Grade: HardAllow: 4h
The cliffs and canyons around Wentworth Falls are packed with adventure for bushwalkers – powerful waterfalls, gorges thick with rainforest, and dramatic walking tracks carved out of the sheer cliff face. If you’re here for more than a quick day trip, this wild and beautiful section of the Blue Mountains is a must!
Most tourists hit this waterfall-rich section of the Blue Mountains via the packed car park above Wentworth Falls. But with the Explorer Bus, you can reach it via a little known (we won’t say secret, but it might as well be!) back door – from the Fairmont Resort, down a quiet bush track, and across the dramatic Lilians Bridge, which strides above deep and mysterious Empress Canyon.
For bushwalkers, the Wentworth Falls area offers options that range from short and easy to long and challenging. But if you want our recommendation, there’s one walk here that – if you’re reasonably fit – you must not miss!
The Valley of the Waters-National Pass-Wentworth Falls walk is, quite simply, one of the most exciting half-day bushwalks anywhere in Australia. (It really is that good!)
From Lilians Bridge, you descend to Empress Falls, a dramatic waterfall that comes pouring out of Empress Canyon. This is the end of the Blue Mountains' most popular and exciting canyoning trip: you can often see groups abseiling down from the lip of the falls.
Empress Falls marks the beginning of the Valley of the Waters, a non-stop series of milky-white waterfalls, huge mossy boulders and deep dark pools set in dense rainforest.
The track crosses the creek a couple of times via sturdy stepping stones (the second time you walk across the lip of another huge waterfall), and then leaves the Valley of the Waters behind to become the National Pass.
If you wanted the definition of the perfect walking track, National Pass would be it. It snakes its way across a natural rock shelf halfway up a huge cliff, and is mostly level, well protected, and comes with non-stop exciting views of sheer rock faces both above and below you.
An hour of overhanging waterfalls and amazing views later, you arrive at the foot of Wentworth Falls – the big daddy of Blue Mountains waterfalls. Soak in the view up the waterfall (and after lots of rain, the view isn’t the only thing you’ll be soaking in), then prepare for the dramatic climb up the Grand Stairway – an amazing piece of track that was carved out of the cliff by hand in the early 1900s.
From the top of Wentworth Falls you can return to Lilians Bridge via the Short Cut Track (stop off at the Conservation Hut Cafe for hot chocolate and cake with a view), or take the Charles Darwin Walk, which follows Jamison Creek past many smaller waterfalls and shady overhangs all the way into Wentworth Falls village.
Trains leave from Wentworth Falls roughly once an hour, for Katoomba and Leura or Sydney.
Time 3-4 hours
Alternative walks in Wentworth Falls
For an exciting walk that doesn’t involve thousands of steps, climb up instead of down when you get to Empress Falls, then follow the Undercliff Track through sections of hanging swamp, dry heath and rainforest rich in wildlife; there are several lookouts that offer great views along the Kings Tableland escarpment and out to Mount Solitary.
After a kilometre or so you join the Overcliff Track, which brings you out at the main Wentworth Falls car park (there’s often an ice cream van parked here on weekends). Walk through to the top of the falls, then finish via the Conservation Hut Cafe and Lilians Bridge or the Charles Darwin walk to Wentworth Falls village.
Time: 2-3 hours