Tim Tranter’s 40 years of living in the Blue Mountains makes him a formidable guide to this World Heritage-listed wilderness area (which begins about a 90-minute drive or train ride west from Sydney). The most famous Blue Mountains sights—the sandstone cliffs at Katoomba, including a series of dramatic spires known as “the Three Sisters”—are just the tip of the iceberg here; the 2.5 million acres include verdant blue gum (eucalyptus) forests, rushing rivers, plunging waterfalls, and steeply pitched gorges and canyons. Tranter takes only small groups (up to six people) on guided walks around different parts of the wilderness; they range from easy two-hour ambles to strenuous full-day treks.
Tip: It may be a fairly easy day trip from Sydney, but trust us, you’ll want to stay in the mountains overnight. Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa (www.lilianfels.com.au) is a worthwhile splurge.