Blue Mountains, New South Wales
SO CLOSE TO SYDNEY and so packed with adventure, The Blueys have been a mainstay destination for outdoor enthusiasts for decades. And rightly so; the myriad villages that comprise the Blue Mountains area offer a great base from which to tackle everything from abseiling, canyoning and climbing, through to bushwalking, canoeing and mountain biking. Accommodation ranges from campsites through to luxury B&Bs.
Walking is a Blue Mountains specialty (there’s even an annual walking festival) and there are a huge variety of options. If you’re just after a few hours’ walking, the Grand Canyon track, near Blackheath, is ideal. If you’re keen on an overnighter, then the trek to the beautiful Blue Gum Forest is a no-brainer. You get to experience the sandstone cliffs up close as you make your way down the steep track that starts at Evans Lookout carpark, before following a creek along the valley floor to the campsite.
For rock climbers, there are oodles of routes – bolted and trad – and grades ranging from easy through to truly epic multi-pitches. Your best bet here is to check out The Australian School of Mountaineering HQ in Katoomba to get the best advice from the staff (all super-keen climbers).
For mountain bikers, nothing beats the train-assisted Glenbrook to Woodford trail, where you can complete the ride, then get the train back to the start point – and the nearby awesome food outlets. A weekend really isn’t enough in the Blue Mountains.