The Blue Mountains are located in New South Wales, Australia and are situated just 100 kilometres west from the capital city of Sydney. The Blue Mountains are not in fact, a range of mountains but rather a series of cliffs surrounding a plateau. Within this plateau are numerous eroded gorges, some of which reach a depth of 760 metres. Some of the sandstone geological structures reach a height of 1190 metres AHD, in the Lithgow area. Add to Description →
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The majority of the Blue Mountains are encapsulated in the Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Site, as are several of the national parks and a conservation reserve. The Blue Mountains lie in the local government areas of the City of Blue Mountains, the City of Hawkesbury, the City of Lithgow and Oberon. The City of Blue Mountains consists of close towns which are situated on the road and rail link between Penrith and Lithgow.
Much of the mountains are covered with, predominately, eucalypt forest. These eucalyptus forests release volatile oils, causing the mountains to gain a bluish tinge when viewed from a distance, which gave the mountains their name. Many of the sheltered gorges are filled with temperate rainforest and swamps filled with grass reeds and thick, black soil. The Wollemi National Park forms part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Site and is considered the largest wilderness area in New South Wales. These mountain ranges and national parks are best viewed through aerial photography.
The climate varies with the mountain heights. At Katoomba (1010 metres), summers are fairly brisk, with daytime temperatures reaching the mid 20s. At night, temperatures usually drop down into the teens. During winter, however, the days get colder, temperatures usually only reaching a maximum of 13 degrees during the daylight hours. At night, the temperatures often drop below freezing.
Many attractions have been made around the Blue Mountains for tourists to be able to see the amazing natural beauty of this World Heritage Site. The Giant Staircase offers an extensive nature walk past the Three Sisters and into the Valley beside them; the Katoomba Scenic Railway, considered the steepest railway in the world, descends 415 metres amongst sandstone cliffs, via a rock tunnel; the Scenic Skyway and the Scenic Flyway offer aerial cable car travel through the forest area and along an arm of the Jamison Valley at Katoomba, are just to name a few.