The Blue Mountains is a mountainous region in New South Wales, Australia. It borders on Sydney's metropolitan area, its foothills starting approximately 50km to the west. The area begins on the west side of the Nepean River and extends westward as far as Coxs River.
Consisting mainly of a sandstone plateau, the area is dissected by gorges up to 760m deep. The highest point of the range is Mount Werong at 1,215m above sea level. A large part of the Blue Mountains is incorporated into the Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Site, consisting of seven national park areas and a conservation reserve.
When Europeans arrived in Australia, the Blue Mountains had already been inhabited for several millennia by the Gundungurra people, now represented by the Gundungurra Tribal Council Aboriginal Corporation based in Katoomba, and, in the lower Blue Mountains, by the Darug people, now represented by the Darug Tribal Aboriginal Corporation.
The Gundungurra creation story of the Blue Mountains tells that Dreamtime creatures Mirigan and Garangatch, half fish and half reptile, fought an epic battle which scarred the landscape into the Jamison Valley.
Examples of Aboriginal habitation can be found in many places. In the Red Hands Cave, a rock shelter near Glenbrook, the walls contain hand stencils from adults and children. On the southern side of Queen Elizabeth Drive, at Wentworth Falls, a rocky knoll has a large number of grinding grooves created by rubbing stone implements on the rock to shape and sharpen them. There are also carved images of animal tracks and an occupation cave. The site is known as Kings Tableland Aboriginal Site and dates back 22,000 years.