Half Day Sunrise and Waterfalls in the Blue Mountains (NSW)

Microadventure Highlights:

  • Watching the sun light up the Jamison Valley.
  • Hike down to the Valley of the Waters and capture flowing waterfalls.
  • Walk through the National Pass track to reach the impressive Wentworth Falls.

Summary:

Started the day off with a 5am wake up and quickly out the door to start the drive to Olympian Rock in Leura. From this spot the sun rises behind you and to the left in the first half of the year, and more directly to your left during the second half of the year. Either way the sun rises up and bathes the Jamison Valley in lovely morning light, and a great sight and worth getting your camera out for! We were lucky to have some low lying cloud weaving it’s way through the valley, which made for some interesting images.

After sunrise we jumped back in the car and headed to the Conservation Hut in Wentworth Falls to start our hike down the Valley of the Waters track (there are clear signs that will point you in the right direction). After a steep descent into the valley, you will first reach Empress Falls, and it is quite a sight! Early morning lights makes for some very nice photographs of this waterfall and it has a nice flow to it. You can get a great vantage point with your tripod very close to the water at the base of the falls, which gives you a nice angle to photograph it. As we made our way through the valley of the waters we came across Sylvia Falls, a very aesthetic waterfall that can be photographed from a view different angles to include both the flowing water and the beautiful vegetation that surrounds it.

After the valley of the waters we headed on to the National Pass track (there is an option to take the Wentworth Pass which goes along the bottom of the valley but will take you another couple of hours to reach Wentworth Falls). The National Pass track has stunning views and at one point you may walk under a mini waterfall, depending on when it last rained. After about 40 mins of walking we reached Wentworth Falls, and you really have to just stop and look up in awe at this mighty waterfall as the water drops from high above you. There are many good photo opportunities from the bottom of the falls. Continuing on we climbed up some steep stairs to the top of the falls and walked back to the Conservation Hut on the Overcliff track. The whole hike took us around 3-3.5 hours which included stopping to take photos, and your legs get a nice workout!


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 Essential gear required:

  • Water, and some snacks.
  • Camera, tripod, and a wide angle lens is recommended. If you have a circular polarizing filter this will help to take the glare off the wet rocks.
  • Comfortable walking shoes/clothes.

 How to get there:

  • a 1 hour and 40 min drive from the Sydney CBD to the Olympian Rock Lookout track, going up the M4 through to the mountains. Park on Olympian Place in Leura to get to the track.
  • From Leura take a quick 10 min drive to the Conservation Hut on Fletcher Street in Wentworth Falls, where there is parking available.

 Activities 

  • Photography! So many great photo opportunities.
  • Swimming at Empress Falls (in warm weather!).

 Skill Level

Intermediate however a good level of fitness is required for the Valley of the Waters track as it is quite steep.

 Distance covered

 Approx 5-6km of walking in total.