|Maps:||LPI Katoomba 8930-1S 1:25000|
While Wentworth Falls and the National Pass are the most popular walks around the western side of the Jamison Valley near the town of Wentworth Falls, there are many older tracks that are less well known. The tracks to Vera Falls and Hippocrene Falls are two of these.
Vera Falls is the largest of the waterfalls on Valley of the Waters Creek, lying not far from its junction with Jamison Creek. Hippocrene Falls lies on Jamison Creek, also near the junction, tumbling into a beautiful plunge pool.
The walk is good at most times of the year. In the warmer months there are a number of spots to stop for a swim, while the solid climb out will warm you up in the cooler months.
The walk as described starts from the Wentworth Falls car park, following an an anti-clockwise loop. However, it can also be started from the Conservation Hut, or from Wentworth Falls Station by following the Charles Darwin Track. It can also be walked in the opposite direction, though the route is probably more difficult to follow clockwise if you are not familiar with it.
To get to the Wentworth Falls car park, turn left off the Great Western Hwy on to Falls Rd, signposted to Blue Mountains NP and Wentworth Falls, and follow it to the end. The car park is part of a one way loop road. Parking can be busy on fine weekends.
It is possible to walk to the car park from Wentworth Falls Station, but it adds about 5km (2.5km each way).
It is also possible to follow the Charles Darwin Walk which starts from Wilson Park on Falls Rd. This easy track follows the beautiful Jamison Creek to the top of Wentworth Falls. The loop below can then be joined. This adds around 6km (3km each way).
From 08 Mar 2015, last checked 08 Mar 2015
Start the walk by picking up the Short Cut Track, which leaves from the north west corner of the car park. This winds through open forest for a kilometre to come out on to the main National Pass track just below the Conservation Hut. Continue down the main track, following signs to Empress Falls and National Pass, and ignoring turnoffs to the Overcliff Track and the Nature Track.
Follow the track past Empress Falls, down steeply beside lovely Sylvia Falls and back across the creek between Edith Falls and Lodore Falls, to the junction between Wentworth Pass and National Pass. Turn right on to the Wentworth Pass track.
The track heads steeply down from the track junction, before crossing Valley of the Waters Creek, marked by signs on the rocks. There is a fairly big step up to get across the creek. A little further on on the same side you reach a sign board marking the route to Vera Falls, and the turnoff back across the creek to Wentworth Pass. Continue on the west bank, where the track stays up as the creek drops away below. The track then descends more steeply to another crossing, back to the east side, above a larger cascade.
From there, follow the track as it heads up and on to a minor ridge, a little way from the creek. Soon you will get glimpses of Vera Falls from the open ridge. As the track reaches a small gully, it forks. The right branch heads across a steep slope to the top of Vera Falls. Take extra care here. The track is narrow, and perched above a large drop. At the top of the falls the vista opens up, with flat open slabs and great views of Kedumba Walls. This is a good spot for a break. [Keep an eye out for another track to the top of the falls that branches off the main track earlier, and is a less exposed route]
Return to the track junction at the gully, and follow the other branch, which is also exposed in places, but wider. This zigzags down a minor ridge to another track junction. Turn right and follow a track alongside the creek to the bottom of the spectacular Vera Falls, probably the highest of the waterfalls on Valley of the Waters Creek.
Head back to the track junction and continue straight ahead for a few minutes to the creek junction with Jamison Creek. This section of track can be vague, though it is marked variously with pink tape, tin tags on trees and painted yellow squares. Your best bet is to generally follow the creek upstream, as it branches to become Den Fenella Creek. Then cross over on to the narrow ridge between Den Fenella Creek and Jamison Creek. The track leads to the base of Hippocrene Falls, the sister falls to Vera Falls, formed by the same band of rock. There is a large plunge pool at the bottom of the falls.
From there, head up beside the falls towards the cliff, and then steeply up the slope to the left. Once above the falls, the track is mostly fairly obvious, though not marked. It pretty much follows the left bank of the creek, generally staying within sight of Jamison Creek but sometimes up to 50-100m away. There are occasional glimpses of Wentworth Falls up ahead through the trees. While the track is rough in places, plenty of evidence of the old stonework still exists in the form of many stone stairs, a testament to the old track builders. A solid uphill climb of about 220m vertical in 750m horizontal (about 20-30 mins) brings you to a T-junction, the intersection with the Wentworth Pass track.
Turn right, and a walk of about a minute brings you out at the bottom of the lower cascades of Wentworth Falls, a good spot for a break, though south facing and very shady in the cooler months.
The tracks from the falls are poorly signposted at the time of writing. Return to where you arrived at the falls, and take the eroded right fork of the track, which climbs up to the cliffline, and then around to Slacks Stairs. Slacks Stairs climbs the lower cliffline via a series of about eight steps and ladders, some of them with narrow cages that make it quite difficult with a pack. Just before the track rejoins the National Pass, there is an excellent view of both the upper and lower sections of Wentworth Falls.
Turn right on to the National Pass, and make your way around and across the middle ledge of Wentworth Falls, and then up the impressive Grand Stairway. Much of the Grand Stairway is cut directly out of the cliff face itself.
The next junction is the Rocket Point Circuit, which takes about 10 minutes as a side trip. Continuing across the top of the main falls at the Queens Cascades, and then follow signs up to the car park.
Options for making the walk longer include adding in the Rocket Point circuit at the top of the Grand Stairway, and starting the walk off by taking the track to Den Fenella, and continuing on the Overcliff Track to join up with the National Pass. You could make the latter even longer by starting the walk via Princes Rock and the Undercliff Track. It is also possible to return from the bottom of Wentworth Falls via Wentworth Pass and up the Valley of the Waters.