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Australia’s Blue Mountains: Forests, Cliffs, and Waterfalls

Not technically blue (nor actually mountains), Australia’s Blue Mountain area gets the name from the blue haze that hangs over it (caused by the eucalyptus leaves in the forest). The whole area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to the unique vegetation found in the region. It’s one million hectacres of forests, sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, and Aboriginal history.

Hop aboard the Zig Zag Railway, a vintage steam train following the original scenic route through the Blue Mountains.

There’s plenty to see if you explore on foot, as well: natural formations like the Three Sisters, the jaw-dropping Natural Pass (a trail along a cliff’s edge), waterfalls galore, and Aboriginal sites like Red Hands Cave.

Adrenaline junkies will be in heaven with all the adventure sports on offer here, including the highest continuous rappel in the Southern Hemisphere, rafting, mountain biking, and much more.

Where Is it? New South Wales, Australia. Fly to Sydney Airport (check prices).

Where to Stay? At the former historic country mansion turned hotel, the Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort and Spa.

What Else Should I Know? During the winter months, June through August, the locals put on a Yulefest celebration with traditional Christmas roasts and fires.

Who’s it for? Hikers, photographers, adventure-seekers.

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