The National Pass is considered the best walking trail in Australia, at 6kms in length it packs in everything for a pretty good day of sight-seeing, from crazy cliff stair-cases, zig-zaging mountain paths, rain-forest, waterfalls, moss covered paths & rocks, fresh water streams, birds & wildlife. Its free, two magic words that ring loudly in the ear make this experience, inside a world heritage site a much greater memory than seeing the Three Sisters.
The track is easy to walk, incredible that much of it was created by men using picks, shovels & dynamite over 100 years ago by cutting into claystone ledges to connect sandstone cliffs with walking paths purely for leisure. The National Pass at different points transforms from stone steps to boulders at the base of waterfalls to crazy staircases on the side of cliffs & boardwalks amongst rainforest ferns, every part of it is very safe showcasing the professional workmanship of recent restoration which has won recognition from the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Trying to manage your time resting around rock bases of waterfalls, cliff ledges or under the canopy of cool rainforest trees becomes more necessary as time begins to drag on & dwindle.
The Coo’ee bush call originated in this area from the local Aboriginal Dharuk tribe & is something crazy Australians of older generations do whenever they stand near a valley. The National Pass is a perfect place to test the strength of your coo’ee & to listen to responses from anonymous walkers somewhere off in the distance.
The trail starts off from the car park at the Wentworth Falls picnic area to the grand Jamieson Lookout just before the first flight of steps that lead down in amongst the trees into the bush. Within 15 mins you arrive at the first creek which is the source of the Wentworth Falls before it drops suddenly 100 feet below, which is only a mid-point. A series of concrete steps crosses the creek for hikers to skip across. Once on the other side there is another small waterfall with a picturesque rocky face covered in ferns called the Queen’s Cascades. The path now hugs along a rock cliff & the real descent downwards begins. There is a fantastic spot where the path leads to a corner along the ledge where a clear unobstructed view of the horizon & the Jamieson Valley present themselves over a long drop downwards, simply an amazing spot for photos.
The Grand Stairway, the highest stairway in Australia starts here & so does the fun of walking on something far out of the ordinary. The staircase isn’t just any set of stairs. It is on the side of a sandstone cliff, over the side is a drop a hundred feet or more & also offering wide expansive views of the Jamieson Valley. The staircase zig-zags down towards the middle section of Wentworth Falls where the National Parks & Wildlife Service have placed large stone blocks to step across the cascading water. A good place to stop & rest under the cool shade of the surrounding cliffs like a rocky amphitheatre. This is an ideal picnic spot to enjoy a drink & the view. It is easily possible to get right under the cascading water of Wentworth Falls for a shower if you’re game.
Continuing further you will eventually come across a low sandstone overhang, most people will have to bend slightly. This section & beyond is known as the Upper Track. A few hundred metres past the overhang is a halfway marker on a concrete post, around here the path forks into two with one leading further down into the valley to the base of Wentworth Falls where a collection pool is found. The National Pass from here onwards to the Valley of the Waters visibly changes to a more forest environment, green & very photogenic. The path leading down features seven caged ladders with hand rails & forms part of the Wentworth Pass trail snaking along the valley floor eventually joining back up with the National Pass trail & is an hour extra. The two paths reconnect around the Valley of the Waters.
The Valley of the Waters is a beautiful area & is basically the bottom of the cliff. Directly above is the Conservation Hut/Café. There are several cascading waterfalls & pools all connected to each other set in amongst lush forest tress & large leafy ferns. There are steps cut out or laid along the path with hand rails for much of the way up & flat resting areas overlooking the waterfalls. One or two of these resting areas has evidence of ancient Aboriginal axe-grinding grooves used long ago. Once back up to the Conservation Hut there is a 15 mins walk back to the starting point either thru a trail or via the road, both of which are clearly marked. Once you’re finished, it’s time to consider returning next weekend to do the slightly longer Wentworth Trail down to the base of the waterfall but not before a cold VB longneck & a foot massage before you pass out drunk or dead tired.
The Wentworth Falls starting point is located at the picnic area & car park. It is under 2kms from the Wentworth Falls train station down Falls road off the main Great Western Highway. Wentworth Falls is 95 kms from Sydney & about 90 mins drive mostly along highways making it relatively easy to get to. In my opinion it is not necessary to carry an emergency locator beacon on this trail as it is clearly marked but they can be hired from most of the Visitor Centres in the Blue Mountains for use in an emergency, Amazingly, I still get mobile reception with Telstra along most of the track. As always it is best to start the walk early in the morning to enjoy the best conditions.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.