Blue Mountains National ParkNamed after the blue haze that cloaks the region—which some link to oil droplets from the multitude of eucalyptus trees—the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area is a staggering 2.5-million-acre swath of sandstone canyons, cliffs, and tablelands, just a few hours west of Sydney. The Blue Mountains are a stronghold of natural and cultural values, from Aboriginal rock art caves and relics of early industry to rare plants and animals, including the glossy black cockatoo and the wollemi pine, a descendant of a 200-million-year-old tree family. For a day hike, you can’t beat the National Pass, which takes in deep canyon views and three waterfalls. Adventurers can also rock climb, abseil, mountain bike, or endure the 28-mile Six Foot Track.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is less than two hours by car from Sydney but feels like another world. A sterling day trip, the national park features a majestic range of mountains, deep valleys, and sandstone plateaus cloaked in a soft blue haze, created by oils from the eucalyptus tree canopy. Must-sees include the Three Sisters (a craggy triple rock formation best viewed from Echo Point), the magnificent Katoomba Falls, Govetts Leap Lookout, and the Jenolan Caves (limestone caverns with stalactites).
Canyoning and Rappelling in the Blue Mountains
Mesmerizing View of the Blue Mountains in Australia
Are my eyes playing a trick on me or do the mountains appear blue? Because of the abundant eucalyptus trees growing here, it creates a blue haze over the mountain making it appear blue. Talk about a natural wonder.