A short drive from Sydney’s outer metro area are the Blue Mountains: an undulous range of sandstone escarpments, gorges, rivers, rock formations and waterfalls, all covered by a thick carpet of eucalypt-scented Aussie scrub. From the best vantage points in the area, these mountains seem to stretch on forever.
Part of the Great Dividing Range – the world’s third-longest mountain range, and a thing of great national pride and beauty – the Blue Mountains get their name from the purpleish hue of the eucalyptus trees, as noted by the area’s early colonial explorers: Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson.
How this trio managed to navigate such unforgiving terrain – they were the first colonists to cross the range – is inconceivable. This serene yet treacherous area, like much of the Australian bush and outback – still regularly takes the lives of visitors through falling, drowning, starvation, and overexposure.