At over 1.03 million hectares of eucalyptus-dominated forest, spread out over eight conservation reserves, the Blue Mountains boasts the accomplishment of being one of the largest protected lands in Australia and has the largest network of walking trails in the whole country. These trails crisscross over hundreds of kilometres with much of the reserve being remote or inaccessible. The biodiversity present in this park is staggering. This includes well over 100 different species of Eucalyptus! The Blue Mountains are home to 10% of the endangered species in New South Wales. Taking that to an even broader spectrum, the Blue Mountains contain 50 plant species that are found nowhere else on Earth! To top it all off, the Blue Mountains are a hotspot of evolution! This forest is considered the best example of the transformation of ancient forests into the modern sclerophyll forests that we see today. This national park is a major centre for diversification. It houses 152 plant families, 484 genera, and 1,500 species. The most plentiful of all is the Eucalyptus plants which dominate Australia and has over 90 species which equates to 13% of the global total. Of course, what is a world-famous national park without the critters who call it home? The Blue Mountains are home to a vast array of species, including the adorable platypus and echidna. This forest contains 52 species of mammals, 63 reptiles, 30 kinds of frogs, and 265 species of birds; this is about one-third of all of Australia’s birds including the famous King Parrot and the Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo. In addition, there are an estimated 120 butterfly species and 4,000 moth species to dazzle your eyes, with their beautiful colours and delicate wings. Fun fact: Hidden somewhere in the Blue Mountains is one of the world’s rarest and most ancient trees, the Wollemi Pine. In 1994, David Noble discovered its existence in the park. Originally thought to have gone extinct 30 million years ago, this was a monumental discovery and the Blue Mountains are the only known location on Earth where wild specimens continue to grow. The exact location remains a well-kept secret.