The Eclectic Wildlife of the Blue Mountains

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Koala FeatherdaleThe Blue Mountains offer the perfect countryside escape from the bustling city life of Sydney.

Bathed in a mountainous glow and boasting a jaw-dropping landscape of velvet peaks and fairytale valleys, the region is home to some of Australia’s most loved animals.

The Animals of the Blue Mountains

There are a huge number of furry critters that roam the scenery of the Blue Mountains, many of which are nocturnal.
That being said, there is still plenty of opportunity to see some of Australia’s most iconic creatures in this region, including the kangaroo, wallaby, and koalas, who kick back and relax in the eucalyptus trees and red gums.

Elsewhere, you might be lucky enough to see spotted-tail quolls which, though nocturnal, are the largest predators that call the mountains home. There are also possums, bandicoots, flying foxes, and bats which all come out at night to feed and explore the mountainous landscape. bm wildlife1

Reptiles of the Blue Mountains

As well as furry critters, the Blue Mountains are also home to an eclectic selection of reptiles, from snakes to lizards and everything in between.
Keep your eyes peeled for long-necked turtles and blue-tongued lizards, as well as colourful varieties of gecko, skink, bearded dragon, and eastern water dragon. In water-based regions, you might also be able to see (or hear) some of the many different types of frog that call the mountains home.

Be careful when approaching reptiles in the Blue Mountains as, although most are safe, there are a few species with a venomous bite.

Birds of the Blue Mountains

The hazy mountain backdrop and its swathe of lush greenery make the Blue Mountains the perfect habitat for hundreds of species of bird. Here, you can listen out for the noisy rainbow lorikeet, whose trill bleats throughout the scenery, and whip birds that are distinct thanks to their whip-crack call.

Kookaburra1There are also plenty of native kookaburras to spot, which again boast a unique call that sounds almost like a laugh or cackle, and other species, like rosellas, currawongs, and three creepers.
The Blue Mountains really are a bird spotter’s paradise, particularly in the wooded areas that flank the mountains.  

Animal lovers will enjoy the incredible diversity in the region. Thanks to the many different kinds of landscapes that characterise the Blue Mountains, there is plenty of wildlife to keep an eye out for, from furry native critters to colourful birds and eye-catching reptile species.

Top Walks from Evans Lookout

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evans lookout michaelThe Blue Mountains promise visitors a stunning landscape filled with velvet peaks and incredible views – and there are plenty of places to enjoy these views from, including Evans Lookout.

The lookout provides an excellent way to introduce yourself to the beauty of the Blue Mountains National Park as you gaze out over the dip of Grose Valley. Here, you can marvel at the sprawling expanse of sandstone cliff walls that glow a variety of vibrant colours (particularly around sunset). You can find Evans Lookout near Blackheath, which is easily reachable via a day trip from the hustle and bustle of Sydney, but it also provides the perfect start to numerous hiking trails in the region.

If you’re looking to learn more about the area, its wildlife, and its rich history, drop into the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre for fascinating exhibits and interactive displays. You can also enjoy the views above Govetts Leap waterfall from the centre.govetts lookout michael

Walks from Evans Lookout

Perhaps the most popular thing to do around Evans Lookout is to take a walk through the stunning surroundings. There are plenty of routes that take you through ancient forests, across sandstone scenes, and out onto amazing viewing points.

1.    Evans Lookout to Govetts Leap
This moderately challenging cliff top walking track takes you from Evans Lookout to the popular Govetts Lookout to give you a different vantage point across the region.

braeside walk michael2.    Braeside Walk
This walk takes you along the Cliff Top Track to Govetts Leap before it drops down into the picturesque Govetts Leap Brook and tracks it upstream to an old steam train water supply dam and a pretty little waterfall. This walk is ideal in spring, when the wild flowers are just beginning to bloom and the birds start singing their summer tunes.

3.    Evans Lookout to Junction Rock to Blue Gum Forest
This slightly longer walk takes you from Evans Lookout to Blue Gum Forest via Junction Rock. On this route you’ll see an eclectic mixture of scenery that perfectly introduces you to the diversity of the region.

4.    Grand Canyon Track
For something a little more adventurous, allow half a day to explore the Grand Canyon track and go canyoning with all the gear. You’ll get to know the area from a completely unique perspective, and you’ll get the adrenalin pumping while you’re at it.

