The fact is, the Blue Mountains are one of Australia’s best-known natural landmarks, and below is some interesting information, answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, along with some fun facts about the Blue Mountains.
- Fact: The Blue Mountains is a popular tourist destination receiving around three million day trippers each year.
- Fact: Domestic day trippers spend around $250 million per year in the area.
- Fact: The Blue Mountains is a great holiday destination for families and kids.
How big are the Blue Mountains?
The Blue Mountains National Park spans across 267,954 hectares of land.
This UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site is comprised of over 140 kilometres of walking trails and tracks that lead to pristine scenery and picturesque views.
The Blue Mountains’ most notable walking trails are paved throughout The Six Foot Track, Kanangra Walls to Katoomba, National Pass, Grand Canyon Walk, Blue Gum Forest and the Anderson Fire Trail.
The tracks vary in length and difficulty, from 10-minute strolls to week-long treks.
- Fact: The Blue Mountains are 11,400 km².
- Fact: The Blue Mountains National Park area is about 2,690 km² and was established in September 1959.
Where are the Blue Mountains?
Situated in eastern Australia’s New South Wales, the range of Blue Mountains can be found approximately 80 kilometers west of state capital Sydney.
The national park is a 90-minute drive from Sydney through the M4 motorway. A more scenic route can also be taken past the Hawkesbury along Bell’s Line of the Road.
En route to Blue Mountains entails a leisurely drive across multiple thoroughfares, small towns, and farms. On the outskirts of the park is the town of Katoomba.
- Fact: The Blue Mountains are on the edge Sydney’s metropolitan area, its foothills starting about 50 kilometres (31 miles) west of Sydney CBD.
- Fact: Katoomba is about 110 Kilometres (68 miles) west of Sydney
Why are the Blue Mountains special?
On the edge of the Blue Mountains are Jenolan Caves, another must-see experience that makes the mountains so memorable. The mountains have so many lookouts, picturesque villages and towns, iconic points of interest, and so many wonderful walking trails.
How old are the Blue Mountains?
The Blue Mountains are about 10 times older than the Grand Canyon. The ancient rocks underneath the mountains are roughly 470 million years old.
The sandstone plateau, signified by the Blue Mountains, took form around 50 million years ago following a forceful uplift.
The Blue Mountains were discovered in 1813 through a successful expedition led by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson, and William Charles Wentworth. Early ideas of shaping the area into a national park came about in 1932, upon the proposal of conservationist Myles Dunphy.
To preserve its geographical and cultural significance, the park was recognized as Australia’s 14th World Heritage Site in 2000.
- Fact: The Blue Mountains are said to be around 470 million years old.
Why do they call it the Blue Mountains?
Looking at the Blue Mountains from Sydney, the ochre-toned cliffs appear to be clad in blue.
Hence, the Blue Mountains derived its name from the striking blue haze that seem to envelope the area. However, prior to the name Blue Mountains, the site was originally called the Carmarthen and Lansdowne Hills by Governor Arthur Phillip in 1788.
Why the Blue Mountains are blue?
The expansive eucalypt forests covering the Blue Mountains are regarded by many as the primary source of the blue haze.
But contrary to popular belief, it is simply the optical phenomenon called the Rayleigh Scattering that is causing the area’s blue tinge.
The phenomenon asserts that the sun’s ultraviolet rays are scattered by the particles in the atmosphere that are smaller than the wave length of the light.
This effect creates a blue-greyish color to objects at a distance, including the sky and mountains.
What is the highest point of the Blue Mountains?
The peak of the Blue Mountains is located at Mount Werong, which is at an elevation of 1,215 metres or 3,986 feet above sea level.
Close to the pinnacle is the renowned Three Sisters formation, which equally surpasses 3,000 feet above sea level. Conversely, the Blue Mountains’ low point is on the Nepean River at 20 metres or 66 feet above sea level.
More Mountain Peaks…
- Mount Piddington (1,094 m or 3,589 ft)
- Mount Boyce (1,093 m or 3,586 ft)
- Mount York (1,061 m or 3,481 ft)
- Mount Banks (1,049 m or 3,442 ft)
- Mount Wilson (1,008 m or 3,307 ft)
- Kings Tableland (1,000 m or 3,281 ft)
- Narrow Neck Plateau (1,000 m or 3,281 ft)
- Mount Solitary (950 m or 3,117 ft)
- Mount Hay (944 m or 3,097 ft)
- Mount Irvine (850 m or 2,789 ft)
Learn more about the Blue Mountains.
Where should I stay?
There are many great places to stay at the Blue Mountains, with a variety of experiences waiting for you. There are also quite a few resorts and hotels along the Blue Mountains, catering to all types of visitors.
When is the best time to go?
The Blue Mountains is beautiful all year round. It does get cold in the winter months and can even snow – but this can be a great opportunity to enjoy a nice log fireplace.