The Blue Mountains are one of Sydney’s greatest treasures. These mountains, once a barrier to colonial settlement and exploration, were once a symbol of a tough alien land. The Blue Mountains are now an Australian icon, and a favourite place for people to see the real Australian bush. If you want a truly exciting, unforgettable experience, try a Blue Mountains tour.
History of the Blue Mountains
When settlers first arrived in New South Wales they entered an almost entirely unknown environment. The Australian bush seemed a strange and hostile place, and the Blue Mountains frustrated inland exploration for years. As Sydney expanded, it also encountered the mountains as a barrier, but Australian culture had learned to love the bush, and the Blue Mountains were seen in a different light.
Settlement of the Blue Mountains was a very different story to the rampant growth of Sydney. It simply wasn’t possible to build in the mountains in the same way. The result was a series of local settlements, bounded by the bush and the mountains. To this day, natives of the Blue Mountains feel a certain privilege to be living in the area.
That pattern of settlement also created the culture of the Blue Mountains. Many of the original buildings have been preserved, and the locals guard their heritage against unwanted development or anything which is seen as out of character with the Blue Mountains environment and culture.
The Blue Mountains – A giant wonderland
The Blue Mountains live up to their reputation. They still are untamed, and they have features which can be seen nowhere else on Earth. Just recently, an ancient pine tree was discovered which was thought to be extinct. It was known from the fossil record, but nobody expected to find a living plant. The Wollemi pine has quite literally been brought back from the verge of extinction, cloned by Australian scientists.
Photo: Angela Rutherford
Australia is an ancient place, and it is still quite possible to discover insects, birds, animals and places that have never been recorded. One of the great fascinations for bushwalkers is that the feeling of exploration never really goes away. A Blue Mountains tour will soon explain why.
The Blue Mountains have so many sights and places of interest that they’re almost impossible to catalogue, but here are a few:
- The Norman Lindsay Gallery at Springwood
- The Three Sisters
- The Megalong Valley
- A seemingly endless list of top quality artists studios
- The Jenolan Caves
- The High Country, unique environment within the Blue Mountains
- Wentworth Falls and Lake Burragorang
- Many of the original Blue Mountains villages
There quite simply aren’t any other places like the Blue Mountains, anywhere. You’ll soon see why this is a World Heritage listed area. It’s a testimony to the very high conservation values in the Blue Mountains that the local fauna, flora and bird life are still very much intact. There is even supposed to be the famous Australian “panther” in the Blue Mountains.
Given the history of the Blue Mountains since settlement, that would surprise nobody. Bring a camera, you may be the first person to get a picture of the panther. You’ll need a camera anyway, because everybody has their own personal experience of the Blue Mountains. This is a tour you really don’t want to miss.