Things to See and Do at Wentworth Falls

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wentworth MickSet in the heart of the stunning Blue Mountains, Wentworth Falls is one of the most picturesque towns in the region. From its charming confines, there are numerous bushwalks that take you through the surrounding landscape, taking it spectacular natural wonders and fascinating landmarks.

The town itself dates back to 1814, when it was originally called Weatherboard after the Weatherboard Hut. Just one year later it was renamed Jamison’s Valley and, in 1867, the very first historic railway journey through the Blue Mountains departed from Penrith station. The name wasn’t changed to Wentworth Falls until 1879, when it was named after William Charles Wentworth, one of the three famous explorers in the area.

Things to See and Do in Wentworth Falls

Wentworth Falls Village

The quaint village spreads out along Station Street, encompassing numerous local coffee shops and little boutique stores. It’s the perfect place to soak up the local community atmosphere, and it leads directly into Sinclair Crescent which, in turn, takes you through a beautiful corridor of trees to the incredible Wentworth Falls Lake.

Wentworth Falls Lake wentworth lake Mick

Wentworth Falls Lake is the main attraction outside of the village. Here, you can kick back and relax with a picnic or a barbecue and go swimming in the refreshing waters of the lake itself. There’s also a children’s playground on site for the younger members of the family, and you can watch the wild ducks that live in the area.  

wentworth golf mickWentworth Falls Golf Club

For the golf enthusiasts in the area, there is an 18-hole golf course that belongs to Wentworth Falls Country Club. There, you can have a peaceful round of golf amongst the fresh, clean air of the falls and the picturesque surroundings of the region.

 

Enjoy the Views

Because of its stunning landscape, Wentworth Falls and its surrounding regions offer incredible views over lush greenery. There are numerous natural lookout points if you’re exploring the area, including Breakfast Point Lookout, Princes Rock Lookout, Wentworth Falls Lookout, and Rocket Point Lookout. There is a bushwalking track through the Valley of the Waters, too, which leads to a selection of waterfalls with great vantage points – Empress Falls, Sylvia Falls, and Lodore Falls are some of the best.

If you plan on spending some time exploring the Blue Mountains, make sure you head to Wentworth Falls where you can discover a bit of everything, from local life, village culture, and incredible natural landmarks and attractions.

The Surreal Charm of the Blue Lake

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blue lake The Blue Mountains sprawl out in a magical display of velvet peaks and dipping valleys, just like something out of a fairytale. And, in the heart of it all, tucked away from prying eyes, is the Jenolan area. This part of the country oozes a more primitive vibe with a deep, dark history that’s still imbued in the ancient trees and rugged hiking trails. The most famous part of the Jenolan area are its caves, which have been around for more than 340 million years.


As you can imagine with a history this extensive, there are plenty of stories to go along with the caves and their surroundings. In fact, the local indigenous Gundungarra tribes refer to the area as “Binoomea”, which translates as “Dark Places”, because they used to travel to the caves and the lakes that surrounded them to bathe their sick, as the waters in this area are thought to have curative properties.


The Blue Lake is one of these majestic watering holes. It sprawls out egg-shell smooth like a billabong beneath the Grand Arch. It was actually created by man in 1908 as an aid for electricity, and it is fed now by the gushing waters of the River Styx and the Jenolan River.


blue lake platypusAround its perimeter, there are palm trees that make it look like a special kind of paradise, and the surreal blue water just adds to that charm.


The colour of the lake is one of its biggest draws (and where it gets its descriptive name from) and is created by the refraction of light on the limestone deposits and bedrock.


If that was magical enough all by itself, you might even get the chance to spot the elusive local resident – the platypus. These water-based creatures are some of Australia’s rarest native species, but they thrive in the surroundings of the Blue Mountains and the Blue Lake.


blue lakeWalking to the Blue Lake
To make the most of the stunning scenery in this area, you can take a walk from Jenolan to the Blue Lake. Covering around 2.6km of track, the walk takes between one to two hours and is suitable for all levels of walker. Along the way, you’ll get to explore gentle hills, historic steps, and incredible views out across the magical Jenolan region.


