On Father’s Day (4th September) I decided we should go for a Blue Mountains Bushwalk. Blue Mountains National Park is World Heritage listed, and contains a diverse range of flora and fauna. It is located about two hours west of Sydney CBD.
This makes them about an hour from my place, and a great spot to get some fresh air and outdoors. There are many trails, and a variety of hikes from day walks to multi-night camping trips. Many tracks are accessible via public transport, and some link train stations together. This allows convenient one-way hiking.
After a hearty breakfast we headed out on the motorway west. About an hour later, we arrived at Evans Lookout near Blackheath. The view from the clifftop is always amazing.
After a few minutes enjoying the warm sun and panoramic views, we set off. Our goal was to walk the Grand Canyon track. And no, that isn’t the Grand Canyon in the picture above.
The track is a really interesting study in the Australian landscape. As you descend from the dry sandstone clifftops into the canyon, you see rapid changes in the plant life around you.
The folds of the land in this area shelter more fertile soil, moist from recent rains. The temperate rainforest native to the area looks direct from another age.
Most welcome, particularly in summer months, are the cooler temperatures. Even though the track is hard enough to keep you sweating, there are many opportunities to pause and admire the sights around you.
I had previously done this walk with a friend a few years ago, when we descended to the valley floor. We covered 20km including some very rough and steep terrain. With the kids in tow, it made more sense to do the 6km walk in about 4 hours.
After the first hour, crossing a creek multiple times, we arrived at the bottom of the track and paused for lunch. I think you’ll agree its a nice spot.
The picture above is the view as you approach from Evans Lookout. The trail across the creek turns right and heads around the loop, back to the carpark. Following the trail off to the left you will be treated to magnificent views, but some tricky footing. Be warned!
The Track Back
After lunch, we headed on via the loop, on a trail I’d not been on before. And I’m kicking myself I didn’t know about it earlier. Though it is much longer than the pre-lunch section from Evans Lookout, it is well worth it.
The Australian continent is quite dry overall, but this day, the recent rain was in evidence. Whether babbling along the creek bed, dripping from the rock above, or pooling under the cliffs, it was nice to see.
As the trail climbed, it moved under a series of overhanging cliffs. It seemed like there was another awesome photo opportunity around every corner. My poor old Nexus 5 started to fill rapidly.
You could often hear water rushing past, but not see it. The sandstone, eroded over millions of years, could only send echoes of rushing liquid life back to us. Around the next bend in the trail, you were suddenly getting soaked from moisture overhead. It was almost magical.
It was a great day out, if a little challenging physically. But a Blue Mountains Bushwalk should be on everyone’s list.
If you’re ever in the area, check out the details about Grand Canyon Track at Wild Walks. They have maps, directions, photos, and points of interest for this track, and many others.