Covering an area 60 to 180 kilometres west of Sydney, the Greater Blue Mountains region includes Australia’s most accessible wilderness area. Changing in elevation from near sea level to 1,300 metres, the area covers 1.03 million hectares with dominant geographic features including sandstone plateaux, escarpments and gorges.
The Greater Blue Mountains region has been inhabited by indigenous Australian Aboriginal people for thousands of years. The area protects over 700 known places of Aboriginal cultural and historic significance, and is home to six Aboriginal language groups – Wiradjuri, Gundungurra, Dharawal, Darug, Darkinjung and Wanaruah.
The area consists of eight adjoining conservation reserves and national parks, supporting more than 100 of the world’s Eucalypt species and more than 400 kinds of vertebrates, including mammals, birds and reptiles.
A place where civilization meets wilderness, the region provides a unique blend of conservation and tourism. Visitors are never more than minutes away from the edge of spectacular escarpment, outdoor adventures, great food and wine, shopping or relaxing in at a heritage guesthouse.
In 2000, the Blue Mountains was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, acknowledging the region’s natural heritage of outstanding universal value.
Further recognition came in 2008, with the area officially declared one of Australia’s National Landscapes. The National Landscapes program, managed by Tourism Australia & Parks Australia, was established to “identify the best of Australia’s national and cultural landscapes – inspirational destinations that transcend borders and boundaries”.
In announcing the decision to include the region, Tourism Australia described the Greater Blue Mountains as “Australia’s most accessible wilderness, stretching over one million hectares… an inspiring and diverse mix of rainforest, canyons, tall forests and heathlands. The Greater Blue Mountains offers scenic beauty across diverse landscapes like sandstone cliffs and rugged canyons to waterfalls and caves. The region is also home to the Wollemi Pine, a plant with ancient significance. Food and wine are also important attractions for the region.”
The Australian Wildlife Society has been conserving Australia’s wildlife since 1909. Visit their website to learn how you can support their efforts.