If you’re looking to delve into the surreal charm of the Blue Mountains, the Blue Lake is a great place to start. Not only is it a beautiful location, but the many stories that are imbued in the earth provide a fascinating way to get to know the area.

River Cruise from Homebush Bay to Circular Quay

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Finish your trip to the Blue Mountains in style with a river cruise that takes you from Homebush Bay to Circular Quay in Sydney. While you glide along the sparkling waters, you can marvel at the natural beauty of the region from a different perspective, and learn more about the history and unique stories of the region via a live commentary.


As you go, look out for picturesque waterside suburbs and iconic Sydney attractions, like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.


Why Take a River Cruise
The traffic during rush hour in Sydney’s centre is busy and filled with commuters looking to get quickly from one place to the next – not a relaxing way to explore some of the city’s best offerings.


River CruiseInstead, you can hop aboard a cruise and take a peaceful trip from the Blue Mountains back into the heart of Sydney. It means you get to avoid the crowds and finish your Blue Mountains adventure in style.


The cruise takes you directly from Homebush Bay in the Blue Mountains to Circular Quay in Sydney’s lively harbour, giving you the chance to disembark in the heart of what’s happening. But that’s not all. You get to experience some of the city’s best-loved attractions as you go, soaking up unique architecture and historical offerings as you travel from bay to harbour.


River cruise Parramatta RivercatThis is definitely the best way to avoid the busy city traffic and venture back from the Blue Mountains. The Parramatta River is flanked by incredible sights, from plush suburban plots to forests and rugged coastline. Keep your eyes peeled for the town of Parramatta itself, which is a hub of culture with plenty of restaurants, art galleries, and theatres to keep its residents and visitors busy.


Don’t forget to pack your camera, either. Along the route, there’ll be plenty of opportunity for you to grab some snapshots of the river and its surrounds, as well as pick up a snack and a refreshing drink from the licensed bar on-board. And, to top it off, you can recline on the fully retractable roof for incredible views of the sights and surroundings.

Riding The Scenic Railway in the Blue Mountains

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The Blue Mountains unfold in a show of velvet greenery and stunning scenery. In the heart of it all, you’ll find Scenic World, a popular attraction that gives you the chance to see the landscape from a different perspective.


The Scenic Railway is one of the key attractions at Scenic World. Weaving its way through the lush undergrowth above the Jamison Valley, it chugs up a 52-degree incline, making it the steepest passenger railway in the world.


scenicrailwayBack in 2013, the attraction underwent a huge, award-winning renovation, which sees it now offering glass-roofed carriages for even better views over the surrounding scenery. Look out in every direction and spot the colourful bird species, ancient plant life, and fascinating wildlife that calls the area home as you learn more about the age-old history of this part of Australia.


The carriages of the Scenic Railway are custom-designed, too, so that each and every passenger can choose their own adventure. You can adjust your seating position up to 20-degrees, giving you the choice between a daring “cliffhanger” ride at a 64-degree incline, or a more relaxed journey with the laidback option.


Once you’re on board, the train descends 310 metres down a Cliffside tunnel which opens out into the ancient rainforest of the Jamison Valley. Carrying up to 84 passengers and leaving every 10 minutes, the Scenic Railway is the perfect way to explore the 2.4 kilometres of Jurassic rainforest in the Blue Mountains.


Scenic RailwayThe History of the Scenic Railway
The Railway was opened back in 1945 and, since then, has wowed more than 25 million passengers who have ridden its tracks in their own adventure. Today, the carriages are the fifth-generation design.


Lovingly known as the Scenic Railway, the attraction takes its name from the term used in the 19th century to refer to amusement rides at seaside funfairs in England. These rides were made up of simple carriages that tracked along rails, passing a series of exotic backdrops that took them to the Swiss Alps and the Egyptian pyramids in one journey.


The Scenic Railway, forming part of the much-loved Scenic World, provides visitors with a unique way to explore the stunning scenery of the Blue Mountains and beyond. With the ability to make your own adventure thanks to the adjustable seats, and the chance to discover the incredible scenery of the Jamison Valley from above, this really is an attraction you can’t miss when in this part of Australia.

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Aboriginal History in the Blue Mountains

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Indigenous history IJust outside of Sydney, the Blue Mountains rise up in a flurry of green peaks and charming culture. Amongst the lush rainforest canopies and in the dipping valleys, ancient Aboriginal heritage remains strong. Here, the original guardians of the land continue to practice age-old traditions surrounded by stunning wildlife and spectacular scenery.


