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Blue Mountains - NSW

semi-overcast 25 °C

The landscape of the Blue Mountain was more than 250 million years in the making as sediments built up then were eroded away, revealing sheer cliff faces and canyons. Home to Aboriginal communities for an estimated 14,000 years, the rugged terrain proved, at first, a formidable barrier to white settlers, but since the 1870's it has been a popular holiday resort.
The mountains get their name form the release of oil from the eucalyptus trees which causes a blue haze.
Blue Mountains National Park (267,183 hectares) is part of the Greater Blue Mountain World Heritage Area, a million-hectare conservations area that stretches for 230km along the ranges. World Heritage is the highest level of international recognition that is only given to places of global significance.
The Greater Blue Mountains Area was recognised because of its plants, animals and ecosystems that are different from anywhere else on earth - including at least 100 species of uniquely Australian eucalypts (gumtrees).
The World Heritage area lies across the traditional Country of six Aboriginal language groups - the Gundungurra and the Darug in this area and the Wanaruah, Wiradjuri, Darinjung and Dharawai to the north, south and west.
The historic importance of the Blue Mountains walking tracks has been recognised by their listing on the NSW State Heritage Register as Nationally Significant. Constructed in steep and difficult conditions, they are celebrated for being the means by which so many people from nearby cities have been able to experience the natural world.
Many of the walking tracks in the Blue Mountains were constructed over 100 years ago. Local communities were in competition to provide a
the 'most spectacular' round trip walking routes to attract tourists to their town. Developing tracks in such steep and difficult conditions involved extraordinary efforts by those involved.
At Wentworth Falls, Captain James Murray supervised a team of 4 workers, known locally as the 'Irish Brigade'. His team took over two years to build the 2.5km National Pass track. Accessing the base of the falls, which involved cutting steps down the sheer cliff face, was one of their biggest challenges.
It is thought that Captain Murray was lowered over the edge in a bosun's chair (a simple canvas seat on ropes) in order to work out a possible route.

Jamison Lookout
The first vie of the morning was a little misty!
but it soon began to clear

Wentworth Falls Lookout
The track winds through gullies and headlands along the top of the escarpment.

We walked the track to Wentworth Falls.
It started off like a normal bush walk
but we soon became surrounded by pockets of rainforest
and then the path cut into the limestone cliffs
mind your head!

Wentworth Falls Area
The Blue Mountains, reaching 1,100m above sea level at their highest point, at first made the early colonists virtual prisoners of the Sydney Cove area.
Many settlers were convinced that plains suitable for grazing and crops would be found beyond the mountains, but attempts to reach the imagined pastures failed repeatedly. In 1813 however, three farmers, Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Wentworth, set out on a well planned mission following the ridge between the Grose and cox rivers, and emerged successfully on the western side of the mountains.
This is the view looking from the top
and looking behind

Fletchers Lookout
A steep walk down the Wentworth Falls track to a cliff-edge lookout, looking down onto the top of the falls.

Princes Rock Lookout
The route of one of the earliest constructed walking tracks (built in 1868) to an historic lookout on a rocky outcrop

National Pass
A famous scenic and historic walk that opened in 1908 and won awards for restoration in 2008.
The track descends steep steps cut into the cliff face beside Wentworth Falls then follows a ledge halfway down the cliff, through to the Valley of the Waters.

Katoomba-Leura area
Many tracks in this area were pioneered by The Katoomba hunting fishing & Excursion Club in 1803.
Further development of the tracks occurred when the sewer line was implemented in 1909 to reach the treatment plant in the valley below.
Leura Falls is another beautiful stop along one of the many paths

We stopped at Gordon Falls for lunch
after a short walk around the area

Within a few minutes drive of Katoomba, are the regions most popular attractions; Echo Point and the Three Sisters.
From here you can see the Scenic Railway which offer a nerve wracking plummet down the mountain gorge. Reputed to be the steepest rail track in the world, it was originally built in the 1880's to transport the miners down to the valley's rich coal deposits.

The Three Sisters
According to Gundungurra Dreaming, three beautiful sisters names Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo once lived with the Gundungurra people in the Jamison Valley.
The maidens were in love with three brothers form the neighbouring nation of the Dharruk people, but marriage was forbidden by tribal law.
the brothers were warriors and decided to take the maidens by force, Tribal war forced the elder of the Gundungurra people to turn the sisters into stone. He intended to restore them after the danger has passed and the ware had ended. Unfortunately, the elder was killed in the battle and to this day nobody has been able to break the spell and turn the Three Sisters back to their natural form.
Queen Elizabeth Lookout "Her most Gracious Majesty viewed the Jamison ?Valley from this lookout during her visit on 12th February 1954"
Echo Point to Kedumba View
Mountain streams have cut through the upper layers of sandstone, following vertical faults in the strata. the softer claystone layers are more easily eroded. As the softer rock is eroded, unsupported sections of the cliff will collapse. this results in the characteristic vertical cliffs of the Blue Mountains.
Looking over the Kedumba River to Mt solitary.
The plateau that forms the Blue Mountains has been deeply cut by streams and rivers. The vertical cliffs are made of sand deposited here during the Triassic age (about 250million years ago). Directly below the cliffs are the layers from the Permian age, which included coal deposits. Exposed in the depths of the valley are the rocks from the Devonian age (about 400 million years ago). the Blue Mountains is a globally stable environment, which has allowed the developments of unique habitats and micro-climates, home to many plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.

Out tour guide Rod was very good at taking us to the secret spots, having grown up in the Blue Mountains, he knew how to escape the tousits.
This was a beautiful spot at Narrow Neck.
Just don't look down!
A great spot to sit and enjoy the sunshine for a little while

Posted by charlystyles 13:29 Archived in Australia Tagged katoomba blue_mountains Comments (0)

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