Time taken: 3 hours (with multiple stops for birds, food and staring in awe)
USP: Stunning boulder strewn gorge and high cliffs
During a recent weekend stay in Wentworth Falls, our Air BnB host recommended another area of the Blue Mountains to explore; Glenbrook. It’s nestled in the foot hills of the mountains, a few stops on from Penrith if you’re coming from Sydney. Our host reeled off a short description but the one word that stood out was ‘untouched’. We had to take a look. The following weekend, with good weather forecast, we packed up the trail mix (and a hip flask) to have an explore.
We jumped off the train at Glenbrook Station with a handful of mountain bikers and some locals heading home. A stark contrast to our experience at Katoomba only the week before. Out of the station we swung right and followed Bruce Street for 10 minutes, walking past beautiful wooden houses with wrap-around verandas and views across the forest.
The trail starts at a visitor centre on the edge of a large car park, suggesting the area does get busy in the summer. But today it was empty. The visitor centre shut. And the trails ours for the exploring.
We first headed to the brilliantly named Jellybean Pool only 1km from the car park, along with a few other people. On a hot summers day, this is probably as far as most families go. The pool actually being a creek with a sand bar that provides safe bathing and easy escape from the heat. But we couldn’t ignore the desire to explore further and deeper into the canyon, so we headed for the Gorge Walking Track.
After 20 minutes of descending we paused to shed a few layers and realised we were surrounded by bird life. Whip-cracking Whip Birds, whistling Yellow Tufted Honeyeaters and twinkling Thornbills pierced through the otherwise total silence that weighed heavy in the gorge. No engines, no voices, no distractions. Just pure, uncensored nature.
Reaching the bottom of the gorge we found the creek and followed it east. Smooth rock extended either side with pot holes and patterns etched into the surface from thousands of years of erosion. The unrelenting effort of the water carving deep into solid stone. Short trees and bushes burst out of the cracks where just enough sediment collects during floods to give nourishment. The landscape adds to the feeling of remoteness and detachment from the real world.
Either side of the gorge, huge, craggy cliffs tower several hundred feet into the cobalt sky. Habitat purpose built for the Peregrine Falcon, which promptly appeared on cue, scything through the cool air and disappearing out of sight. There are countless rocks and boulders to sit on and take in the amazing views while munching on a few sandwiches. Just the murmuring creek and the warbling birds for company.
It didn’t end up being a long walk. We lost hours exploring the boulder strewn creek, stalking brightly coloured birds and staring into pools, oggling Crayfish.While killing time back at the train station we took a short walk up Ross Street and found a number of cute cafes, flower shops and the all important, post walk pub. We’ll definitely be back, with more time to explore further down the gorge.
No doubt the trails will be busier in the summer, but for the winter months, this seems to be a great find!