Start: Kanangra Walls Look Out
End: Kanangra Walls Look Out
Time taken: You could explore the Look Out area for hours or take on one of the hikes that originate here
USP: Incredible views, wildlife, photography
When anyone asks of good places to hike, explore waterfalls and swim in deep, cool plunge pools around Sydney, the answer will invariably be the Blue Mountains National Park. It’s a well trodden trail, that we have spent some time hiking and still have so much more to explore. Places like Wentworth, Glenbrook, Katoomba and Blackheath are all well known gateways to a thousand beautiful walks.
But mention Kanangra-Boyd National Park and most people just give a blank stare and nod.
Tucked away behind the Blue Mountains NP with no public transport access, sparsely populated towns and hundreds of kilometres of empty dirt roads, it’s the more serious, older brother of the Bluies.
This was our destination as the Christmas holidays rolled round and the stars aligned, giving us a few days off work and a friend lending us her Jeep Wrangler (thanks Gilly)! We didn’t realise at the time just how useful that four wheel drive beast would be in getting to our second camp ground. More on that in an upcoming post.
At four hours from Sydney, it’s not somewhere you’d go for just one day. We planned to stay one night in Kanangra Boyd and another night on the Cox’s River on the way back to the Blue Mountains NP.
Hitting the Princess Highway we blasted through the popular Blue Mountains towns, put Blackheath in the rear view mirror and headed into the unknown (to us anyway). We stocked up on some final essentials in Oberon and headed to our camp for the night, Boyd River Camp ground, 6km from Kanangra Walls lookout. The last 30km of the route is on well maintained, but unsealed roads, so be prepared for a bumpy ride.
We quickly made camp and drove the 10 minutes further down Kanangra Walls Road to the look out. The views are truly amazing. Kanangra Walls stretches away to the south, Thurat Walls to the North and the sides of the cliffs drop almost vertically into the aptly named Kanangra Deep. The scene is so vast perspectives seem to shift and change as you stare wide eyed all the way to the horizon at the layers of untouched wilderness.
We returned to this spot several times during our stay. Once in the afternoon, once at sunset and once at sunrise. Each time the light, colours and shadows had shifted, highlighting previously unseen features and the temperatures soared and plummeted with the height of the sun. Our 5am walk to the look out for sunrise was in 10 degrees, starkly contrasting with the day ending closer to 40 degrees.
Boyd River campsite was a perfect place to base ourselves. It has basic toilets and a rain water butt that would need filtering and boiling if you wanted to drink or cook with it. Each pitch has a small fire pit and there is even a large communal rain shelter with it’s own grand fireplace, if things get a bit soggy.
A bottle of red wine between us and a small fire fuelled some great chats that night, as possums played around the tents and owls called from the inky blackness beyond the reaches of the firelight. Excited to try and catch the sunrise we climbed into tents and pulled sleeping bags under chins.
At around 2am, we were snapped awake…
“Did you hear that? It sounded like wolves!”
“There it is again.”
As if to remind us just how much wilderness lay beyond the campsite, our sleep was broken by the sound of a pack of dogs howling eerily somewhere in the darkness. It sounded just like the wolves you see on Canadian documentaries, but this was Australia. Feral dogs? Wild dogs? Dingos? Luckily we never found out, but it was one of the most primal and spine chilling sounds to hear when you’re under canvas in the middle of no where!
With no showers at camp, we spent our final morning hiking down to Kanangra Falls to wash off the dust from the night before. The water was surprisingly cold and our hollering echoed off the canyon walls as we each jumped into the plunge pool.
Heading back to camp we repacked the Jeep and got ready for our next destination, Cox’s River…