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The Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia

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The Blue Mountains are a range of hills and mountains to the west of Sydney, Australia. In many ways they are an undiscovered jewel, ignored by the tourists flocking to Bondi Beach or the Opera House. They are well worth a few days of anyone's time and effort, as there is a lot to see and do. If you are interested in nightlife then it is not the place for you, but anyone who wants to get close to a beautiful and unspoilt piece of nature need look no further.

The first thing that you notice, particularly in the morning, is the translucent blue colour that is created by the Sun burning the eucalyptus leaves. It is a natural wonder of the world that takes your breath away.

The Three Sisters are a configuration of rocks that became the basis of an Aboriginal legend. Three sisters (Meenhi, Wimlah and Gunnedoo) lived with their father Tyawan, a witch doctor. One day he annoyed the ferocious Bunyip who ran after his daughters. He pointed his magic bone at them and turned them into rocks to keep them safe. The Bunyip chased Tyawan who was forced to turn himself into a lyre bird to escape. He dropped the bone in his haste to get away and has been searching for it ever since. The Three Sisters themselves stand near modern day Echo Point at Katoomba, waiting for their father to release them from their spell.

The Blue Mountains were an almost insurmountable obstacle to the building of a cross country railway from East to West. An Italian engineer came to the rescue by cutting a track into the rock in the shape of a letter Z. The Zig-Zag Railway is an absolutely fascinating trip thanks to the members of the preservation society who explain the ins and outs of the railway with enthusiasm and humour. It is fairly priced and a genuine treat for boys of all ages who love trains.

Sadly the Blue Mountains have been ravaged by the bush fires that have raged around Sydney, but it is still worth a visit. So drag yourself off those beautiful beaches and see a true place of beauty and peace.

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