An easy 1½ to 2-hour journey from Sydney, the Blue Mountains are close enough to draw Sydneysiders away for the weekend to escape their busy city lives in favour of the clean air and cooler climate. With three National Parks in the area, the Blue Mountain National Park being the most accessible, there are numerous trails for rugged bushwalking – or drive-up look-outs for those who want to conserve their energy but not miss out on the unforgettable scenery. You shouldn’t leave without seeing the ‘Three Sisters’, probably the most famous sight in the area. Once abseiling down and climbing up these rock formations was banned in 2000, the area became a UNESCO listed site – the lighter orange and yellow coloured sections are more recent erosion. For a lesson in Aboriginal heritage hire a guide to take you walkabout, get you close to wildlife and tell Dreamtime stories and legends.
The Katoomba Scenic railway is the steepest railway incline in the world and one part of ‘Scenic World’, which includes the ‘skyway’, a 720m long, 270m high journey above the ravines and rainforests in a glass floored cable car. Also here is a cableway, the steepest in the Southern Hemisphere, into (or out of) the Jamison Valley; for those who would rather keep their feet firmly on the ground, a boardwalk through the rainforest allows you to sample some refreshing Blue Mountains water whilst learning about the history of the valley.
Weekends and summer school holidays are popular times for city escapees, so prices and availability will escalate accordingly. Try and time your visit so that it’s mid-week, and make your trips to the main sights at the start or end of the day to avoid day-trippers.