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Australia’s Blue Mountains get new attraction

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Australia has opened a 19-kilometre hiking trail through the famous Blue Mountains in the forest region west of Sydney, connecting the famous Wentworth Falls with the towns of Leura and Katoomba where hikers can spend the night.

Two days are needed to finish the entire Grand Cliff Top Walk, which cost 10 million Australian dollars (6.5 million US dollars) to complete, but people can also take shorter routes. Officials say it is a moderate walk suitable for most ages and fitness levels.

“The Grand Cliff Top Walk provides visitors with a new, adventurous opportunity to connect with nature,” said New South Wales Environment Minister Penny Sharpe.

She hopes that the new hiking trail will attract tourists from all over the world and boost the economy of a region devastated by fires and floods.

In the devastating “Black Summer” bushfire season of 2019-2020, fires raged through much of the natural landscape of the Blue Mountains for weeks. Officials say they used sandstone steps rather than timber to make the new track resilient to future fires.

The vast, rugged region is characterised by dense bushland, steep rock faces, green gorges, waterfalls and eucalyptus forests, to which the Blue Mountains owe their natural blue hue and their name.

There are also thousands of years old Aboriginal cave paintings. The sandstone formation of the so-called Three Sisters is particularly famous.

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