What Goes Down, Must Come Up; Leura Cascades to the Giants Stairway (NSW)

Highlights:

  • Leura Cascades; walking side-by-side a series of cascades that flow and jump over slick black stone
  • Bridal Veil Falls; you round a corner of bush, and find yourself looking up at an enormous rock face, water gushing down the side of it. Incredible view.
  • Dozens of waterfalls of all different shapes and sizes and flows; you don’t know what’s around the corner, but you can hear running water the whole hike down

Summary

One overcast and freezing Blue Mountains morning, after a strong coffee and hot pie, we set out for Leura from our BNB in Katoomba. After parking the car, it was a matter of moments before we could hear the sound of running water! It’s an easy walk down the Leura Cascades, and maybe a 10 minute walk side-by-side with the cascades until you reach the focal point of the falls. The first part of the walk is easy, and so rewarding for the amount of effort required! There’s not much better than thick clean air and the sound of continuous falling water.

From here, the descent gets a bit more difficult. There are some steep metal staircases to navigate, which are a bit slippery after wet weather, but still easy enough to walk down if you take your time. Very manageable. After maybe 20 minutes more, you emerge from the forest to look out into the valley. A view for kilometres of bush and mountains. Walking up for 10 minutes, and you find yourself looking down on Bridal Veil Falls; which you will eventually find yourself looking up at, if you continue the trail. Which you will need to do. Because the rock face that the falls snake their way down and around is awesome. Layered like a wedding cake, it’s one of the more impressive falls I’ve seen in NSW.

From here on, the walk down to Leura Forest will give you a near-endless trail of waterfalls; hours worth. It’s worth noting though, that the further down you hike, the further up you will have to climb to return. We took the track to Leura Forest and then up to the Giants Stairway, which eventually leads you up to the Three Sisters, and that was the hardest and steepest climb I’ve done since I hiked Landmannalaugar in Iceland the previous year. It’s approaching a vertical climb, but when you get to the top, the view is incredible, the wind is powerful, and sense of accomplishment is a terrific high.

Essential Gear

    • Durable shoes
    • Lots of water
    • Light backpack
    • Raincoat in wetter weather

How to get here

Click here.

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Picnics (in Leura forests is a nice little picnic/lunch area with tables and chairs, surrounded by trees and mossy rocks!)

Skill Level

Beginner skill level to Bridal Veil Falls & Leura Forest, Intermediate-Expert up the Giants Stairway

Distance covered / Elevation

6km walk from Leura Cascades to the Three Sisters, 200-300m elevation