|Maps:||LPI Katoomba 8930-1S 1:25000|
|LPI Mount Wilson 8930-1N 1:25000|
The Blue Gum Forest is the spiritual home of bushwalking in NSW, and maybe even Australia. Saved from the axe in 1932, it has been the focus for many subsequent conservation campaigns. Despite being burnt in 2006, it has recovered well.
This walk descends into the Grose Valley via the Rodriguez Pass Track, and leaves it by Perrys Lookdown. It is best in spring or autumn.
Coming from Sydney along the Great Western Highway, turn right at the set of lights in Blackheath, and follow the road to the end at Govetts Leap lookout.
If you are catching the train, alight at Blackheath, and head right out of the station. Cross at the lights and continue down the road for 3km to the Govetts Leap lookout.
From 29 Aug 2004, last checked 29 Aug 2004
Day 1: Govetts Leap to Acacia Flat (11km, 660m descent, 4-5 hours)
Start the walk at Govetts Leap lookout. Govetts Leap was named after William Govett, one of the first surveyors of the upper Blue Mountains. To dispel any myths, it wasn't named because he jumped off the cliff at this point. A 'leap' is believed to be a Cumbrian word for a waterfall, so technically it refers not to the lookout, but to the falls in Govetts Leap Brook - which were at one point known as Bridal Veil Falls, but renamed to avoid confusion with the falls of the same name at Leura.
From Govetts Leap, head along the cliff top track towards Evans Lookout. Shortly the track heads steeply downhill and crosses Govetts Leap Brook, which trickles off the edge of the cliffs just downstream. The falls that you can see from the lookout up the hill are Govetts Leap, the highest in the mountains at 180m. Continue up the hill and cross Hayward Gully on the way along the cliff tops to Evans Lookout for more good views of Govetts and Greaves Creek.
Take the track towards the Grand Canyon. This heads down a gully with magnificent eucalypts, and in to a narrow cleft. Follow the track through the gorge to Greaves Creek, and after crossing the creek, turn left. After a short distance, the track crosses back to the left side of the creek and descends below Beauchamp Falls. There are some nice boulders to sit on for a break below the falls, and the layering of the rock on the walls is very interesting.
The track continues steeply down the left side of the creek, crossing just below Campbells Falls, and then less steeply to cross back just before the junction with Govetts Creek. There are some nice pools in the next section to Junction Rock which would be good for swimming in summer.
Cross Govetts Leap Brook at Junction Rock and continue for about 30-40 mins to a grassy flat with a stand of blue gums. At the end of the flat, the track climbs steeply up to the left and over a spur to avoid a narrow section of canyon in the creek. Just past the far side of the spur, you reach Orang Utan Gully, with a small creek typically flowing. If you are camping or need to fill water this is the best spot as water in the other creeks will invariably need boiling or purifying.
Continue on to Acacia Flat, a magnificent campground set amongst the towering blue gums. There is a large amount of space so you should be able to find a spot to yourself. A little further down the track is the Blue Gum Forest itself. Note that there is no camping in the forest, so you will need to camp at Acacia Flat.
Day 1: Acacia Flat to Govetts Leap (11km, 750m descent, 4-5 hours)
The next morning, return to the Blue Gum Forest, and head up the signposted track to Perrys Lookdown. This ascends steeply but steadily to a cleft in the cliff, and some crude steps and handrails help with the climb through the cliffline. Just above this is the memorial to the four CEBS boys who died in the bushfire of 1957. Good views from just below the memorial can be had of Govetts Gorge and the upper Grose Valley.
After admiring the views, head up Hat Hill Road for about 3km and turn left into Pulpit Rock Road (signposted). This ends after 1km, and a track leads down to the main lookout. There is another lookout below.
Just before the lookout, a signposted track leads to Govetts Leap. Follow this track in and out of a couple of gullies, and then up and down a couple more, finishing with a climb out of Popes Glen Creek (Horseshoe Falls). Avoid a couple of turnoffs to the left after this climb, and the track will take you back to the car park at Govetts Leap.