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The reliably stunning Blue Mountains stay scenic all year round. In winter, the fog gathers, people dissipate and the mountain air is even more crisp and refreshing. In summer it blossoms to life, providing a cooling retreat from the hot concrete of the city. In all seasons, it's a walking wonderland, with options for casual walkers, expert hikers and those who just want a picnic and a stroll.
Detours are in place at some points along the following tracks (repairs need to be made after the bushfire season last summer) but the Blue Mountains region is also experiencing a rejuvenation. The detours shouldn’t deter you at all from taking the trip – just check the advisories on the NSW National Parks website before setting out on your adventure.
This easy track takes around an hour and starts at the surreal Blue Lake at the Jenolan Caves – a man-made, dreamlike swimming hole fringed by palm trees and filled with bright blue water (thanks to limestone deposits). Walk over the rocky grand arch that winds above the lake, bypass a few waterfalls and take a break at the waterfront picnic area. Look out for resident platypuses along the way.
Leura Cascades Fern Bower – 4.5 kilometres (open, with detours in place)
This walk follows Leura Creek and winds around the base of Leura Cascades – a gentle waterfall with an accompanying picnic spot. You can stop at multiple lookout points on your way to the top of a bigger waterfall, Bridal Veil Falls, and enjoy magnificent views of the Jamison Valley. Loop around, or descend into the rainforest and the Fern Bower track. With more waterfalls, lakes and leafy green scenery, this path is moderately challenging and takes around 3.5 hours to complete.
National Pass Track – 4.5 kilometres (open, with detours in place)
One of the region’s most popular walks (and one of the best ways to see the Blue Mountains), this 3.5-hour trek winds through the national park with stunning views of waterfalls and valleys. Begin near Wentworth Falls, and if detours aren’t in place and authorities say it’s safe to do so, climb the Grand Stairway – a man-made, 800-step staircase on the cliff face. From there, you can make your way through the Valley of the Waters (a set of beautiful waterfalls – Empress Falls, Silvia Falls, Lodore Falls) to the Conservation Hut. Stop for a picnic and enjoy the sweeping valley views or loop back around. As long as you’re okay with stairs, this is a relatively easy track.
Full Day or Overnight
Six Foot Walking Track – 45 kilometres (open, with detours in place)
Up for a challenge? Take on the Six Foot trail that begins in Katoomba and ends at the Jenolan Caves. Winding through rainforests and woodlands, this is one for experienced hikers, as the whole route takes two to three days to complete. Start near the Explorers Tree and descend into the Megalong Valley, then head to Nellie’s Glen and walk over Coxs River via the iconic suspension bridge built in 1999. The route is dotted with camp sites – you may only need to stay one night, but just in case, always pack for two.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Tourism Australia. Whether you’re seeking a quick getaway, lazy holiday or epic trek, Australia is a land of endless adventures. There’s never been a better – or more important – time to get out and explore. Take a Holiday Here This Year.