imposing ranges inland from the city may seem a long
way from landmarks like the Opera House or the Harbour
Bridge, but the Blue Mountains are equally enthralling
and even more mysterious. Perpetually veiled in the
eucalyptus-blue haze that gives them their name, they
are a tranquil oasis and a fantastic way to experience
the spectacle of Sydney's surrounds.
The Blue Mountains offer Australia's most
accessible wilderness experience, and if you think this
is just a catchy phrase, consider that some of the range's
most impressive canyons were only discovered 30 years
ago. Whether you come for an underground adventure in
the limestone caves of Jenolan or to take Devonshire
tea in Leura Village, every trip is imbued with a sense
Although not quite like that of the first
European explorers in 1813, or the convicts who made
the road through the ranges shortly afterwards. Think
of them while you walk through rainforest gorges in
the Megalong Valley, ride high above the trees on the
Skyway at the Three Sisters (the triple pinnacles of
rock near Katoomba) and marvel at the way Lithgow's
historic Zigzag Railway switchbacks over the mountains.
Less than an hour from the city, The Blue Mountains
deserves its 2000 listing as a World Heritage Area.
This unique ecosystem was fashioned over millennia (even
local lyrebirds each move more than 60 tonnes of soil
a year) and remains a precious and pristine wonderland
right on Sydney's doorstep.