World Heritage Adventure for All

James_Castrission_4.jpg

By Ellen Hill

Churning through the most tumultuous rapids, scaling the most challenging peaks and navigating the roughest terrain on the planet is bliss for high octane adventurer James Castrission.

To others, simply clenching the guardrail at a lookout over jaw-droppingly gorgeous scenery is thrilling enough, and a gentle stroll along a tree-lined path a test to comfort levels.

Both are relative. Both are valid. Both can be experienced in the Blue Mountains.

``There is no definition of what makes adventure to one person and not another,’’ Castrission says. ``So long as people are experiencing nature, stepping out of their comfort zone and having a good time, then that's adventure.’’

And he should know.

James_Castrission_3.jpg

The explorer, keynote speaker and leadership consultant provides adventure-based development programs for corporate groups through his business MyAdventure Group. Harnessing lessons learnt from the most hostile environments on Earth, his programs help develop teams and drive competitive advantage in organisations.

In 2012, Castrission and a mate completed the longest unsupported polar expedition of all time, the first return journey from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back without assistance.

In 2008 they were the first kayakers to cross the Tasman Sea.

Castrission, 39, has led mountaineering expeditions to some of the most challenging peaks around the world, run numerous ultramarathons and sailed to remote destinations.

He holds two Guinness World Records for his accomplishments and has written two bestselling books, Crossing the Ditch and Extreme South.

A former chartered accountant, he discovered his adventurous spirit in his late teens and early 20s when he and mates headed up to ``the Blueys’’ for a weekend of rock climbing, canyoning and bushwalking.

The trips grew in scale and size and Castrission travelled the world ``but this always felt like it was going to be home one day’’.

``All the valleys, the escarpments, the nooks, the crannies were the places I challenged myself physically in the outdoors while always being completely in awe of the beauty of the World Heritage Area, which is the defining thing about this place.

``I think the soul of my heart is probably in the Wolgan Valley, and I’ve spent weeks if not months of my life sleeping in the dirt and drinking out of the creeks in the Grose Valley.’’

These days, Castrission focuses on sharing the Blue Mountains wilderness with corporate groups and clients and having pint-sized adventures with his wife Mia and two small children.

``To really connect with the land, you need to get that dirt underneath your feet. You need to get out there and step a little bit off the beaten path - not literally, just head out into the bush and experience what this place really is all about.

``The more you can sweat, the more you can toil, the more you can get your hands dirty with the place, the deeper the connection with the land will be.’’

Castrission urges visitors to stay for several days in the Blue Mountains and explore different areas such as Govetts Leap and Evans lookouts at Blackheath, the Grose Valley and the Grand Canyon Track bushwalk, and Grand Cliff Top Walk from Evans Lookout to Govetts or Pulpit Rock.

He also encourages guests to sample local food and wine, and head to the Megalong Valley wineries with its vineyards ringed by escarpments.

``If you do the rushed day-trip, you lose the magic of what happens at night, whether it be around a campfire or looking up at the stars,” he says.

``That connection comes over a number of days.’’

Just 90 minutes from Australia’s largest city, the Blue Mountains caters for adventurers of all fitness levels.

``A couple of years ago, we had about 200 non-English speaking Chinese come up for a couple of days to spend with My Adventure Group.

``Seeing stars for the very first time and having dirt underneath their feet on a bushwalk was the most hardcore crazy thing they had ever done in their life.

``They were live streaming to their families back home. They could not believe the beauty of seeing stars above them because of the smog in the big cities in China, and the pavements everywhere.

``For them, that was as hardcore as they needed.

``Then you've got the other end of the spectrum with world-class climbing, some canyons where you can lose yourself for a number of days and bushwalks for multiple weeks.’’

  • Looking to invigorate and inspire your team? Book a multi-day adventure-based corporate development program with MyAdventure Group in the Blue Mountains.

