Conservation Hut and enters the Valley of the Waters. Here, you can admire a set of graceful waterfalls before continuing on to the historic Grand Stairway, hand-built using picks and shovels more than a century ago. The walk ends at Wentworth Falls and Jamison Lookout, with awe-inspiring views.
Another popular trail is the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, which skirts the edge of a valley from Katoomba Cascades to Gordon Falls. Jaw-dropping valley views, spring wildflowers, and some of the park’s most iconic features punctuate this popular hike.
Almost a spiritual pilgrimage for Aussie bushwalkers is the challenging blue Gum Forest hike. From Perry’s Look down, this five-kilometer hike offers panoramic views across sweeping eucalyptus forests that were saved by a group of passionate hikers in the 1930s. It’s one of the top hikes in Australia.
4. Hike to Wentworth Falls
Cascading down three tiers of rock ledges, Wentworth Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Blue Mountains. At the lip of the escarpment, Jamison Creek tumbles 297 meters over the upper and lower falls into a huge pool, and gushes down a creek into the Valley of the Waters.
Hikes in the area range from easy jaunts to challenging cliff-ledge trails, and you can view the falls from several lookouts. The falls can also be reached along the National Pass walking trail, but they are seasonal, so it’s best to check on local conditions before venturing out.
In the nearby town of Wentworth Falls, you can stop by the Conservation Hut, an information center, restaurant, and launching point for several popular walking trails.
5. Cruise the Blue Mountains Discovery Trail
Prefer to do your sightseeing from the comfort of a car? Take the Blue Mountains Discovery Trail.
Part of the 1,200-kilometer Greater Blue Mountains Drive, this 36-kilometer driving route starts west of Katoomba and travels to Wentworth Falls, past bush-cloaked mountains and valleys that sing with the scent of eucalyptus.
Along the way, you’ll also see some of the park’s top attractions, including Echo Point and the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, Scenic World, Sublime Point, and beautiful Wentworth Falls Lake. You can also squeeze in some short walks.
See the website below for the driving route, or stop by the Blue Mountains Visitor Information Centre at Echo Point for help with directions.