The Blue Mountains provide the perfect backdrop for spotting some of Australia’s native wildlife and getting to know the rich history that permeates the land. Named as a World Heritage Area, the region is the traditional home of the Darug and Gundungurra people who have lived amongst the sweeping sandstone canyons and bushland for thousands and thousands of years. Today, visitors can glean an insight into their way of life by exploring the scenery and discovering some of the key cultural spots that pepper the landscape.


The Waradah Aboriginal Centre
At Katoomba, visitors can get to know the local Aboriginal culture at the Waradah Aboriginal Centre. Here, you can watch traditional dances, try your hand at the didgeridoo, browse beautiful artworks and pick up a souvenir or two to remember your time in the Blue Mountains.


Indigenous history IIThe Red Hand Caves Walking Track
The Blue Mountains are the perfect spot for hiking, and there are plenty of pretty trails weaving through the scenery. The Red Hand Caves Walking Track is one of the most historic routes, as it has been used by the Darug people for thousands of years. The track starts from Glenbrook and takes hikers to one of the best-loved Aboriginal stencil galleries in the entire region.


Lyrebird Dell Walking Track
Elsewhere, the Lyrebird Dell Walking Track provides hikers with a two-hour loop trail through much of the gorge country. It takes you to a unique caves site that has played a big part in the Aboriginal backstory of Australia.


Indigenous history IIIBlue Mountains Botanic Garden
Located at Mount Tomah, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden forms an important part of Aboriginal life. Plants and nature are key facets of the culture, so here you can browse the numerous displays of flora and fauna and check out ancient rock shelters that are carved with centuries-old paintings.


Rock Art
Rock art is peppered throughout the Blue Mountains, inside ancient rock shelters and along the sandstone escarpment. The most prominent painting is the incredibly well-preserved “flight of the Great Grey Kangaroo”, which is located close to Hawkesbury Lookout.

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The Adventurous Attractions at Scenic World

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scenicrailway

Set just outside of vibrant Sydney in the beautiful surrounds of the Blue Mountains sits Scenic World, one of the region’s most adventurous hotspots. Here, as well as exploring the beauty of the natural scenery, spotting colourful native birds, and breathing in the fresh mountain air, you can take to the skies and discover the region from a completely different perspective.


Home to a selection of high rides, Scenic World is the perfect way to get to know the Blue Mountains from above.


The Attractions at Scenic World


Scenic Railway
This is the steepest passenger railway in the world, covering a 52-degree incline. The carriages boast glass roofs so you have uninterrupted views of the lush Jamison Valley from every angle.


ScenicWorld Cableway05The custom-made carriages mean you can choose your own adventure – you can adjust your seat position up to 20-degrees, so you can have a “cliff-hanger” ride at a 64-degree incline, or a more relaxed ride with the “laidback” option. The ride itself takes you through a cliff-side tunnel, emerging into the ancient rainforest at the other end.


Scenic Walkway
For a more relaxed experience, you can take a stroll around the 2.4km stretch of the Scenic Walkway. This is an elevated boardwalk that takes you directly through the Jurassic scenery of the Jamison Valley floor. As you go, you can learn more about the area’s rich mining history, and discover some of the forest’s native flora and fauna.


Scenic Cableway
For panoramic views of the Blue Mountains, hop aboard the Scenic Cableway. Travelling along 545 metres of track, this ride descends into the Jamison Valley, keeping you safe in a fully enclosed cabin that offers spectacular views from its unique vantage point. From the top, you can see some of the region’s most spectacular natural wonders, including the Three Sisters, Orphan Rock, and Katoomba Falls.


Scenic World SkywayScenic Skyway
On the Scenic Skyway, you can glide between the green-velvet cliff tops and admire the rainforest canopy below through the glass floor. At 270 metres above the ancient ravines below, the Skyway promises breath-taking views of the Blue Mountains – but, if you’d like something more relaxed, there is a solid floor option, too. From the Skyway, you can peer out at the Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley as it sprawls out beneath you to the horizon and beyond.


Scenic World provides the perfect opportunity to get to know the Blue Mountains, giving you the chance to soak up the spectacular scenery and marvel at the ancient beauty of the Jamison Valley.