T: 0433 155 633

W: www.myadventuregroup.com.au

Blue Mountains Adventure Company

3-day Iconic Blue Mountains Walk

Immerse yourself in the green lungs of Sydney on a small group walking adventure through the upper Blue Mountains.

This outdoor experience is for hikers able to walk over rugged terrain with some steep ascents and descents.

Led by knowledgeable and passionate guides, the adventure takes in the region’s best walks and includes a hearty gourmet trail lunch each day before retiring to the comfort and yesteryear elegance of the Carrington Hotel at night.

The package includes national park entrance fees, transport, two breakfasts and one dinner.

Bookings: https://bmac.com.au/walking/the-iconic-blue-mountains-walk

2-day Rope and Ride (in conjunction with Blue Mountains Bikes)

Plunge into the depths and climb the heights of the Blue Mountains in a ropes adventure, choosing from a range of picturesque seasonal locations.

Then explore the lengths of one of the many scenic cycle trails on an e-bike or hardtail front suspension mountain bike the next day, with options tailored to your skill and fitness level.

Upper Blue Mountains accommodation and transport can also be organised.

Previous abseiling, canyoning and/or either indoor or outdoor climbing experience is recommended, as well as capability to cycle on uneven, at times rough terrain.

This adventure includes a hearty gourmet lunch both days, equipment and insurances, national parks fees and complimentary sweets and chocolates.

Bookings: https://bmac.com.au/blue-mountains-canyoning/rope-ride-2-day-blue-mountains-adventure

High_And_Wild_Abseiling_1_1.png

High and Wild Australian Adventures

T: (02) 4782 6224

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

W: www.highandwild.com.au

Experience the excitement of a Blue Mountains canyon in Summer.

Summer tours (November – March) to canyons are suitable for everyone from beginners to experienced outdoor adventurers and take in amazing landscape features carved deep into the sandstone plateau.

High and Wild offers a range of other activities including abseiling, rock climbing and bush survival skills.

Leading Blue Mountains adventure tours since 1989, the company has been operated by the one owner for the past 25 years.

Mention ``Summer Refresh’’ when you book a group of five or more for a 10% discount.

Free gourmet lunch on full-day tours.

 Wolgan_Valley_Eco_Tours.jpg

Wolgan Valley Eco Tours

T: 0439 464 660

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

W: www.wolganvalleyecotours.com.au

From nocturnal wildlife encounters with wombats on the Wollemi Twilight Wildlife Tour to the illuminating wonder of the Glow Worm Tunnel Hike, the best way to explore the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is on foot.

Passionate local Wolgan Valley Eco Tours guides leading award-winning guided walks guarantee a memorable experience of a less crowded area of the World Heritage Area. Perfect for visitors seeking to get away from it all.

Uncover ruins and hidden stairways on the Newnes Ruins Walking Tour or discover the Gardens of Stone’s most iconic landmark, Donkey Mountain, and learn about the history, ecology, flora and fauna, climate and geology of the remarkable landscape.

Advanced Ecotourism credentials, personalised service and a focus on small groups ensures a unique experience with nature.

 Jaydid_WonderofWaterfalls-4.jpg

Jaydid Photo

P: 4786 0476

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

W: https://bluemountains.photography

(Pic: https://www.dropbox.com/s/us5l494t8jc73ly/WonderofWaterfalls-4-CMYK-175x120x300dpi.pdf?dl=0)

Grab your camera and capture the magnificent natural beauty of the Blue Mountains on a memorable photography tour. 

Be expertly guided to unforgettable locations and receive professional coaching on landscape and nature photography techniques while immersing yourself in the natural environment. Marvel at towering sandstone walls and plunging valleys from clifftop lookouts, tumbling waterfalls flowing deep into fern and moss-lined gullies, sclerophyll forests and rainforests.

Create the story of your imagery as your knowledgeable guide provides interpretation as you travel. Even non-photographers will gain a deeper appreciation of the natural and historical values, geology, ecology, flora and fauna of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

Beyond the Blacktop 4WD Tours

T: 0430 348 616 or 0424 448 024

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

W: beyondtheblacktop4wd.com

Have a family car or work ute with 4WD that’s never been off road? Tag along with the experts to explore the landscape over one or two days with overnight camping or pub accommodation.

