Nature conservation

Parks, reserves and protected areas

Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area

An area of one million hectares of vast, ancient and spectacular national park and wilderness, dominated by temperate eucalypt forest was formally inscribed on the World Heritage List on 29 November 2000 marking the formation of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (GBMWHA).

The Greater Blue Mountains Area is a deeply incised sandstone tableland that encompasses 1.03 million hectares of eucalypt-dominated landscape just inland from Sydney, Australia’s largest city, in south-eastern Australia. Spread across eight adjacent conservation reserves, it constitutes one of the largest and most intact tracts of protected bushland in Australia. It also supports an exceptional representation of the taxonomic, physiognomic and ecological diversity that eucalypts have developed: an outstanding illustration of the evolution of plant life. A number of rare and endemic taxa, including relict flora such as the Wollemi pine, also occur here. Ongoing research continues to reveal the rich scientific value of the area as more species are discovered. 

The geology and geomorphology of the property, which includes 300 metre cliffs, slot canyons and waterfalls, provides the physical conditions and visual backdrop to support these outstanding biological values. The property includes large areas of accessible wilderness in close proximity to 4.5 million people. Its exceptional biodiversity values are complemented by numerous others, including Indigenous and post-European-settlement cultural values, geodiversity, water production, wilderness, recreation and natural beauty. See the outstanding natural values for which the GBMWHA was inscribed in the World Heritage List.

  • The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area Strategic Plan [PDF 5.2MB] provides the broad management principles for the area, and establishes the framework for the integrated management, protection, interpretation and monitoring of the values of the eight reserves that comprise the GBMWHA. Land management of the area is carried out by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, which is part of the Office of Environment and Heritage, with additional resources provided by the Australian Government through the Department of Environment.
  • The Vegetation, Fire and Climate Change in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area booklet [PDF 10MB] by Kate Hammill and Liz Tasker summarises the fire regimes and vegetation of the GBMWHA, as well as exploring some of the possible impacts of climate change on its plant diversity. It provides the first complete vegetation map coverage for the GBMWHA, compiled from numerous pre-existing mapping studies completed in recent years, and outlines results from scientific studies of the region's plant ecology, fire regimes, and climate change projections.
  • The Blue Mountains Conservation Society launched the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Experience at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area at Govetts Leap on Monday 29 November 2010. Go to to find a map of the GBMWHA and click on a location to view stunning 360-degree images taken from locations around the Greater Blue Mountains.
  • Meeting updates of the GBMWHA advisory committee which is made up of scientific and community representatives, jointly appointed by the NSW and Commonwealth Ministers for the Environment. The advisory committee provides advice on the protection, management and presentation of the GBMWHA.

More information

Page last updated: 27 November 2015