With the recent spate of storms and rain sweeping through the east coast, the Blue Mountains is looking very green and lush, and the waterfalls are spectacular as they thunder down with water.
Editor’s note: Lisa wrote this article some months ago. If you intend on doing this trail over the summer months, always remember to take lots of water.
My friend Rhys and I recently headed to the Blue Mountains to discover this stunning location. I’ve passed through here once before but never done any of the trails – but now wish I had.
It’s about a three hour drive to the Blue Mountains from Canberra. Just head down the Hume Highway and start heading west from the Eastern Creek area.
We chose to do the Valley of the Waters/National Pass/Wentworth Falls trail which takes you past Empress Falls, Wentworth Falls, under cliff faces, and through spectacular scenery at every turn.
We started from the Conservation Hut at the Valley of the Waters carpark at Wentworth Falls.
Follow the signs to Wentworth Falls, and then turn right onto Fletcher Street to get to the Valley of the Waters carpark.
We started off from the Conservation Hut following the National Pass signs. It’s mostly downhill for several kilometres until you reach the beautiful Empress Falls.
Be careful if it’s been raining, the rocks and stairs are slippery, but there are handrails in the steepest parts.
As you head further down into the valley, you’ll continue to pass waterfall after waterfall. Every spot is beautiful. With recent rain, the roar of the waterfalls can be heard on most parts of the walk.
After a series of waterfalls, you’ll come to a junction where you can continue following the Valley of the Waters trail but there’s lots of stairs and ladders, and on a drizzly day we opted not to attempt the ladders and headed into the National Pass part of the trail.
There’s lots of clear signage along the trails so it’s easy to navigate.
Walking along the National Pass is fascinating. Built into the side of a cliff, the trail was made in the early 1900s using hand tools and dynamite and there are several information signs along the way about how it was built. The trail opened in 1908, and had major rehabilitation works done a few years ago.
The trail will likely start to get busy here so be prepared for the crowds as it nears the middle of the day.
Every part of this trail is interesting. There’s lots of stepping stones along the way and then you’ll have to duck to get under cliff overhangs.
If you started the walk from Conservation Hut, you’ll first get close to Wentworth Falls at its halfway point as the waterfall flows above you.
Then the hardest part of the walks starts as you head up. You’ll be challenged by the steep Grand Stairway, but amazed that it was carved out of rock in the early 1900s. But there are plenty of places to catch your breath and enjoy the views from cliff sides.
Eventually you’ll reach the top of Wentworth Falls and see over the waterfall edge and the valley from a series of stepping stones.
If you’re doing the Valley of the Waters hike, it’s another hour from this point back to Conservation Hut. The next hour is just as enjoyable as the first two with undercliff sections, stepping stones and lookouts.
All up the Valley of the Waters/National Pass/Wentworth Falls track we did was about 7km and took us three hours – but we did stop a lot to take photos.
There are various walks from Wentworth Falls though – one that is only a couple of kilometres and just takes you to the falls and back.
The Blue Mountains National Park has dozens of walks to choose from so it’s worth more than a day trip if you can. The towns of Katoomba, Leura, Lithgow and Mt Victoria are among some of the starting points for walking trails throughout the national park.
For more information on trails in the Blue Mountains National Park, check out the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service page at www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/blue-mountains-national-park