The Blue Mountains National Park is a national park in New South Wales, Australia, 81 km west of Sydney, and located in the Blue Mountains region of the Great Dividing Range. The park covers 267,954 hectares, and the boundary of the park is quite irregular as it is broken up by roads, urban areas and inholdings. Despite the name 'mountains', the area is an uplifted plateau, dissected by a number of larger rivers. The highest point in the park is Mount Werong (1,215 m), while the low point is on the Nepean River (20 m) as it leaves the park.
The genesis of the national park was a proposal by early conservationist Myles Dunphy for a Greater Blue Mountains National Park in 1932. This included large areas of what are today the Blue Mountains National Park, Wollemi National Park, Kanangra-Boyd National Park, Nattai National Park along with other smaller National Parks. In 1959 the Blue Mountains National Park was declared. In 2000 it was included as part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
The Blue Mountains National Park lies on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range. The plateau slopes gently down from west to east from a height of around 1,100 m near Mt Victoria to less than 200 m around Glenbrook. There are four major rivers that have most of their catchment inside the park: the Wollangambe River in the north, the Grose River in the centre, and the Coxs and Wollondilly Rivers in the south. The latter two flow into Warragamba Dam, which is located just outside the park and is the major source of drinking water for Sydney. All of the major rivers flow from west to east. The Blue Mountains are part of the Great Dividing Range.
Structurally, the Blue Mountains are part of the greater Sydney Basin. The Sydney Basin consists of layers of sedimentary rocks laid down over the past 300 million years. The Blue Mountains were formed during this time by earth movements which uplifted the western part of the basin. More recently, volcanic flows covered large areas of the mountains in basalt. These have largely worn away, leaving only occasional outcrops on the high peaks.
The Blue Mountains National Park is one of the most popular in Australia. The majority of tourists to the Blue Mountains see the National Park from one of the many lookouts between Wentworth Falls and Blackheath, and many of these never actually set foot in the park. Activities for the visitor include short walks to lookouts above cliffs and waterfalls, overnight and longer walks to more remote areas of the park, canyoning, and mountain biking.
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