The Kookaburras of the Blue Mountains

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Kookaburra1The Blue Mountains are renowned for their rich selection of plant and animal species, particularly the bird life on offer. Here, hundreds of species call the lush rainforest and surrounding valleys their home, including the native Australian kookaburra.


These birds are like tree-dwelling versions of the kingfisher who have a loud call sound that’s reminiscent of human laughter – hence their name, which comes from the Wiradjuri people and is an onomatopoeia of the sound they make.


The Habitat of the Kookaburra
Kookaburras live in a variety of different landscapes, ranging from the humid depths of rainforests to the dry and arid plains of savannas. You might also find them in suburban areas, too, where there are tall trees and running water. However, though they are often associated with kingfishers, they are not water birds.


kookaburra3Different Species of Kookaburra
There are several different species of kookaburra which can be found in the Blue Mountains and around Australia, including the Rufous-belled kookaburra, the Spangled kookaburra, the Blue-winged kookaburra, and the laughing kookaburra.


The Behaviour of the Kookaburra
Kookaburras are almost exclusively meat eaters, opting to dine on things like mice, snakes, insects, and small reptiles – in suburban areas, they have been known to steal a goldfish or two from garden ponds.


The birds can be particularly sociable too, taking food from people’s hands and meat from summer barbecues, but they are also very territorial. Their song is used as a chorus to mark their territory to let other kookaburras know where their land ends and begins.


Kookaburras2Kookaburras and Australian Culture
Because they are a native species of Australia, the kookaburra has become an icon in much of the country’s culture. For example, in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, the kookaburra became one of the three mascots alongside the echidna and the platypus.


Elsewhere, the kookaburra’s laugh has been used extensively in films – particularly Disney movies – regardless of where they’re set - the cackling laughter of its call makes for a good soundtrack to rainforest scenes. The kookaburra has also taken centre stage in a number of musical creations in Australia and beyond, including “Kookaburra”, a children’s song dedicated to the bird, and several chart hits from the country.


Getting to know Australia’s expansive collection of native species is an integral part of visiting the Blue Mountains, and the common sightings of kookaburras means you can learn more about their behaviour, habitat, and history in the country while exploring the stunning surrounds of this part of Australia.

The Wildlife of the Blue Mountains

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bm wildlife1The Blue Mountains boast some of Australia’s most magnificent scenery. Here, sprawling velvet peaks seem expand endlessly to the horizon, encompassing lush rainforests, breath-taking natural wonders, and an abundance of stunning views and wildlife.

In 2000, the Blue Mountains were listed as a World Heritage Site and today, is home to an incredible amount of native and non-native creatures.

In fact, there are more than 400 different types of animals that reside amongst the picturesque gorges and the expansive tablelands of the Greater Blue Mountains area, including a number of endangered and threatened species.

If you’re travelling through, keep your eyes peeled for species such as the tiger quoll, koalas, the yellow-bellied glider, and the long-nosed potoroo. As well as these, there are tonnes of reptiles that live in the forest, like the green and golden bell frog, and the Blue Mountain water skink. bm wildlife2

The largest predator in the region is the native dingo, a wild type of dog that hunts for the local grey kangaroos and other prey they can get their claws on.

But it’s not just mammals, marsupials, and amphibians that call this area home – there are plenty of colourful bird species here, too. BirdLife International has named the blue Mountains as an Important Bird Area because of its high number of rare and native species. In fact, the peaks of the mountain ranges support the highest number of rockwarbler in the world, but there are also plenty of flame robins, diamond firetails, and pilotbirds you can catch a glimpse of.

bm wildlife3If that wasn’t enough, the endangered regent honeyeater can also be seen there regularly, as well as the rare yellow-faced honeyeater during the migration season.

It’s safe to say there are hundreds of animal-spotting opportunities in the Blue Mountains, especially at the Featherdale Wildlife Park, where you can get up close and personal to all manner of species, including native koalas, kangaroos, and wombats.

If you’re a keen animal lover who is looking to explore the incredible amounts of wildlife and natural beauty that Australia has to offer, the Blue Mountains should definitely be on your list. From the velvet peaks of the ranges to the ancient plant-filled valleys below and the designated animal hotspots that are dotted around, there are endless opportunities to spot creatures in all shapes and sizes.

