Just over three hours west of Sydney, Kanangra-Boyd National Park is a lush enclave of majestic views, enticing mountain-biking trails, and stunning spots to sit and simply take in the surrounds. With Boyd River at its heart, here’s our guide to grabbing some mates and making time in your schedule to get off the grid.
Boyd River campground is a fair distance from population, so pack the necessities: sturdy walking shoes; a map; plenty of drinking water, as there’s none available on site; and your own firewood for the barbeques provided. Tip: always check for fire bans before you set out, as you may need to bring a camp stove instead. There is a creek nearby to source more water should you need it, but remember to boil it for at least three minutes before drinking.
Once you’re on the Great Western Highway and have passed the Blue Mountains area, exit left onto Jenolan Caves Road at Hartley. Follow this to the end and turn left onto Kanangra Walls Road. There’s an hour of unsealed road from when you enter the Kanangra-Boyd National Park to the car park for Boyd River Campground. But never fear, you can do it all in a 2WD.
Boyd River Campground
There are 30 free camping sites for caravans, camper trailers and tents here, the entire area surrounded by snow gums. Despite the array of potential neighbours, you might also find yourself joined by possums, wombats, gliders, wallabies and tawny frogmouths.
The campground provides easy access to the Kanangra-Boyd Lookout walk, which is wheelchair friendly and takes only 10 minutes to complete. It offers expansive and majestic views over the Kanangra Walls and Mount Cloudmaker, which – as its name suggests – is often ensconced in the fog.
If you’re up for a more challenging trail, head to Waterfall Walk. While only 1.6 kilometres each way, it takes you deep into the gorge, past Kalang Falls, and brings you out the other side, atop Kanangra Walls. The trail can be very steep and uneven at times, but there are clear steps worn into the natural stones. Safety first: take a moment to fill in the trip intention form with NSW National Parks, hire a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and bring your GPS.
Keep an eye on the skies to spot wedge-tailed eagles, or an ear to the undergrowth to see robins and maybe even the antechinus, a rare marsupial that can be seen here in the spring.
If mountain biking is more your thing, access the Boyd River loop from the campground. At 21 kilometres all up, it’s a good starter trail that should only take a couple hours. There are many little detours along the way, so pack your bathers for when you head down the Morong Falls fire trail – at the end, you’ll be met with a stunning freshwater swimming hole as reward for your travels.
Nearby you’ll find the Mount Emperor Loop cycle trail. This one is definitely for the more experienced. At 12.5 kilometres, it’s shorter but more challenging, crossing swampland and creeks.
When you do have to pack up and leave, make sure to give yourself enough time to explore Jenolan Caves on your way home. There’s plenty to explore on free trails such as the Carlotta Arch walking track to Blue Lake, so don’t worry if you miss out on one of the guided tours through the caves. It’s just another reason to return into the wild again soon.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Wild Turkey.