Little Hartley Historic Village The Zig Zag Railway
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THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
The Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, are part of the Great Dividing Range which stretches the length of
the eastern coast of Australia.
For the early settlers they were a formidable barrier to the west and it was not until 1813 that three
enterprising settlers, Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson, managed to traverse the difficult terrain and
discover the rich hinterland beyond. They are remembered in the names of towns along the main route
which leads to the outback of New South Wales.
The region has become a popular playground for Sydney residents and visitors who travel the 100 or
so kilometres from the city to enjoy the invigorating mountain air, spectacular views, and natural
forest. The main city is Katoomba, at the heart of the mountains, and lookout point for the
'Three Sisters'. an unusual rock formation which dominates the skyline from the vantage point.
An Information Centre will also be found at the lookout. Other principal towns are Springwood
Two roads between Sydney and Lithgow cross the Blue Mountains. Bells Line of Road leads to Clarence,
the departure point for the Zig Zag Railway and meets the road east from Mt. Victoria at Bell and continues
through an area of volcanic soil and high rainfall, clothed in lush, cool-climate vegetation.
Magnificent gardens have been established at Mount Wilson and Botanical Gardens at Mount Tomah.
Orchards border the road as Bilpin is approached. The magnificent views from the mountains
culminate at Kurrajong Heights where the coastal plain can be seen, before a steep descent
to the Nepean river and Richmond.
The Great Western Highway, rises from Lithgow through Victoria Pass to the
historic town of Hartley; then Little Hartley, Mount Victoria, Blackheath and Medlow Bath.
Spectacular views of the valleys are continually seen, with the most popular signposted for
This main road closely follows the route taken by Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson and passes through the attractive
mountain towns of Springwood, Leura, Katoomba and Blackheath. A popular round trip is to take the Great Western Hwy west
through Penrith to Mt Victoria or Lithgow and return via the Bells Line of road through Windsor and Richmond. A
comfortable trip with an overnight stay at one of the many accommodation places along the way.
At Katoomba the Tourist Information Centre should be visited to get comprehensive information about
the mountains. The towns continue through the mountains and many of the residents commute by
rail to Sydney.