Are the Blue Mountains Still Worth Visiting?

Don’t let the images of fires in the Blue Mountains put you off visiting this amazing natural wilderness near Sydney.

There are still plenty of areas that were untouched and need your support.

After witnessing the terrifying footage of fires raging across the Blue Mountains, it can be hard to imagine that the area is anything now but a charred warzone. But thankfully, much of the Blue Mountains, including the top travel destinations around Leura and Katoomba, weren’t directly impacted by the fires. These areas are still worth visiting and need your support now more than ever.

The 2019/20 Bushfires

As images and footage of the shocking destruction caused by the bushfires aired on news bulletins around the world, many looked on in horror. The surrounding area including Sydney was blanketed in smoke for weeks, as the fires raged across the state of New South Wales for months. While bushfires are a common occurrence in much of Australia, the size and intensity of these fires had not been seen for decades. The impact to the environment, wildlife, residents and wider community was devastating.

The fires in the Blue Mountains were started by a lightening strike on October 26th2019. Incredibly, the fires raged for months before finally being extinguished in early 2020. The remoteness of the area impacted, coupled with the hot and dry conditions, made it near impossible for the firefighters to get the blaze under control. In the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, a staggering one million hectares was burnt, impacting 68% of the park.

What to See Now

While the size of the fires may seem unfathomable, the Blue Mountains covers a huge area, making it possible to visit certain areas without seeing any of the damage. The areas we visit on tour and the famous attractions were thankfully saved any damage. In fact, the towns of Leura and Katoomba never closed during the fires and our tours to the area were only cancelled a handful of times out of concerns for safety.

Still worth visiting are the iconic rock formations, the Three Sisters. You can still admire the Three Sisters from viewpoints including Echo Point, or head to Scenic World for a unique perspective as you glide across the Jamison Valley on the Skyway. Scenic World remains open, including all the rides and walking paths, and continues to offer visitors extraordinary experiences in the Blue Mountains.

Offering you the chance to explore the spectacular forest, the walking paths and lookout points around the area are still well worth the journey from Sydney. Natural attractions such as Leura Cascades, Wentworth Falls and more remain as picturesque and peaceful as ever.

What About the Burnt Parts?

There is no glossing over the fact that huge sections of the park were severely damaged by the fires and that many animals were killed or injured. Thankfully, while several native animal species are now threatened and much of their habitat has been destroyed, there are no known species extinctions. Forest in the area is already showing signs of recovery, with shoots and sprouts popping up from the blackened earth. Rehabilitation in the area will continue for some time and the government has pledged large sums to help with the recovery.

While it can be incredibly shocking and saddening to see such devastation caused by fires, the Aussie bush and its flora are adapted to living in the challenging conditions of Australia. Fire has been an important element in the Australian ecosystem and many of the trees and plants that call the area of the Blue Mountains home even rely on fire to rejuvenate and reproduce. It will take time, but the area will recover and will continue to be a special place to visit.

Related article: Which is the Best Blue Mountains Tour?

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