About The Blue Mountains
This is an exploration of the best places to visit north-west from Sydney along the Great Western Highway (800 km from Sydney to Bourke). You soon begin to climb into the Blue Mountains, the barrier escarpment which encloses the coastal plain, cutting it off from the hinterland.
The Blue Mountains are deservedly popular for their spectacular scenery. This is crossed by some hair-raising bushwalks for men of iron, and also by some spectacular short walks for civilized human beings. There are also many sights – caves, gorges, waterfalls and so forth – which can be reached by road.
Beyond here you pass through Bathurst, the oldest inland settlement in Australia, which was established for convicts who had forfeited the right to enjoy the seaside. You now take the Mitchell Highway north to Dubbo, a pleasant spot with an exceptional zoo (http://taronga.org.au/taronga-western-plains-zoo) and a hearteningly gruesome old gaol for Aussie Wild West desperadoes (http://www.olddubbogaol.com.au/).
From here the Mitchell Highway continues north-west to Bourke, on the Darling River. Beyond here it’s ‘Back o’Bourke’ – the outback proper. (If you head north to Charleville, you can link up with South Queensland Outback Inland from Brisbane, which returns you to the coast.)
All the main towns are linked by regular bus services. Away from these centres, you’ll need your own transport if you want to explore.