Walks Around Wentworth Falls

Topo Maps: KATOOMBA 1:25000 Second Edition
The first place to visit is the 'Conservation Hut' (K555655). Driving up the highway from Sydney turn left at the second set of traffic lights into Falls Road. Continue along Falls Rd for 1.25km and turn right into Fletcher St. Drive 750m to the end of Fletcher St and "Bingo!", you're at the Conservation Hut (there was an old weatherboard hut here until the Blue Mountains City Council handed the area over to the National Parks and Wildlife Service).There is a walks information signboard on the hut wall just to the left of the entrance and the shop itself has pamphlets, books, maps etc as well as being an excellent spot to have a cuppa and indulge in their scrumptious food. I know some ladies who congregate here on Tuesday afternoons at which time it is dubbed the 'Conversation Hut'. There is a veritable maze of tracks around here and it is well worth obtaining a sketch map from the shop or better still Jim Smith's book "How To See The Blue Mountains" which has a very good sketch map of this area.

1.National Pass. Allow 4hrs. Medium.
For mine this is the best walk in the area with some of the most spectacular scenery in the mountains. Head down the track from the 'hut' till you reach the signposted track junction which indicates two routes into the Valley of the Waters. The track on the left enters via Empress Lookout and a set of steel ladders . Have a short break in the Valley of the Waters below Empress Falls and soak up the atmosphere. The track soon crosses the creek using stepping stones before coming to the signposted junction with the Wentworth Pass track.The National Pass track to the left continues along the narrow ledge between the top and lower clifflines. The walk keeps going for the next 1.5k to the base of the first drop over Wentworth Falls. After a photo stop cross over below the falls and take the steep, spectacular climb out via stone steps cut out of the cliff face. The barrier fence on one of the intermediary lookout ledges is quite dangerous, consisting of poles made from old, rusty light gauge railwayline with loose wire mesh fencing in between. Warn your children not to lean on this fence.

The magnificent Empress Falls, Valley of the Waters. © A. Wells

The heavy steel cable running through the top of the poles is actually broken and loose and should soon be replaced by NPWS. The main track takes you to the top of the falls and back to the hut via a choice of routes. If you have the time and energy I would recommend either the Overcliff or Undercliff walk back. Failing that take the track out to Falls Reserve via Weeping Rock and then the shortcut track in the northwest corner of Circular Drive(K560650). I must do this walk again soon!

2. Wentworth Pass. Medium.
It's a long time since I did this walk but from memory it was quite pleasant but nothing particularly memorable except for the awfully steep and rickety ladders known as Slack's Stairs which were replaced with sturdy metal steps by NPWS quite a few years back. Follow the walk directions as for National Pass but take the right hand descending track at the signposted junction with the National Pass track as described above. Wentworth Pass basically follows the same route as National Pass but at the bottom of the cliffs and rejoins the National Pass via Slack's Stairs after climbing up from near the bottom of the main falls. Because of Slacks Stairs this walk is not for the faint-hearted.
Wentworth Falls 3.Circular Drive, Weeping Rock, Queen's Cascades, Fletcher's Lookout, Undercliff Walk, Overcliff Walk. Easy/Medium.
Circular Drive is at the end of Falls Road. Park your car here and walk to the lookout in the southeast corner of Circular Drive. This is well marked and has a large map and information board. Take the signposted Weeping Rock track just to the left (east) of the lookout . After descending the steel steps beside Weeping Rock ascend above the creek and follow the track down to the stepping stones which cross Queen's Cascades. From here backtrack till you come to the first track on your left (K566648) which takes you to Fletcher's Lookout with excellent views of the falls to your left. From here you can continue along the Undercliff walk to Prince's Rock and ever on for the next one and a half kilometres or so until you eventually return to the Conservation Hut. Alternatively, from Prince's Rock you could take the next right turn (K563648) on a track which climbs back up to the Circular Drive but then you miss out on most of the lovely Undercliff walk. At the end of the Undercliff walk the short side-track to Den Fenella is worth doing.

Wentworth Falls from Rocket Point. © A.Wells

From here go back to the Undercliff track and then continue onto Breakfast Point Lookout and then along the cliff edge to Lyrebird Lookout. From here you can take the northerly track which soon (within 100m) crosses a small stream and turns east along the cliff edge to Queen Victoria Lookout. Alternatively you can take the right hand track just after crossing the stream which will take you back up to the Conservation Hut. From the Conservation Hut take the signposted shortcut track back to the northwest corner of Circular Drive.

4. Water Nymph's Dell. Easy.
Coming up the highway from Sydney turn right (North) at the first set of traffic lights into Station St. (K567666). Continue past the shops and go over the railway overpass bridge and take the immediate turn right into Railway Parade. Continue for about 950 metres till you come to the signposted Water Nymph's Dell walking track which initially is a dirt road running behind some people's back yards. Once you get down to creek level the walk is delightful with a lovely waterfall and associated pool which would make a nice cooling off spot in summer. From the creek the track climbs up to Westbourne Ave as indicated on the topo map. If you have two cars it would be worth leaving one here before beginning the walk. Otherwise just return the way you came.

5. Conservation Hut, Valley of the Waters, Vera Falls, Hippocrene Falls, Wentworth Pass track, Slacks Stairs, National Pass track, QueensCascades, Conservation Hut. Medium. Experienced leader. Allow about 5-6hours.
Follow the directions above for Walk 2 "Wentworth Pass" but where the Wentworth Pass signpost directs you back over to the left(east) side of Valley of the Waters Creek(K554647) ignore this and continue down the right(west) side, crossing a small creek soon after. Continue following the track for another 200 metres on the west side through very pleasant rainforest till you cross another small stream and you see the sign to Roberts Pass on your right. The main track is a little vague here but basically drops to your left down to the main creek after 100 metres or so. The creek crossing here is very vague and could do with some marking or signposting but the track is clear once you pick it up on the western side. The track continues for 300 metres or so before zig - zagging back down to the creek and the bottom of Vera Falls which are quite high. I should mention that you will have already passed a few minor but pretty falls and cascades by now . I missed the side track to the top of Vera Falls but had no difficulty getting to the base of the falls. After a break and photos backtrack a short distance and you'll see an obvious track which you ignored on your way down to the creek. This track initially appears to follow the creek but actually takes you across to Jamison Creek after crossing DenFenella creek. Someone (Jim Smith I suspect) has kindly marked this vague track with yellow, square pieces of tin nailed to trees. Once you come to Jamison Creek the track heads upstream and you soon come to Hippocrene Falls. For some strange reason these pleasant falls are not indicated on the Katoomba topo map. The track climbs up to the left from the base of the falls and you can see another lovely cascading waterfall to your left on Den Fenella Ck. The track basically just follows Jamison Ck from now on till you get to the base of the final drop of Wentworth Falls. This is a great spot to have lunch and a refreshing swim/wade in the large shallow pool at the base of the falls if you are as hot as I was on Feb. 17th '01. From here the track climbs up on your left to join the Wentworth Pass track which climbs up to Slack's Stairs etc. See the walk description above for Wentworth Pass to finish off this trip.