Blue Mountains National Park
|Blue Mountains National Park|
The Three Sisters, sandstone rock formations that are one of the best-known attractions in the region.
|State||New South Wales|
|Nearest town or city|
|Area||2,689.87 km2 (1,038.6 sq mi)1|
|Visitation||563,000 (in 2009)|
|Managing authorities||National Parks and Wildlife Service (New South Wales)|
|Website||Blue Mountains National Park|
The Blue Mountains National Park is a national park in New South Wales, Australia, 81 km west of Sydney, and located in the Blue Mountains region of the Great Dividing Range. The park covers 268,987 ha (664,681 acres).1 The boundary of the park is quite irregular as it is broken up by roads, urban areas and inholdings. Despite the name 'mountains', the area is an uplifted plateau, dissected by a number of larger rivers. The highest point in the park is Mount Werong (1,215 m), while the low point is on the Nepean River (20 m) as it leaves the park.
The genesis of the national park was a proposal by early conservationist Myles Dunphy for a Greater Blue Mountains National Park in 1932. This included large areas of what are today the Blue Mountains National Park, Wollemi National Park, Kanangra-Boyd National Park, Nattai National Park along with other smaller National Parks. In 1959 the Blue Mountains National Park was declared.2 In 2000 it was included as part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
The Blue Mountains National Park lies on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range. The plateau slopes gently down from west to east from a height of around 1,100 m near Mt Victoria to less than 200 m around Glenbrook. There are four major rivers that have most of their catchment inside the park: the Wollangambe River in the north, the Grose River in the centre, and the Coxs and Wollondilly Rivers in the south. The latter two flow into Lake Burragorang, which is located just outside the park and is the site of Warragamba Dam, the major source of drinking water for Sydney. A small section of the Nepean River passes through the park. All of the major rivers flow from west to east.
Structurally, the Blue Mountains are part of the greater Sydney Basin. The Sydney Basin consists of layers of sedimentary rocks laid down over the past 300 million years. The Blue Mountains and Great Dividing Range were formed about 50 million years when the area was uplifted.3 More recently, volcanic flows covered large areas of the mountains in basalt. These have largely worn away, leaving only occasional outcrops on the high peaks.
The Blue Mountains National Park is one of the most popular in Australia. The majority of tourists to the Blue Mountains see the national park from one of the many lookouts between Wentworth Falls and Blackheath, and many of these never actually set foot in the park. Activities for the visitor include short walks to lookouts above cliffs and waterfalls, overnight and longer walks to more remote areas of the park, canyoning, abseiling, rock climbing and mountain biking. A number of adventure tour companies can assist visitors in safely experiencing these activities.3 It is also home to the world's steepest railway, The Katoomba Scenic Railway.
The most famous attraction in the park is the Three Sisters rock formation. Around Blackheath the cliffs are the most spectacular as the rock faces are several hundreds metres tall.3 In 1999, 1.045 million visits were recorded in the park.4 Since then visitor numbers have declined to 563,000 in 2009.4
- Department of Environment Climate Change and Water Annual Report 2009-10. Department of Environment Climate Change and Water. November 2010. pp. 274–275. ISSN 1838-5958.
- "Blue Mountains National Park – History since colonisation". DECC National Park website. Retrieved 2009-04-24.
- Hema Maps (1997). Discover Australia's National Parks. Milsons Point, New South Wales: Random House Australia. pp. 102—105. ISBN 1-875992-47-2.
- "Australia weighs conservation vs tourism in Blue Mountains". cnn.com (Cable News Network). 25 November 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Blue Mountains, New South Wales.|
- National Park Official Website
- Aerial video footage of the Blue Mountains National Park (NSW, Australia) around the Jamison Valley
- Blue Mountains National Park travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Activities and Attractions in the Blue Mountains