The dominant tree of Australia is the Eucalyptus species with over 800 in number. We in Australia have another name for them – Gum Trees – due to the oils that weep from the trunk and are also released from the leaves, naturally hovering in the air as microscopic oil droplets. It’s these oil droplets that contribute to the blue haze that is so prominent in our popular day tripping destination from Sydney – The Blue Mountains.
Eucalypts are evergreens, meaning they have leaves all year round, and their leaves are hard, leathery and tough (scientifically known as sclerophylls). This means they do not easily wilt and can withstand the hot and dry conditions that dominate Australia.
When we talk about those hot dry conditions it is important to say that Australia as a landmass has a generally quite mild climate, albeit with seasonal variations. However, there are three dominant climate zones that cover the continent. In the north it’s a tropical zone in the east it’s temperate and in the centre and to the west it’s arid.
In Sydney, where AEA Luxury Tours is based, the climate zone is more specifically warm temperate, meaning rainfall is consistent throughout the year, but we do have a noticeable (but not remarkable) change in the seasons.
In Sydney, at the time of this post we are in the season of Autumn and so as we mentioned with Eucalypts, the leaves aren’t lying on the ground after having wilted and ‘fallen’. Interestingly though, many Eucalypt species will lose their bark in yearly cycles and some will often lose their branches – through times of stress such as drought, wind and heat.
The branches can fall heavily to the ground below, so beware rogue Eucalypt branches on a windy dry day! The Eucalypt species that shed their bark don’t having bark falling so much, instead the bark hangs in trails, pieces and ribbons from branches and trunks.
Autumn in the Blue Mountains region is unique and somewhat different however, because many of the villagers and settlers planted deciduous trees as reminders of cool climate mountain village life back in Europe and the northern hemisphere. Therefore, you could be forgiven for thinking you are in a ‘Fall’ country with rich variations in colour and piles of leaves gathering on the ground as you move through the Blue Mountains villages. Then the moment you move away from the villages you are again surrounded by Eucalypts and their gummy oils.
We captured some images of the recent Autumn colours on recent Blue Mountains day trips. You might call that ‘fall’ colours where you are from.
We welcome you to come and see the contrast of Autumn in the Blue Mountains.