Just 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.
The 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.
Blue 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 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.