Greater Blue Mountains
New South Wales is home to the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Contrary to what their name suggests, the Blue Mountains are not a range of mountains but rather one giant sandstone plateau. The wilderness sheltered by this plateau stretches for more that a million hectares, and is composed of an amazingly diverse collection of ecosystems including rain-forests, heath lands and canyons.
The Blue Mountains get their name from the blue haze that hangs over the wilderness. The haze is produced by the sun when it warms the eucalyptus forests and they release their fragrant oil into the air. Early settlers thought that the Blue Mountains were impenetrable, but Indigenous Australians have known their secrets for thousands of years. At least six different Aboriginal language groups have passed down knowledge of the wilderness’ plants, animals, and landmarks in their songs, stories and art.
The World Heritage area is home to ancient plant species thought to be long extinct. One of the most well known is the Wollemi pine. The Wollemi pine has its roots in the time of the dinosaurs. Other rare species found in the wilderness include the spotted-tail quoll, the yellow-bellied glider, and the long nosed potoroo.