The Blue Mountains, Australia
The Blue Mountains in Australia is one of the highlights to see when visiting. Located close by to Sydney it is perfect for a day trip, a place to spend the weekend, a pit stop to explore as you travel across New South Wales and a place where you can discover engrossing bushwalks amongst its glorious landscapes.
The Blue Mountains have been inhabited by the Gundungurra and Darug Tribe’s for a millennia or two before the first ships came to Australia. There is still a strong Aboriginal Community in the Blue Mountains as these Tribes continue to thrive as they teach others about their heritage and culture. Today you can still see many examples of Aboriginal life by visiting the Red Hands Cave and many Aboriginal Drawings dotted along the way.
A thing about Sydney it has always been an issue of growth as it has never been able to grow further due to the natural boundaries of the Hawkesbury River in the North, the Pacific Ocean to the East, Woronora Plateau to the South and the Blue Mountains to the West. So when it came to a need of more grassy plains for agriculture another place needed to be found. These mountains had always been viewed in the distance with many attempts to cross to discover what was on the other side.
Explorers in 1813 by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Wentworth where the first to successfully cross the mountains, instead of following the valleys like many past attempts made, they crossed atop of the bluffs creating the route that we now drive along today. Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth (which are now towns along the path they crossed, which is also now the main path we follow) crossed the Great Diving Range creating an important route for Australians as it was an important subject in our school days as we learnt the history of Australia.
What makes the Blue Mountains enchanting is the stunning landscapes. It is called the Blue Mountains due to the eucalyptus oil seeping off the trees creating a blue haze over the mountain ranges. There are so many walks and lookouts along the route to witness the jaw dropping views of what Mother Nature created. Every point you come across will leave you in awe with the horizon covered in these mountain ridges.
The Blue Mountains are located West of Sydney about an hour and a half drive from the city. It is best and easier to travel to and around the Blue Mountains by using a car as it will allow you to explore more of the scenery taking you to places only the locals know. Sydney Trains offers a train service from the city centre up to the Blue Mountains taking around 2 hours as it stops at multiple townships. When travelling around the Blue Mountains it is easy to do so within the towns via foot or hopping on a bus that takes you from point to point. See Blue Mountains Transits for timetables.
Some of the highlights that are a must do in the Blue Mountains are:
Lets start with Katoomba, we all know what it is famous for… The Three Sisters. They are 3 points of a rock formation that stands strong facing the beautiful mountain landscape but they are symbolic as they come from an old Aboriginal story. The story goes that Three Sisters Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedo where part of the Katoomba Tribe and they fell in love with 3 men from the Nepean Tribe, but marriage was forbidden between these two tribes. These men where not happy with this law so they decided to use force to kidnap the women. In order to protect the Three Sister an Elder in their Tribe turned them into stone.
Around the area of the Three Sisters there are many wonderful walks to partake in such as the Giant Stairway next to Echo Point (which is the location to view the Three Sisters). The Giant Stairway will take you on a nice walk down to the base of one of the Three Sisters which is the ideal bushwalk if you are short on time.
There are many walks that will take you from Echo Point into the Valley along to Katoomba Falls to Fuber Steps right through to the base of Scenic World. There are a few options to take so have a look before hand at the Blue Mountains website to view what sort of walk you can achieve and how long you want to walk for.
Scenic World is a great to go place to see the best of the best in Katoomba and the Blue Mountains landscape. Scenic World has four attractions from the Skyway, travelling across Katoomba Falls, Cableway, the Walkway at the bottom of the Valley along the Rainforest floor and the Scenic Railway which is the steepest incline railway in the world which was first built to transport mining products in the Jamison Valley.
Katoomba is a great town to wander around in too with many alleys filled with stunning street art of all sorts. Along with many unique festivals happening all year round with a menagerie of people too. The best festivals to watch out for are The Winter Magic Festival and the Blue Mountains Music Festival.
Leura is a little town just before Katoomba, it is the perfact place to indulge on brunch, cakes and coffees with the vibrant cafe culture. There are rows of hidden gems with fantastic shops selling the quirkiest bits & bobs, vintage treasures, homewares and my childhood favourite being The Candy Shop filled with delightful flavours. It is enjoyable to walk along the old main street in Leura where you can pick up the vibes of an older time, all topped off with lush trees.
In Leura but further afield is a wonderful place to take a bushwalk at Leura Cascades which is a charming place to discover as you get lost into another world. Somewhere I wish to go to one day in Leura is the Everglades Historic House & Gardens, it looks like the perfect place to discover a Art Deco Home, big gardens and apparently delicious cakes so go check it out and let me know how it is.
For more about Leura including the ins and outs head over to my blog about a Weekend in the Blue Mountains.
Blackheath is a small little town along the road but to me it has 2 of the best things about the Blue Mountains. The first being the most stunning mural painted by local Artist Jenny Kee. It is located on the walls of the Victory Theatre Centre which is a treasure chest in itself as it is home to wonderful antiques. The Mural is a stunning collections of Australian Floral & Fauna which is the perfect tribute to life in the Blue Mountains.
Blackheath is full of delicious restaurants and cafes to try but once you turn off the main road you will discover the second best thing in Blackheath which is Govetts Leap. It is one of my favourite lookouts in the Blue Mountains. It shows off the best of Mother Nature with its mountain ridges, the deep valleys with eucalyptus trees as far as the eyes can see and a little waterfall on the side. It is a must see, even just to watch the world go by or take a bushwalk.
The Blue Mountains has so much stunning landscapes to discover but one thing that stands out is the waterfalls dotted across. Wentworth Falls has one of the best waterfalls to discover along with a walk to showcase its beauty. Walking along the Wentworth Falls Loop is the perfect place to take in mother nature.
Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens
On the other side of the Blue Mountains on Bells Line of Road is the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens with so many different places to discover the beauty of nature. Either for a walk, a picnic or just to smell the roses it is a lovely little place to discover. From the Rock Gardens to rows of Flowers to the mixture of Woodlands, it will always be a special place to me as my first memory of visiting was enchanting as I ran through the grass admiring the flowers along with Fairies in the background playing with children.
There is a huge culture of Art Galleries in the Blue Mountains, it makes sense with such breath taking scenery around you how can you not be inspired. From art works in the cafes by local Artists, to Murals dotted all over on many streetscapes and too many galleries to discover. But if you want to see a place that is steeped in history, landscapes, studios and stunning enchanting paintings is the Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum. I really enjoyed rediscovering his artworks from his Muses to the famous Magic Pudding. You can see why his home inspired his work so much.
The Blue Mountains has so much to offer, I feel like I have barely touched the surface, but I have talked about the things that have been important to me growing up enjoying the discovery of the Blue Mountains and now with my adult eyes discovering all the beauty of nature and the hidden gems that the Blue Mountains reveals to each person that steps foot there.
Check out my Vlog about my time in The Blue Mountains…