|Maps:||LPI Penrith 9030-3N 1:25000|
|LPI Springwood 9030-4S 1:25000|
There are a number of ways of getting from Glenbrook to Springwood in the lower Blue Mountains. This particular route offers a good variety of scenery, from creek walking to cliff top lookouts. It is best in the warmer months to allow for swimming opportunities, but the high camp and the amount of ridge walking mean that it is probably best avoided in the middle of summer.
Alternatively you could camp on Glenbrook Creek, either just before (say at the Duck Hole) or just after the section of ridge walking. This could be better in the hotter months, but would mean one of the days would be fairly long.
The walk starts at Glenbrook Station and finishes at Springwood Station. If you are driving, park at Glenbrook Station and catch the train back from Springwood at the end.
From 03 Mar 2007, last checked 03 Mar 2007
Day 1: Glenbrook to Lost World Lookout (10km, 260m ascent)
From Glenbrook Station, turn right and follow the road around for just over 1km to where it crosses a railway bridge. Just beyond the bridge is the entrance to the national park. Walk down the road until you reach a parking area on your right on a tight curve. A set of steps lead down from here to the Blue Pool. This is a popular swimming spot in summer, although it might be a bit early for a swim break.
Cross Glenbrook Creek as soon as practicable on the downstream side of the pool and pick up a vague track on the other side. Head upstream. The track stays mostly just above creek level, and may become more obvious as you proceed. It crosses several non-perennial creeks, and as you approach the junction with Kanuka Brook, it traverses open rocky shelves above a narrow and fast flowing creek.
The pool at the Kanuka Brook junction must be one of the best swimming holes in the Blue Mountains. It is certainly worth a paddle if the weather is kind. Even if you are not swimming, it is worth filling up on water from Kanuka Brook, ideally with enough for the night, as water up on the ridge is much harder to come by. Glenbrook Creek runs off civilisation and is safer not to drink.
A pad runs up the south side of Kanuka Brook, but exploration is probably best left for another day. Instead, backtrack a little and wade or rock hop across Glenbrook Creek where it is shallower. Continue upstream to the Duck Hole, where you should cross again at the shallow sandbank on to the main beach. The Duck Hole is another decent swimming hole, at the foot of St Helena Ridge. Unfortunately, the excellent sandy beach is marred by the fire scars and broken glass. It suffers from being too accessible from Glenbrook - tracks run down both the ridge and gully opposite the beach.
Wander around the west side of the ridge to pick up the start of the track up St Helena Ridge. This is a well worn and obvious track. The climb up is steep and there are good views back into Glenbrook Creek from some rocky outcrops about half way up. At the top of the ridge the track continues along what was an old fire trail, and it is flattish walking for about 3.5km to a junction.
Turn right on to the fire trail on an unnamed ridge and follow this gently downhill for about a kilometre to where the fire trail turns off to the left. This leads down to St Helena Crater, a volcanic diatreme, and the site of an old farm. This used to be a good camping spot, but the fertile soil has meant that it has largely been overgrown, though bushcare is taking place. Water can be found by following the creek downstream for maybe 500m, but this is very slow going through scrub, nettles or lawyer vine, and you are better off having carried enough with you. Camping is possible at the turn off.
Alternatively, continue straight ahead down the ridge on a foot track for another 1.5km to a signposted turn off to the left to Lost World Lookout. This is a detour of about 1km, but the views are well worth it. A high camp with spectacular views could be made out here, and the lights of Springwood can be seen at night. Lost World Lookout has a large white cross visible from the lookouts on the the other side of the valley. This is a memorial to Brother B.R.G.E. Rayner, who used to take students bushwalking in this area.
Day 2: Lost World Lookout to Springwood (10km, 270m ascent)
In the morning return to the main track and continue on to Bunyans Lookout. This is similar to Lost World Lookout, though somewhat less dramatic. The Kings Link Track descends steeply from here back to Glenbrook Creek. To find the start of the descent track, traverse left along the cliff tops until you you find an easy break in the cliffs, a ramp, probably with a cairn. Once you are on the track it is mostly fairly obvious.
At the bottom, head upstream a little way until the track starts to peter out, and then cross to the other side. Depending on how keen you are feeling, the track splits almost immediately. The easy route is to go left and follow the track along the creek. Alternatively you can take the right hand path and climb steeply up to Martins Lookout for more views. Either way the tracks rejoin a little further along and eventually reach another junction at the foot of Magdala Creek.
Turn right here and follow Magdala Creek upstream. The track passes a couple of waterfalls and then reaches a creek junction. Take the left fork by crossing the creek. About an hour of walking from here, continuing straight ahead the whole way, brings you out at Springwood shops, and the station is just across the road to the left.