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Stories from our backyard: Adventure activities in the Blue Mountains

Sep 14, 2021 | Australia, New South Wales

Adventure activities Blue Mountains

Aidan McGarry used to run adventure tours in Guatemala before he repatriated to Australia over 20 years ago. Upon his return he was drawn to adventure activities in the Blue Mountains and consequently took ownership of High and Wild Australian Adventures. The award-winning company was initially started by Australia’s first successful mountaineer who climbed Mount Everest. Known as Sydney’s backyard playground, the Blue Mountains is a World Heritage-listed wilderness where ancient rock formations cast their golden glow over vast canyons carpeted in native bush. Waterfalls plummet into valleys and historic villages are begging to be explored. It’s unquestionably a stunning backdrop for adventure tours! In recent times Aidan has steered his Katoomba-based company to be a leading Blue Mountains adventure tour provider offering Australia’s best canyoning, abseiling, rock climbing and most interestingly, bush survival courses. For those of you that crave some Aussie bush time, then a tour with High and Wild is perfect and a significant adjunct adventure to your Australia and Sydney holiday. 

The Blue Mountains National Park is on Sydney’s doorstep, located within a 2-hour drive or train journey from the city centre. Scattered over more than 260,000 hectares and part of the UNESCO-protected Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, the Blue Mountains National Park is well-known for its dramatic scenery. Expect a natural wonderland of untamed bush, spectacular rock formations and native wildlife. This World Heritage Area offers picturesque towns and villages, as well as activities for all ages and fitness levels from high adventure abseiling, mountain biking, caving, horse-riding, or the simpler pleasures of hiking through pristine scenery. Katoomba, Leura, Wentworth Falls, Blackheath & Mt Victoria are some of the picturesque villages in the region.

Adventure activities Blue Mountains
The Three Sisters, Blue Mountains. Photo credit: Filippo Rivetti

But the Blue Mountains has suffered plenty of late, with the double whammy of the 2019-20 Bushfires and then the onslaught of the COVID pandemic. In the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area over 68% has been fully or partly burnt and over 122 million mammals, birds and reptiles have been impacted. But in a strange way the pandemic has brought breathing space to the region, an opportunity to let nature do its thing and recover from the ravages of the bushfires. It’s interesting how bushfires have played an integral part in the shaping of Australian landscape for millions of years. There is a natural reset after a bushfire, and many of the native plant species are adapted to survive, regenerate, and thrive. And in addition, the local terrestrial wildlife have also demonstrated resilience, and are rebounding with regular and welcome sightings.

Adventure activities Blue Mountains
T3 Trail, Wollemi National Park. Photo credit: Destination NSW

Experience the rugged beauty of the Blue Mountains at their best…

High and Wild’s tours tick all the boxes for awe-inspiring adventure activities in the Blue Mountains. Their tours are one of the highlights of the region as evidenced by all the awards the company has gathered since inception in 1989. Their signature canyoning trips are the Empress or Twister/Rocky Creek day trips of which the former combines both abseiling and canyoning. Expect water jumps, exhilarating swims, water slides, fantastic scenery and most importantly, a gourmet lunch. With a limit of 10 climbers in the group for adults and children 14+, you can expect maximum attention from the fully qualified guides who have a wealth of experience and are passionate about the technicalities as well as the surrounds. Other tour options are the Bush Tucker walk with a specialist guide where you learn the history and food use of many Australian native plants as utilised by the local indigenous peoples. And finally, for families with children 8+, High and Wild recommend an Abseiling & Rock climbing day trip combo. It is a lot of fun and judging by the multitude of comments from previous guests they begin their day with no expectations and finish their day not quite believing what they have done. It’s a life changing event!  

Adventure activities Blue Mountains

Adventure with us & help endangered wallabies…

High and Wild is more than an adventure tour provider…they are passionate about adventure tourism and their environment, but most importantly – they give back. Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies are facing imminent extinction and are members of the same macropod family as kangaroos. They were once common throughout Eastern Australia but now only approximately 20 individuals remain in the wild in Victoria and not many more in southern NSW. High and Wild  donate a proportion of each full day trip fee to Friends of the Brush Tailed Wallaby who are working to protect the Kangaroo valley colony. Funds raised are being used for food drops to remote wallaby colonies. As the bush recovers from the recent fires and food becomes more available, the funds will be directed into other programs supporting these endangered animals. It is all about helping and protecting these loveable wallabies and their habitat for the generations to come.

Adventure activities Blue Mountains

So, with the combination of exciting adventure activities in the Blue Mountains, stunning surrounds and supporting the Brush Tailed Wallabies, High and Wild are a perfect choice. Make sure to include an adventure tour with High and Wild on your next visit…. I know it will be the highlight of your Aussie adventure!


The warmer season (November-April) is traditionally the most popular time to visit. The daytime temperatures range around 25 degrees Celsius and the nights are cooler with a 16 degree average. Perfect weather for all activities.

Good to know:

Located less than two hours drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains offers a natural wonderland of untamed bush, spectacular rock formations and native wildlife. This World Heritage Area is a unique environment. Highlights include spectacular walks, many outdoor activities and picturesque villages with cafes, boutiques, and plenty of art galleries. You could do a day trip from Sydney or stay a few nights to soak up the Aussie bush atmosphere. Apart from your adventure activity with High & Wild, other top highlights include catching the world’s steepest passenger railway at Scenic World, enjoy the views of the famous Three Sisters, explore the spectacular caves at Jenolan Caves, do a night walk to see the Glowworms, don’t miss a hike to Wentworth Falls and top it off with a brilliant view of the Blue Mountains National Park over a lazy lunch at the Conservation Hut. 

Adventure activities Blue Mountains
Scenic World, Katoomba. Photo credit: Destination NSW

And finally:

AET Travel (formerly Australia Expat Travel) specialises in exceptional holidays to Australia and New Zealand. We make it simple with our local knowledge, seamless logistics and trusted advice since 2004. Expect a bespoke itinerary curated with the big picture and the small details. Contact us

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