Where most Blue Mountain journeys begin: from the townships high on the Blue Mountains Range. This long and winding watershed divides the Coxs River from the Grose River, and swells to a high, cliffbound plateau between Lithgow and Wentworth Falls. The plateau bushland is a rolling mix of dry forests, swamps, windblown heaths and ferny glens cradled between wet cliffs.
The greatest surviving wilderness in the east Australian mainland, a haven for threatened species and home of the Wollemi Pine. A vast tangle of dry bush ridges and winding gorges with ochred cliffs, rainforest creeks and clean water, punctured with volcanic peaks and necks. (For simplicity, this 'Wollemi' gallery takes in all national park areas north of Bells Line of Road, including a section of Blue Mountains National Park.)
The name says it all: both gardens and stone. Remarkable ironstone formations fringing the Wolgan Valley, the Capertee Valley and the nearby Great Dividing Range. Some parts are protected in Gardens of Stone National Park, Wollemi National Park and Mugii Murum-ban State Conservation Area, but large areas are still unprotected - see the Threatened Gardens of Stone gallery.
Large areas of this amazing landscape on the western escarpments of the Blue Mountains are threatened by mining, logging and destructive trail bike activity. The Gardens of Stone Stage 2 reserve proposal takes in the pagodas and forests of the Wolgan, Ben Bullen and Newnes State Forests. Open cut coal mines threaten to destroy large areas piece by piece, while lax management gives open slather to damaging recreation.