The first “white fellas” to hike in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, were seeking a route over the ranges to the western plains beyond. Their failures fuelled public opinion that this “formidable barrier” was “impassable to man”. But a passage was found over this rugged, dissected sandstone plateau, in 1811. Rail followed carts, the trains bringing wealthy tourists to take the mountain air and walk. More than a century on, the magnificent mountain range remains top of the pops in bushwalking New South Wales.
Visitors come from around the world to see the famous Three Sisters rock stacks and other sights, including colourful wildflowers.
Blue Mountains National Park, granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2000, is one of Australia’s most popular places to stretch your legs. With hundreds of kilometres of walking tracks it offers a lifetime of walks. Many start in villages strung along the Blue Mountains rail line so access from Sydney is therefore easy. There are, though, many fabulous walks further off the well beaten paths.
You can walk from escarpments to deep valleys. To viewing platforms on precipitous cliffs and through canyons to fairy-grotto waterfalls. Three of my favourites are Ruined Castle; Pulpit Rock; Wentworth Falls-National Pass.