Sun illuminates the Three Sisters rock formation in the valley from Cliff View Lookout overlooking the majestic Blue Mountains near Sydney NSW Australia
Named 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.
Canyoning and Rappelling in the Blue Mountains
I spent 10 days in Australia as part of a longer trip around the world and found myself on a three-day camping trip in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, with a new friend I found through Gumtree, an Aussie rideshare site. The last day, we hooked up with the good folks at Blue Mountains Adventure and went on a day-long abseiling (rappelling) and canyoning trip. I had never been canyoning before and did not have a ton of experience rock climbing, but I’m generally the type of person who will try anything once. After a day of climbing up and down a few rock faces and wading through slot canyons, the trip culminated with an abseil down the face of Empress Falls and a backwards flip into the pool below. The whole experience was exhilarating—and not just because the water was freezing. I was so glad to have had such a fun, new experience with good people in a beautiful place.
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.