Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Blue Mtn (Australia) - Valley of the Waters

Date of Hike: July 2008

On a trip to Sydney, I went for a hike in the Blue Mountains. My cousin was nice enough to take me out to the Valley Of The Waters area near Wentworth Falls. There are a number of hikes in the area, including the Darwin walk which is very close to the train station. The Valley of the Waters hike is located a bit out of town and is best reached by car.

This Book is a great small sized guide of Sydney and short hikes -- including some info on the Blue Mountains.

The Hike starts from the parking lot and the Conservation Hut Restaurant (which has food and drinks -- although is a bit touristy). The hike is listed as "hard" -- since its basically straight down and back up without any easy "out" options.

The hike quickly descends down dirt steps under the eucalyptus trees. The day we went it was a fairly cool winter day (maybe about 60 degrees F). The trail is popular and is well maintained.

There are a couple great look out points just a short distance down from the Conversation Hut.

The view from the Queen Victoria Lookout on a nice clear day...

After the "photo op" areas, the trail quickly descends down a very steep metal staircase. The staircase is narrow and only allows one person to go up or come down. Its well designed and sturdy.

After the second bank of stairs, it leads to a very cool area where the trail goes right into the rock mountainside. This is a great area to take a break, have something to eat or drink. You can also look upon the valley below from here where the waterfalls are located.

The hike continues down to the various falls below. The hike back up is nothing to under estimated for non-hikers, but its easy to take your time coming back up.

Make sure to bring water and sunscreen on this hike.

For detailed information on Blue Mountain hikes, check out this site. There are a couple good books on doing hikes (or "walks") in the Blue Mountains including this Lonely Planet book.

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Area - Valley of the Waters - Blue Mountains (Near Wentworth Falls, NSW)
Trails - Valley of the Waters Track
Elevation - Drop of 265 meters
Length - 1.4 kilometers Out and back
Trail - Dirt trail and steps, metal stairs -- lots of stairs!
Bikes - Not allowed on this hike
View - Queen Victoria Lookout, Empress Lookout, and waterfalls
Getting There - Directions from Sydney
Fee- None, free parking
Other Trails - Lots, and there is a more popular Darwin Trail (which is very accessable from the Train Station)