The Blue Mountains is a show stopper World Heritage listed National Park pleasantly interrupted by a string of charming townships referred to as the ‘City of the Blue Mountains’. Many of these towns sit along the train line but (some don’t): Lapstone, Glenbrook, Blaxland, (Mount Riverview), Warrimoo, (Sun Valley), Valley Heights, Springwood, (Winmalee, Yellow Rock, Hawkesbury Heights), Faulconbridge, Linden, Woodford, Hazelbrook, Lawson, Bullaburra, Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Medlow Bath, Blackheath, Mount Victoria, Bell, (Mount Irvine, Mount Wilson, Mount Tomah).
The heritage of the indigenous Darug and Gundungurra people is evident in numerous rock paintings and carvings throughout the Blue Mountains. Many of these sites are not well signposted or documented but keep a look out for them. If you do find an Aboriginal site, tread carefully and be respectful; these are ancient and sacred sites.
The languages of the Darug and Gundungurra people survive in a handful of the place names in the Blue Mountains.
- Bullaburra – blue skies
- Katoomba (Kedumba) – water tumbling over a hill
- Leura – lava
- Megalong – valley under a rock
- Warrimoo – eagle’s nest
- Winmalee – in a northerly direction
In 1788 Admiral Arthur Philip (Governor of New South Wales and English colonist) named the area Carmarthen and Lansdowne Hills. The names didn’t stick. The mountains are distinctly blue so it was a no brainer. The Blue Mountains is what those ‘hills’ have been called ever since.
The City of Blue Mountains declared itself to be a Refugee Welcome Zone in 2004 indicating a commitment in spirit to welcome refugees into the community.
The City of Blue Mountains has two ‘sister’ cities: Sanda in Hyogo, Japan and Flagstaff in Arizona, United States of America.
The Greater Blue Mountains became World Heritage listed by UNESCO in December 2000.