There’s something exhilarating about immersing oneself in the Australian bush. And Autumn is a wonderful time for bushwalking : the air is crisp yet not too cold and dangerous reptiles are beginning to if not already hibernating.
So, a week or so ago, in the midst of catching up with family in Sydney and the Central West, we wanted to take the opportunity to complete a walk or two in the beautiful Blue Mountains National Park.
Initially, we wanted to tackle the Prince Henry Cliff Walk between Katoomba and Leura. But, alas we had not done our research well enough. It was a Sunday and parking in and around Katoomba was a nightmare. We couldn’t find anywhere free to park and had to pay nearly $10 an hour so we could hop out of the car! We settled for a short walk around Echo Point and the Three Sisters.
What did we ever do before without our mobile phones? Not to be denied a challenging walk, Kenn goggled Great Blue Mountain Walks and up popped info and more importantly, images about the the Grand Canyon Walk at Blackheath. As we were spending the night in Blackheath and we had never done this walk, it seemed perfect.
Blackheath is only a few kilometres west of Katoomba. After a brief stop at the Hydro Majestic at Medlow Bath for coffee and cake, we found ourselves at the Grand Canyon car park near Evans Lookout just before midday, ready for adventure. The walk is a 6.3 km loop and should take about 3-4 hours. It begins on top of the ridge, descends via many, many steps to the canyon, follows the canyon for a couple of kilometres before ascending to the top of the ridge, again via many, many steps. The path is quite wide and very well maintained and takes you into the heart of a stunning World Heritage listed landscape.
This is not an easy walk. While the distance is relatively short, the number and nature of the steps would pose a challenge to many. But it is an incredibly beautiful walk that immerses the walker in a uniquely Australian place. Also, it is a walk that is best begun at noon at the latest, especially in the colder months. It would be quite dark down in the canyon in the late afternoon.
Blackheath is definitely worth visiting. The Grand Canyon is not the only bush walk on offer. And Blackheath has lots more to offer the visitor including wonderful food. Perhaps it was serendipity. We couldn’t have asked for a more special day in the mountains.