Learn 4WD basics, safety and other basic skills like shallow water crossings, driving on different terrains and simple recovery techniques.

Don't have a 4WD? Experts will drive you to sites such as glow worm tunnels, Lost City rock stack formations, Capertee Valley and gold rush town Sofala. With hundreds of kilometres of fire trails and tracks, one or two-day custom trips can be organised.

Short on time or after something less adventurous? Explore the landscape in an open-air vehicle with unparalleled views on a Wombat Adventures tour.

Tours also suitable for birthday parties, buck’s nights, school formals, special events and local short tours.

 tim_tranter_01.jpg

Tread Lightly Eco Tours

T: 0414 976 752

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

W: www.treadlightly.com.au

Discover remote wilderness on little-known historic tracks away from typical tourist areas on an ecotourism bushwalk or luxury 4WD remote area sightseeing tour.

Experience the best ancient rainforests, towering waterfalls, glowing escarpments and plunging canyons of the Blue Mountains with an interpretive guide knowledgeable in local geology, Aboriginal culture, astronomy, venomous creatures and the unique ecology of the UNESCO World Heritage-inscribed region.

Breakfast with wild kangaroos at dawn or take a glow worm night hike to discover the solar system.

Tours are tailored to your interests with options to expand itineraries over several days.

Led by head guide, teacher and industry leader Tim Tranter, award-winning Tread Lightly Eco Tours just been included in the Ecotourism Hall of Fame for more than 20 years of advanced eco-tourism and sustainable business.

Scenic World

Bookings: https://www.scenicworld.com.au/tickets

Take in World Heritage panoramas with a return trip between clifftops on the Scenic Skyway, descend into the Jamison Valley on the world’s steepest train, stroll under a temperate rainforest canopy on the Scenic Walkway and glide past ancient sandstone cliffs, the Three Sisters and Orphan Rock on the Scenic Cableway.

Clinging to the side of a towering cliff, the family-owned business is focused on minimising its carbon footprint and serving as environmental stewards for future generations, with that obligation to value and protect the natural environment stipulated in its constitution.

Scenic World is a Green Travel Leader accredited by Ecotourism Australia for Advanced Eco-Tourism and regularly monitored by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. It has also achieved gold member rating with the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute’s Low Carbon Living Program.

Blue Mountains Explorer Bus

Tickets: https://www.explorerbus.com.au/

Environmentally-conscious travellers can explore the Blue Mountains of NSW with a clear conscience after Blue Mountains Explorer Bus became the first tourism operator in Australia to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

The red double-decker sightseeing bus was the first tourism operator in the country to be certified under the Australian Government’s Carbon Neutral Program as 100 per cent carbon neutral.

The hop-on/hop-off service operates on a 37-stop route around Katoomba and Leura every 45 minutes from 9.15am to 4pm weekends, public holidays and school holidays.

National Parks & Wildlife Service

T: (02) 4784 7301

Recovery, the story of fire in the Blue Mountains

The 2019 bushfires had a devastating impact on the Blue Mountains National Park, with 80 per cent of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area significantly damaged.

On the flip side of devastation is a story of resilience and recovery.

During the 3km guided group walk, find out how the bush is recovering from the most extensive fire in living history.

See for yourself impacted areas of the bush and hear from NPWS rangers how the Blue Mountains has adapted over the millennia to recover from fire and thrive because of it.

Celebrate Yulefest in the Blue Mountains
Bloomin' Blue Mountains in Spring

Comments

 
No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Recent Articles

08 March 2022
07 March 2022
07 March 2022
17 December 2021

Subscribe

Receive Blue Mountains deals, travel inspiration, upcoming events and more...

Subscribe
Visit the Blue Mountains Magazine

Visit the Blue Mountains Magazine