Why are they called blue, for a start?
Rayleigh scattering – the elastic
scattering of light particles, put simply. It is common with many such mountain ranges, that they look blue from a distance.
The Blue Mountains are in New South Wales, Australia. They are accessible from Sydney by a two hour train ride to a heritage location, but we took a two and a half day drive from Adelaide. Coaches also travel here and you can hire a car.
We stayed in Blackheath Glen Tourist Park. This had great facilities and wide sites for vans, as well as being near Pope’s Glen track to Glovett’s Leap, but we were told that the neighboring Katoomba Tourist Park was equally good, and ran shuttles to major attractions.
There are a multitude of accommodation options in the area and good access to all the necessities – supermarkets, bakeries, sweet shops, swimming pools, liquor, churches and more.
3. STUNNING VIEWS AND TRAILS
Climb the 250 million year old rock strata. Under the canopy of gum leaves seen from above, there is a rain forest below, with many waterfalls.
Online maps available before we got there were too limited. Even visiting tourist shops en route proved fruitless. We had to wait to stop in at the national parks centre in the region, but they were marvelous at providing maps, suggestions and advice. There are 48 walks on the ‘selection of bushwalks in the Blue Mountains’ sheet. Great detail is here, concerning grade, time, distance and features to be experienced. This was invaluable in planning our outdoor adventures.
4. VERTICAL CHALLENGES
Reported to have the steepest train ride in the world it is really more like a show ride and these days travels very slowly compared with what carried people 20 or 100 years ago.
Then there is the Cableway or the Skyway, with viewing floors and up to 360 degree views.
Or just descend the stairway to the Three Sisters or Pulpit Rock and feel suspended over more than time.
Around 1900 the population of this coal mining area was 4000! However, it was very popular as a holiday destination and in Summer the numbers would swell to 30 000 people. The sewage system was unable to cope at these times and it was not uncommon for Katoomba Falls to be dis-coloured with refuse. Erk.
People ride here, walk here, drive here and arrive by the bus loads. It’s easy to see why.
At one lookout a man had his drone travel the 2km gap as he watched the view below on a smart phone. Unfortunately the echo could be heard across the canyon as we travelled to different lookouts, beyond where we could see it.
Take a hat, good walking shoes and water. You may need a coat if the clouds are hanging low, but they can blow away quickly, too.