Start: The Conservation Hut, Wentworth Falls
End: Charles Darwin walk
Time taken: 4 hours
USP: Beautiful waterfalls, challenging fun climbs, incredible views.
Distance: 6km round trip (with lots of decent & ascents)
With plans of an over night hike with our mates in a few weeks, we wanted to get some miles in the legs before hand. So with a spare Sunday afternoon we opted for the Wentworth Pass track in Wentworth Falls as a good warm up. The walks in and around Wentworth Falls are a great place to see the Blue Mountains in all their glory and avoid the tourist trap of Katoomba and the Three Sisters. It’s an easy 2.5 hour train journey from Bondi and with lighter evenings starting to kick in, we had plenty of time to enjoy it.
In typical fashion the clouds grew heavier and the clouds ever darker as the train began the climb up through Glenbrook. Beads of rain started to fleck the windows… Arriving at Wentworth Station we stepped onto a rain soaked platform and a light drizzle cooled the air. Coats on, hoods up, we marched down the side streets towards the Wentworth Conservation Hut and the start of what turned out to be an awesome 4 hour stomp.
From the Conservation Hut we headed down the path into the aptly named, Valley of the Waters. While it has been mostly dry in Sydney the last few weeks, the waterfalls out here were in fine form. The hiss of flowing water was all around us, backed by the low rumble of the Empress Falls somewhere ahead of us.
The Empress Falls is the first of many waterfalls on this walk. As we reached the bottom we joined up with the Wentworth Pass running along the Northern edge of the valley floor. The signs don’t seem to be that clear. From the Conservation Hut follow signs for the National Pass, before you reach a fork in the track, above the waterfall. The National Pass continues left along the edge of the escarpment, while the Wentworth Pass continues down to the right, further into the valley.
The trail requires attention as we navigated over boulders, under fallen trees and along the edge of some slippery looking drops. Huge prehistoric ferns erupt out of the loamy soil and grand gum trees tower above us, occasionally giving glimpses of the huge sandstone escarpment to our left. Being at the bottom of the valley the number of people we passed was minimal. For the most part it’s was the three of us and the occasional parrot bursting out of the canopy as we approached.
Two hours in and we started approaching the next big waterfall; Wentworth Falls itself. Again, the sounds of exploding water started to filter through the foliage. It’s great to walk this track with people who haven’t been before to see their reactions. Coming around the last bend the vegetation disappears and the full height of the falls is revealed. The Jamison Creek leaps off the rock ledge some 20 meters above you, exploding in a shallow plunge pool surrounded by a jumble of boulders. You’d be forgiven for thinking mythical creatures live here!
From the Wentworth Falls it’s a steep but enjoyable climb up the cliffs, crossing ledges in the waterfall several times and aided by various steps, ladders and ropes. Don’t worry, you don’t need climbing experience, but plan to take your time up this section, especially on a hot day… There’s a lot of up!
Rather than walk back to Wentworth Station along the streets, we continued through the forest via Charles Darwin walk. A favourite detour of ours for the bird life. The path winds gently uphill, following the quietly murmuring Jamison Creek. Around four hours after leaving the conservation hut we were back at the station with 15 minutes to spare. Just enough time to grab a 6 pack and snacks from the very convenient Bottle Shop!