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Lifestyle : Blue Mountains Guide
1HERSA1 S006 BOTANIC INSPIRATION FOR YOUR BLUE MOUNTAINS ADVENTURE THE BLUE MOUNTAINS BOTANIC GARDEN MOUNT TOMAH • Magnificent gardens • Breathtaking views • Peaceful walks • BBQ & Picnic facilities • Restaurant Tomah • Jungle Lodge Accommodation • Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Centre Open 7 days (excluding Christmas Day). 10 am -- 4 pm (5 pm during daylight saving). Entry fees apply. Bells Line of Road, Mount Tomah NSW 2758 Tel (02) 4567 3000 COLLECTORS' PLANT FAIR Sydney's Treasured Gardening Event SATURDAY 16 APRIL, 9am-4pm & SUNDAY 17 APRIL, 9am-3pm. 25 Powells Road, Bilpin NSW Featuring 50 stalls offering a range of distinctive & hard-to-come-by plants & accessories. Inspiring Speakers - Costa Georgiadis of SBS Costa's Garden Odyssey, gardener extraordinaire Robyn Brader & landscape designer Myles Baldwin. Entry per person Saturday $12 or $10 prepaid, Sunday $10 or $8 prepaid. Weekend $12 prepaid only. Speaker session $29. T 02 4567 2026, email@example.com, www.collectorsplantfair.com A142901-250311 • Set in the beautiful Hawkesbury Highlands, relax the mind, refresh the soul • • Self contained Bed & Breakfast cottages • • Suitable for couples or families • www.glenhuntlycottage.com.au 02 4567 7757/0428 648 453 Glenhuntly Retreat 6 Friday, March 25, 2011 smh.com.au SPECIAL REPORT A wonderland for walking You don't have to start with a three-day trek. There are plenty of easy strolls to whet your appetite for a walkabout, writes Bruce Elder. Course of action . . . gung-ho hikers can plumb the valley floor while others might prefer a cliff-top stroll. Photo: Kristjan Porm I t is easy to forget, particularly as you sit reading the paper and sipping a macchiato in a pleasant inner-city cafe, that beyond the great urban sprawl, there is a walking wonderland that is the untamed bush of the Blue Mountains. There is something magical about the Australian bush -- the beauty of the flowers, the crackle of gum leaves and branches underfoot, the sense that creatures are eyeing your every move and the knowledge that when you look up to glimpse a kookaburra, rosella or cockatoo, chances are the sky will be so bright and blue, you'll have to squint. Apart from being close to Sydney and having the most spectacular mountain scenery in New South Wales, the Blue Mountains offer a seemingly endless number of great walks, ranging from the easy and relaxing Scenic Walkway, a 2.8-kilometre elevated boardwalk through the ancient Jamison Valley rainforest, to a three-day, 45-kilometre trek from Katoomba to the Jenolan Caves on the Six Foot Track. For thousands of years, the Darug, Gundungurra and Wiradjuri people walked the trails and tracks of the Blue Mountains. In 1813, Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson became the first Europeans to cross the mountains and two years later, 30 convicts under the command of William Cox built a road across the mountains from Sydney to Bathurst. Today, visitors who want to explore the Blue Mountains on foot should start at Glenbrook's Visitor Information Centre, which has an extensive range of brochures and maps plus staff who are eager to offer advice. Alternatively, there is another information centre at Echo Point or the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service's (NSWNPWS)Blue Mountains Heritage Centre at the end of Govetts Leap Road in Blackheath. Publications range from the single-sheet Walking Tracks -- Katoomba to Leura, produced by the NSWNPWS, through to modestly priced publications such as Echo Point and the Three Sisters Walking Track and Visitor Guide, which includes a history of the region and detailed information about its flora and geology. If you don't want to go further up the mountains, there are various excellent walks around Glenbrook, of which the eight-kilometre hike from Glenbrook to Euroka Clearing and on to the Nepean River not only includes the likelihood of seeing golden whistlers, scrub wrens and bare-headed friarbirds but almost guarantees sightings of eastern grey kangaroos as they laze in the shade at Euroka Clearing. These are said to be the closest wild kangaroos to Sydney's central business district. There are so many walks in the Blue Mountains that the only requirement of visitors is to ask: ''What am I trying to achieve?'' The answers are likely to include ''great views'', ''testing bushwalks'', ''a gentle stroll'' or ''the simple pleasure of being out in the Australian bush''. If your primary aim is views, perhaps the best and easiest option is the Prince Henry Cliff Walk from Leura to the Scenic Skyway at Katoomba. This walk is so well maintained that long sections are wheelchair friendly. The viewing points over the Jamison Valley and Kanangra-Boyd Wilderness are so numerous, the NSWNPWS lists no fewer than 19, starting at Gordon Falls Lookout, including Echo Point Lookout and finishing at Cliff View Lookout. The walk also features such iconic landmarks as The Three Sisters, Echo Point and the beautiful and intimate Leura Cascades. For those who are fit and energetic, there are the 896 steps of the Giant Stairway down into the Jamison Valley, followed by a peaceful walk along the valley floor. Although the area around Leura and Katoomba is the tourist heart of the Blue Mountains, the wildness of the region awaits those who drive beyond the Jenolan Caves to Kanangra Walls, which offer spectacular views to the romantically named Mount High and Mighty, Mount Stormbreaker and Mount Cloudmaker. There are short walks from the Kanangra Walls car park, ranging from a 10-minute Lookout Walk or Waterfall Walk and Plateau Walk to two- and three-day walks to Katoomba, Mount Cloudmaker and down the Kowmung River. Whether it is an easy 10-minute stroll on a short section of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk or a cross-country adventure down the Kowmung River, the Blue Mountains offer walks for every level of fitness.
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