Blue Mountains NSW, Australia
The Blue Mountains is a mountainous region in New South Wales, Australia. It borders on Sydney’s metropolitan area, its foothills starting approximately 50 kilometres west of the state capital. The area begins on the west side of theNepean River and extends westward as far as Coxs River. Geologically, it is situated in the central parts of the Sydney basin. Consisting mainly of a sandstone plateau, the area is dissected by gorges up to 760 metres deep. The highest point of the range is Mount Werong at 1,215 metres above sea level. A large part of the Blue Mountains is incorporated into the Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Site, consisting of seven national park areas and a conservation reserve. The Blue Mountains area includes the local government areas of the City of Blue Mountains, the City of Hawkesbury, the City of Lithgow and Oberon.
When Europeans arrived in Australia, the Blue Mountains had already been inhabited for several millennia by the Gundungurra people, now represented by the Gundungurra Tribal Council Aboriginal Corporation based in Katoomba. Examples of Aboriginal habitation can be found in many places. In the Red Hands Cave, a rock shelter near Glenbrook, the walls contain hand stencils from adults and children. On the southern side of Queen Elizabeth Drive, at Wentworth Falls, a rocky knoll has a large number of grinding grooves created by rubbing stone implements on the rock to shape and sharpen them. There are also carved images of animal tracks and an occupation cave. The site is known as Kings Tableland Aboriginal Site and dates back 22,000 years.
The Greater Blue Mountains Area was unanimously listed as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO on 29 November 2000, becoming the fourth area in New South Wales to be listed. The area totals roughly 10,000 square kilometres, including the Blue Mountains, Kanangra-Boyd, Wollemi, Gardens of Stone, Yengo, Nattai and Thirlmere Lakes National Parks, plus the Jenolan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve.
Katoomba Scenic World
Katoomba Scenic World is a popular privately-owned tourist attraction located at the southern end of the town of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia, about 100 kilometers west of Sydney. Scenic World is home to a number of attractions, of which the two most famous are the Katoomba Scenic Railway and the Katoomba Scenic Skyway. Other attractions include a theatre, a shop and a revolving restaurant. The Scenic Railway is said to be the steepest cable-driven funicular railway in the world, with an incline of 52 degrees over a distance of 415 metres. It was originally constructed for a coal and oil shale mining operation in the Jamison Valley in the 1880s, in order to haul shale from the valley floor up to the escarpment above. It was converted for use as a tourist attraction prior to World War II.
The Three Sisters is a rock formation in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. They are close to the town of Katoomba and are one of the Blue Mountains’ best known sites, towering above the Jamison Valley. Their names areMeehni (922 m), Wimlah (918 m), and Gunnedoo (906 m).
The commonly told legend of the Three Sisters is that three sisters (Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and Gunnedoo’) lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe) they fell in love with three men from a neighbouring tribe (the Nepean tribe), but marriage was forbidden by tribal law.The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters causing a major tribal battle. Battle ensued, and the sisters were turned to stone by an elder to protect them, but he was killed in the fighting and no one else could turn them back. This legend is claimed to be an Indigenous Australian Dreamtime legend. However, Dr Martin Thomas, in his work “The artificial horizon: imagining the Blue Mountains”, clearly shows that the “aboriginal” legend is a fabrication created by a non-Aboriginal local Katoomba, Mel Ward, presumably to add interest to a local landmark. The story originated in the late 1920s or early 1930s and is unknown prior to that date. The Aboriginal traditional owners, the Gundungurra, have a legend that includes the Sisters rock formation
The Giant Stairway
From nearby Echo Point, a bushwalking trail leads to the Three Sisters and down to the valley floor via more than 800 well-maintained steel and stone steps called “The Giant Stairway”. Then a 1.5-hour walk on The Federal Pass trail leads to the base ofKatoomba Falls and the Katoomba Scenic Railway. Walkers who don’t wish to climb back to the top can take the Scenic Railway back to civilisation for a fee.
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