A mere three hours drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains are easily accessible by car, or via a dramatic scenic helicopter flight. We opted for the former – we should’ve gone for the latter, but that’s a whole other story – to reach our home in the Wolgan Valley where we were anticipating much cooler temperatures than in Sydney. Daytime temperatures of just 10 – 15°C, though at night, at this time of the year, these temperatures can drop to as low as -3°C. Consequently, we’d packed anoraks, stout walking shoes and cashmere.
The Blue Mountains are one of Australia’s natural wonders and the World Heritage area combines eight individual conservation reserves – Yengo, Wollemi, Gardens of Stone, Blue Mountains, Nattai, Kanangra Boyd, Thirlmere Lakes and Jenolan Caves Karst Reserve. I doubt three days will be sufficient to see all these wonders.
According to the ‘blurb, the Greater Blue Mountains is an accessible wilderness, covering more than one million hectares of rainforest, canyons, eucalypt forests and heath lands in New South Wales. It’s an area of breathtaking views, rugged tablelands, sheer cliffs, deep valleys and swamps teeming with life – none of whom I suspect I would wish to meet! The unique plants and animals that live in this outstanding natural place relate an extraordinary story of Australia’s antiquity, its diversity of life and its superlative beauty. It really is a nature lover’s paradise with an abundance of colourful bird and animal life, the greatest concentration of eucalypt diversity on the continent, and landscapes ranging from rainforest to heathland.
More than 400 different kinds of animals live within the rugged gorges and tablelands of the Greater Blue Mountains. These include threatened or rare species of conservation significance, such as the spotted-tailed quoll, the koala, the yellow-bellied glider, the long-nosed potoroo (what a fab name), the green and golden bell frog and the Blue Mountains water skink. Flora and fauna of conservation significance and their habitats are a major component of the World Heritage values of the area.