The History and Walks of Kings Tableland

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kings tablelandThe Blue Mountains boast some of Australia’s most spectacular scenery, promising visitors stunning views of velvet mountains, dipping valleys, and lush vegetation. Throughout the region, there are plenty of things to keep you busy, whether you’re on the hunt for some wildlife spotting opportunities, or want to learn more about the rich history of the area.

The Kings Tableland proves to be a popular landmark in the Blue Mountains. It is basically the remains of an eroded sandstone layer that sprawls out for around 1,000m just south of the cascading Wentworth Falls. Forming the major southern spur of the spine of the mountain range, it marks the gateway to the Southern Escarpment, which is made up of tall sandstone cliffs that edge the Jamison, Megalong, Kanimbla, and Hartley Valleys.

You can find the Kings Tableland to the west of the Blue Labyrinth locality. Surrounding it, you’ll find plenty of beautiful hiking routes and a stunning selection of wild scenery to explore.

kings tableland rock artThe Indigenous History of the Kings Tableland

Like most of Australia’s prominent natural landmarks, Kings Tableland has a history entwined with the Indigenous peoples who live there. Part of the region has been set aside as a camping and meeting place for the Gandangara people. The area set aside for them sits on an impressive sandstone rock platform, which boasts a shelter decorated with ancient rock art. This spot is thought to be the oldest Aboriginal site in the Blue Mountains, and contains unique engravings of native bird and animal species, like kangaroos.

kings tableland walksIf you’re looking to discover some of the immense history that embraces this part of Australia, this is the place to go. It is thought the Kings Tableland has been used as an Aboriginal gathering place for more than 14,000 years.

Today, the Kings Tableland walk – one of the most popular activities in the region – carves through one of the most historically important parts of the Blue Mountains. Here, you’ll find a real-life show of the Australian bushland that has survived for thousands of years.

Along the Kings Tableland walk, you can take a quick diversion out to Rocket Point, where you can soak up stunning views of Wentworth Falls in the distance.

The area is well worth a visit to learn more about Aboriginal history in these parts, and to experience some of Australia’s most picturesque scenery and oldest landmarks.

The Best Things to Do in The Blue Mountains

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Blue Mountains 11The Blue Mountains boast some of Australia’s most majestic scenery, encompassing sprawling velvet mountains, dipping valleys, and a whole host of amazing attractions to see.


Throughout the region, you can get stuck into a range of activities, whether you’re looking to dig into the rich culture of the region, or want to get your adrenalin pumping with a fast-paced adventure.
Here are some of the best things to do in the Blue Mountains.


Scenic World
Scenic World is perhaps the best-loved attraction in the area. It boasts a selection of rides that take you up the mountains to incredible viewpoints. There’s the Skyway, the Cableway, the Walkway, and the Railway, each of which offer spectators a different perspective of the Mountains and the Jamison Valley below.


Stroll Around Leura
Leura is a quaint town in the midst of the Blue Mountains. Here, visitors can dip in and out of antique shops, old-fashioned sweet stores, and cute boutiques filled with local crafts and fashion. The main strip is worth a wander along, with its shops, cafes, and homely eateries to check out. Leura 2


The Three Sisters
The most prominent natural wonder in the region, The Three Sisters, is a unique rock formation located at Echo Point in Katoomba. It represents the three sisters who were turned to stone in a famous Aboriginal legend.


Bushwalking
The Blue Mountains are filled with spectacular scenery, and there are numerous hiking and biking trails that weave through the undergrowth. Explore waterfalls, ancient cliffs, and a selection of native flora and fauna as you go.


open gardensSee the Open Gardens
The cool climate of the Blue Mountains makes it the perfect habitat for exotic gardens, of which there are plenty in the region. During Autumn and Spring, these privately owned gardens burst with colour and are open to the public. You can also catch a glimpse of colourful blooms along the village streets.


Art Galleries
The Blue Mountains boasts a rich culture, spanning back thousands of years and covering hundreds of Aboriginal traditions. In many of the unique towns and villages in the region, you can pop into the art galleries and studios to explore the creative side of the landscape. Simply browse the mesmerising art works, watch the artists as they create, or pick up a souvenir to remember your time in the Blue Mountains.