Blue Mountains World Heritage
The Greater Blue Mountains have been listed on the World Heritage register. Sites selected for World Heritage listing are approved on the basis of their merits as the best possible examples of the cultural and natural heritage. The World Heritage List draws attention to the wealth and diversity of the Earth's cultural and natural heritage.
It makes Sydney the only major city in the world to have such a large, internationally protected wilderness as a neighbour.
Blue Mountains National Park is part of the massive Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The area, which was inscribed on the World Heritage list in December 2000, covers one million hectares – around twice the size of Brunei. Half of it is wilderness.
The Blue Mountains have been described as a natural laboratory for the evolution of eucalypts. In the mountains’ diverse plant communities, you can trace the changing nature of the Australian environment – from geological shifts and climate variations, through to the impact of Aboriginal settlement and European colonisation.
More than ninety different eucalypt species are found in the Greater Blue Mountains – some 13 per cent of all eucalypt species in the world. They grow in a great variety of communities, from tall closed forests, through open forests and woodlands, to the stunted mallee shrublands on the plateaus. Among them are rare species like Baeuerlen’s gum.
There are over 1300 species of flowering plants here, including more than 100 species of ground orchids. The park is particularly well known for its outstanding diversity of eucalyptus and acacia trees. It protects around 65 of Australia’s threatened plant species – some of them found only in the Blue Mountains region.
More than 700 Aboriginal sites have been recorded in Blue Mountains National Park – but, given the park’s rough terrain, many more remain undiscovered. The sites include rock engravings, axe grinding grooves, and cave paintings and stencils.