Blackheath is the public transport gateway to so much Blue Mountains fun, including this overnight hike to Acacia Flat. Taking you past soaring views, waterfalls and creeks to camp in some of the most remote wilderness in the Blue Mountains, you won’t want to miss out on this chance to escape Sydney, by train or by car.
- Accessible by train
- Camping out under the stars
- Multiple route options
- Variety of habitats
Blackheath, on the edge of the Grose Valley, is the start and finish of some amazing walks in the Blue Mountains National Park. From easy-going, paved walkways linking the stunning view points, to day-long meanders through mossy canyons, to overnight epics into the wilderness. Whenever we have a few days spare and a need to get away from the city, Blackheath is usually pretty high on the list of places to hit.
One of our favourite routes is the overnighter out to Acacia Flat, a beautiful campground nestled deep in the Grose Valley alongside Govett’s Creek, before heading back towards Blackheath the next day.
Evan’s Lookout & The Grand Canyon Trail
There are a number of ways to reach Acacia Flat, all starting from the numerous viewpoints that sit on the eastern edge of Blackheath. Coming by train we picked Evan’s Lookout via the Braeside Trail to minimise our time walking along roads.
We left the bustle of the lookout, heading down the Grand Canyon Trail. As we descended the day trippers started to thin out and the urban sounds faded away, replaced with bubbling creeks and crashing waterfalls. Turning into the Rodriguez Walking Track we made a side trip to Beauchamp Falls, which involved some boulder scrambling but was well worth the effort. Here, water leapt off a 10m high rocky outcrop, butterflies circled over our heads and eastern water dragons sat sentinel on sun-soaked rocks, as if guarding a secret lair.
From here the trail is simple to follow as it heads north into the valley until it reaches Junction Rock, a feature you can’t miss. Three trails and two creeks meet, with a rock and a signpost in the middle. To the left is the trail back up to Govett’s Leap Lookout and to the right, the trail to Acacia Flat. Left heads back to civilisation, right leads deeper into the valley. We went right…
Acacia Flat Campground
Along the valley floor the walking is more level, but the vegetation is more overgrown. Govett’s Creek winds alongside the trail to the right giving great opportunities to stop on a rock for a rest, or even jump in for a quick swim on warmer days. The cliff sides where we started our walk several hours ago now towered high above us on either side, adding to the epic and remote feel of the trail.
Once we reached Acacia Flat Campground it was easy to find our own quiet corner and pitch the tent. There are two basic compost toilets, one at either end of the campground, but no safe drinking provisions, so it’s best to carry enough water for 24 hours, or be prepared to treat the creek water. Numerous articles have suggested the water from Orangutan Creek, slightly south of the campground is the best bet as the catchment is outside of any urbanisation.
As we drifted to sleep that night we could hear the nocturnal fauna start to whistle and croak around us and a distant thunderstorm echoed around the valley.
The Blue Gum Forest
The next day we rose early, brewed a coffee, ate breakfast and jumped in the creek for a morning swim. Another must-see while at Acacia Flat is the Blue Gum Forest, a short walk north of the campground. It’s a conservation success story, having been purchased and protected in 1931 by a group of bushwalkers who wanted to stop the area being cleared to make way for a walnut farm. The result is a spectacular area of towering blue gums, now home to a number of endangered native plants and animals.
For our route back we retraced our steps as far as Junction Rock and then followed the path up towards Govett’s Leap Lookout, this time following Govett’s Leap Brook as it tumbled down the valley, crashing over boulders and sliding under fallen logs. At points the climbing seems never ending and the viewpoint above seems impossibly far away. But, placing one foot in front of the other, we eventually reached Govett’s Leap Lookout, the sounds of running water eventually conceding to urban life again. Looking back into the valley from the top it was possible to see how far we’d covered in the last two days.
Just a few more kilometres along the road and we were ready for a well-deserved pie back in Blackheath!
- Lightweight camping gear – tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag. Being around 1km above sea level the temperatures and weather can be very different to the surrounding areas, so go prepared for colder weather.
- Water — we walked during a dry spell and couldn’t rely on any water sources so we carried 4.5L each to be safe.
- PLB — Personal Locator Beacons are available for hire from Katoomba Police Station and are recommended for overnight walks in the Blue Mountains National Park.
- Food to get you through 2 days hard walking
- Head torch
- Walking boots
- Dry hiking socks
- Map and compass (if you want to get comfy with navigation before trying an overnight hike, try one of our Wilderness Escapes).
- Bug spray
- Warm clothes for the night
- Waterproof jacket
We’ve done the hard work for you! Packing List For An Overnight Hike
How To Get There
If coming by train you get off at Blackheath Station and walk through the houses towards Evan’s Lookout, returning to Blackheath Station from Govett’s Leap Lookout on day 2.
If coming by car you’re better off parking at Govett’s Leap Lookout car park and doing the short walk to Evan’s Lookout on day one to start the walk, returning to the carpark on day 2.
- Wild swimming
- Bird watching
Intermediate to Advanced – The trail is well marked, but some of the ascents/descents are hard going, made harder by full packs. Knowing how to read a map and compass would be recommended.
The total hike is 21.7km with 841m of up. Day 1 is 12.4km and mainly consists of downhill walking. Day 2 is 9.3km and has a challenging final climb up to Govett’s Leap Lookout.
Including breaks and photo opportunities each day involved around 4-5 hours of hiking. The whole route was covered across 2 days.
More Blue Mountains beauties…