Do you like waterfalls and stunning scenery from high cliff plateaus? If you answered yes, then head along to the Kanangra-Boyd National Park.
Editor note: Lisa visited the national park in October, when the rain (mentioned further in the post) occurred.
The national park is on the western side of the Blue Mountains and is near the town of Oberon. It’s about a three and a half hour drive out there from Canberra but it’s worth the journey and doesn’t feel that long with all the beautiful scenery.
To get there from Canberra, take the Hume Highway up to Goulburn, go through the town and follow the signs to Oberon and Jenolan Caves.
Once you reach Oberon, you’ll start seeing signs to Kanangra Walls so follow them.
I went out there with my friend Rhys on an overcast day so the road past Oberon was a little foggy but it’s a good road. In winter though, the road is subject to snow and ice so best to make the trip during the warmer months. You’re in the mountains so it can get cold and the weather can change quickly, so make sure you bring warm clothing and wet weather gear.
The last 29km to the carpark for Kanangra Walls is a dirt road but a very good one. Even in drizzly rain, our 2WD easily made it through, just watch out for a few potholes at the start and there are may be some slippery mud patches at the end if there’s been recent rain.
There are three scenic spots to choose from at Kanangra Walls – or you can do all three in a few hours. There’s the lookout point, which even on a foggy day, gave beautiful views along the cliffs and down into the valley. The walks are short and fairly easy.
It’s only a short 10 minute walk from the carpark to the lookout on a flat dirt path.
Next up you can take the walk to Kanangra Falls. It’s marked as hard but only because there’s lots of stairs. Anyone with reasonable fitness should get down and back up in about 30-40 minutes. Kanangra Falls is a nice spot and on a sunny, warm day would be a possible swimming hole. We were the only ones there so it was a relaxing secluded spot.
Once back up from the falls, you can do the plateau walk. This is a lovely and mostly flat walk through the rainforest, which is looking very green at the moment with all the rain.
On the way up to the plateau, don’t miss the short detour to the Dance Floor Cave. This cave was once on a stock route and became a meeting place. Its name comes from the dance platform that was built into the cave in the late 1800s.
After this detour, head up the rock steps to the plateau. The walk isn’t difficult, and it has great views of the surrounding cliffs.
Depending on how far around the plateau you want to walk, allow at least 45 minutes to an hour each way. The walk isn’t difficult, and has great views of the surrounding cliffs.
None of the cliffs in this national park are fenced so be careful if you have small children, but if you’re like me and not scared of heights, you’ll enjoy being able to go near the edge.
Allow two to three hours in this park exploring the trails over the cliffs and lookouts. There are many other walks that can be accessed from the dirt road which are used as fire trails. These are also an option if you want to do some more walking.
There are toilet facilities at the park and also a couple of picnic tables under a large shelter so bring lunch along. There are not many big towns along the way so you might want to pick up food from Goulburn or before you leave Canberra.
There’s also an option to camp nearby with a large camping ground only a couple of kilometres from the lookout and near the Boyd River.
About a 15-20 minute drive from the Kanangra-Boyd National Park once you’re back on the bitumen is Jenolan Caves – but beware it’s a narrow, winding road to get there.
Entry to the caves is by guided tour only and prices start from $35. Cave tours are run on a timetable so it’s best to plan ahead, decide which cave you want to see and check the timetable so you don’t miss out or have to wait hours for the next one. The timetable is available on the website at www.jenolancaves.org.au
If you don’t want to enter the caves, there are a number of walks around Jenolan Caves such as the Blue Lake Loop.