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Blue Mountains Tourist : Summer 2008-09
A significant National Landscape When the Blue Mountains made the World Heritage list, many people thought it was not before time. Now, the area has been given further recognition, being officially declared one of Australia’s National Landscapes. View of Mount Solitary across the Jamison Valley T he National Landscapes program is a partnership between Tourism Australia and Parks Australia. It is designed to “identify the best of Australia’s national and cultural landscapes – inspirational destinations that transcend borders and boundaries”. It is a partnership between conservation and tourism. The program began in 2006 when Australia’s Red Centre became the first National Landscape. This year, another seven – including the Greater Blue Mountains – were added to the list. In announcing the decision, Tourism Australia described the Greater Blue Mountains as “…Australia’s most accessible wilderness, stretching over one million hectares … an inspiring and diverse mix of rainforest, canyons, tall forests and heathlands. “The Greater Blue Mountains offers scenic beauty across diverse landscapes like sandstone cliffs and rugged canyons to waterfalls and caves. The region is also home for the Wollemi Pine, a plant with ancient significance. Food and wine are also important attractions for the region.” Fair praise, indeed. The Blue Mountains cover 1.03 million hectares between 60 and 180kms from Sydney. It received World Heritage Listing in 2000 in recognition of its outstanding natural values and conservation of biological diversity. It contains seven national parks: Blue Mountains NP, Kanangra-Boyd NP, Gardens of Stone NP Wollemi NP, Nattai NP, Yengo NP, Thirlmere Lakes NP and the Jenolan Caves Conservation Reserve. The area is home to six Aboriginal language groups – Wiradjuri, Gundungurra, Dharawal, Darug, Darkinjung and Wanaruah. There is increasing recognition in Australia’s wider society of the long indigenous connection to the land and a respect for Aboriginal spiritual belief and understanding. The area supports more than 100 of the world’s Eucalypt species and more than 400 kinds of vertebrates, including mammals, birds and reptiles. Eco Definition adopted by Ecotourism Australia Eco Certification Program Principles focuses on personally experiencing nature in ways that lead to greater understanding and appreciation integrates opportunities to understand nature into each experience represents best practice for ecologically sustainable tourism positively contributes to the ongoing conservation of natural areas provides constructive ongoing contributions to local communities is sensitive to, interprets and involves different cultures, particularly indigenous culture consistently meets client expectations Phantom Falls, Narrowneck, Katoomba 34 www.bluemountainstouristnewspaper.com.au marketing is accurate and leads to realistic expectations. summer 2008/9 certified tourism “Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation.”