THE BEAUTY OF THE BLUE MOUNTAINS

Since moving to New South Wales, I have been able to travel to many of the National Parks throughout the state. Each Park has its own appeal and personality, which makes exploring them so much fun. The Blue Mountains National Park is definitely high on my favourite places to hike (and now mountain bike) and a recent trip up to Blackheath for the weekend was full of both activities.

Blackheath is a great base to explore the Blue Mountains. It’s a beautiful small mountain town within close proximity to many hiking/cycling trails and only a couple of hours drive from Sydney. Accommodation options are plentiful, with budget, mid and luxury all on offer.

For this trip, on day one we chose the Burramoko Ridge (Hanging Rock) cycle trail, which is a 10km return trip. It’s a scenic ride or hike, primarily on fire trail. We chose to mountain bike this trail, as we were keen to test out our new bikes and it was definitely a fun ride. There was a good gradient of up and downhill sections and lots of water bars, which made it even more fun. The surrounding nature along the trail was stunning too.

I’m a mad lover of wildflowers and I was amazed to see clusters of Waratahs in bloom along the trail, which were in contrast to the blackened trees, burnt from a major bushfire in 2006.

When we arrived at the top of the Ridge, Baltzer Lookout, we were blessed with a majestic view, which opens up over the Grose Wilderness. My advice is to be careful when taking images near the Ridge edge. It’s a sheer drop and I found myself getting a little too close at times and felt instant vertigo.

Hanging Rock Trail

From the Ridge, we locked our bikes and took a short hike to the Hanging Rock. It’s steep, with a 1 metre jump across to the Rock for those who dare. I hear sunrise is the time to go for those ‘it’ shots. We spent the good part of the morning exploring the Ridge and then rode back to our hotel. The afternoon was spent relaxing, followed by dinner at the local pub.

Day two took us to explore the Royal Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah. I was desperate to see the Puya plant in bloom, a gorgeous turquoise flower, as it’s a rare site and I didn’t want to miss out seeing it. It certainly lived up to its reputation as having a beautiful bloom. Once I checked off seeing the Puya from my list, we meandered around the Garden, enjoying a lot of Australian natives in bloom and taking in the views from the balcony of the Visitor Centre. You can easily spend a full day at the Garden with its large varieties of Australian and International plants, blooming throughout the year.

Day three came along too quick, as our little getaway was almost over. It was the drive back home, and planning our next itinerary to the Blue Mountains.

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