The mountains were formed about 300 million years ago as a shallow sea to the east dumped its sediment, creating sandstone and limestone deposits. Then, about 170 million years ago, a great volcanic uplift formed the Great Dividing Range, which runs along the entire east coast of Australia, forming a barrier between the coast and what eventually becomes a great inland desert.
The area is called the Blue Mountains because it is densely forested by Eucalyptus trees. These emit finely dispersed droplets of oil, which, when combined with dust and water vapour, scatter short-wave light rays into the atmosphere, giving the mountains a blue hue.
The escarpments are populated by all manner of wildlife: sulphur-crested cockatoos, black cockatoos, king parrots, rosellas, lyre birds, kookaburras, gang gangs, currawongs, bellbirds and magpies; not to mention all manner of snakes and lizards, funnel web spiders, echidnas, possums, wombats, kangaroos, quolls, bandicoots, gliders and antichinuses.
The Blue Mountains is home to many creatives – filmmakers, designers, artists and writers, and is the region’s third-biggest economic driver. Creative people are perhaps drawn here by the mountain’s mysterious beauty.
The Blue Mountains are, in a word, awesome.