Australia’s Blue Mountains are a sight to behold
While most people venturing to the Land Down Under on Australia tours may have grand visions of exploring the stunning city of Sydney, other people in the group may be longing for a more natural excursion during their adventure. Fortunately for visitors heading to the Pacific Nation’s most populous city, the burgeoning metropolis sits at the foot of one of New South Wales’ greatest natural attractions – the Blue Mountains.
The Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Site is an expansive natural wonder that encompasses seven national parks and a conservation reserve located only 31 miles (50 kilometers) from the Sydney metropolitan area. The Blue Mountains boast a number of impressive peaks, chief among them being Mount Werong, which stands a remarkable 3,986 feet (1,215 meters) above sea level, making it the tallest point in the range. Though there are a number of mountains and hills peppered throughout the area, one of the range's defining features is the sizable sandstone plateau that extends across the horizon, occasionally interrupted by stunning valleys that make for great photo opportunities.
Boasting some of the region’s most compelling scenery and a wealth of adventure activities, the Blue Mountains are a natural destination for travelers on Australia tours who are looking to see the more natural side of Oz. Visitors can take in the sites by rail aboard the Zig Zag Railway near the city of Lithgow or venture down the steepest railway in the world at the Katoomba Scenic Railway – a popular attraction that gives visitors access to the Scenic Skyway, a glass-bottom cable car that leads visitors over the Jamison Valley.
The Blue Mountains region is one of New South Wales’ most important cultural landmarks, as well. The area is the ancestral home of the Gungungurra people, who believe the Jamison valley was created by an epic battle between opposing Dreamtime creatures. Travelers visiting the area on Australia tours can see examples of the tribe’s influence on the region at sites like the Red Hands Cave, where traditional stencils speak to the longevity of this aboriginal tribe; Wentworth Falls, where the mark of the Gungungurra people can be seen in the numerous grooves used to shape weapons and tools; or the ancient animal tracks of Kings Tableland Aboriginal Site.
While there is a vast array of natural attractions in the area, the Blue Mountains also boast a number of stellar cities that are well worth a visit thanks to their unique shopping opportunities and delectable restaurants.