Take a scenic three hour drive west of Sydney and discover the magnificent Blue Mountains, which were first crossed in 1813 by explorers Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson. This World Heritage Listed National Park is recognised internationally for its incredible geographic, botanic and cultural values and boasts a stunning landscape of dense eucalypt forest, grand escarpments, waterfalls and cave systems.
The area is home to 90 different species of eucalyptus trees and the greatest and most diverse concentration of eucalyptus trees in the world. Ever wonder why the Blue Mountains are called blue? The air is filled with several finely dispersed droplets of eucalyptus oil. These oil droplets not only delightfully perfume the air, but combined with dust and water vapour; they scatter rays of brilliant blue light earning this spectacular mountain range its name.
The local indigenous people hold this land and many sites within the national park as culturally sacred including a number of ancient rock art sites depicting stories from the past. You can immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture at the Waradah Aboriginal Centre with dance and didgeridoo performances, authentic artworks and souvenirs from the local Darug and Gundungurra tribes.
One of the most striking landmarks of the Blue Mountains is the amazing rock formation known as the Three Sisters. Each pinnacle stands at 922, 918 and 906 metres tall respectively. The best place to view of the Three Sisters is from Echo Point, a lookout perched on the edge of a 170 metre cliff face. Here you can learn about the Aboriginal dreamtime legend of the Three Sisters.
Travel further along the scenic Cliff Drive through the Blue Mountains and you’ll come to Jenolan Caves, one of the oldest known open cave systems in the world. Known to the local Aboriginal people as ‘Binoomea’ (meaning Dark Places), the Jenolan Cave system stretches over an enormous 40 kilometres of multi-level passages, many still undergoing explorations. There are nine caves open to visitors, all featuring amazing lighting, underground rivers and limestone formations.
Travelling through the Blue Mountains you’ll come across a number of quaint villages and towns such as the picturesque village of Leura. You’ll notice many of the region’s villages and landmarks are named after the European explorers Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson who first crossed the rugged mountain terrain in 1813.