Crossing the Blue Mountains

Since the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, Europeans had wanted to cross the distant blue barrier presented by the mountains. From a distance the mountains looked as if they could easily be crossed, typified by Governor Phillip’s intention, ‘to shortly explore their summits.’ But the Europeans found them to be a region of plateaus, deeply gouged by water into a maze of daunting gorges.

In this course we will look at the heritage of this once impenetrable mountain range and explore our own crossing of it from Emu Plains to Katoomba with an appreciation of history by foot and local transport. Ideal for people wanting to know more about Sydney’s most popular mountain region and walks to explore in the Blue Mountains.


  • George Mackaness Fourteen Journeys over the Blue Mountains (1813-1815) (Review Pub Dubbo 978)
  • Almis Simankevicius Macquarie’s Kingdom (Good Walking Books 2004)
  • Greg Powell Bushwalking through History The Blue Mountains (Macstyle 1989)


  • Early history of European mountain exploration. Reasons for exploration.
  • Red Hands Cave
  • Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson. Aboriginal heritage and walks.
  • The Road across the Mountains - Emu Plains to Katoomba
  • Governor Macquarie’s 1815 crossing.
  • Aboriginal walks. Monuments.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Have a greater appreciation for any journey over the Blue Mountains.
  2. Be confident of undertaking their own such journey by foot or otherwise.
  3. Know the history of the crossing of the Blue Mountains.

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.