Canyoning in the Blue Mountains, NSW
The Grand Canyon of Blue Mountains, NSW, is totally different from the popular image of the USA's Grand Canyons. In Australia, the canyons are not as wide, nor is it as long and there are no raging rivers in between. The Blue Mountain Grand Canyon has narrow, twisting paths suitable for walking, with rich vegetation and overgrowth, which together with the hundred metre high sandstone walls provide a shaded and cool trek for everyone.
Top 5 Reasons to Hike the Grand Canyon, Blue Mountains, NSW
- Get the chance to hike through a World Heritage listed landscape and do some swag camping in the nearby campgrounds.
- Best for family's who want to go on a short day hike, as it can be completed in 5 hours tops.
- Hiking is a great overall exercise - it strengthens the body, improves Cardio, and relaxes the mind.
- Provides the family with some quality time together - no calls from the office, no video games for the kids - just pure bonding.
- Picturesque views which make for great pictures, portraits and memories.
What to See
The canyon was carved patiently by running waters of the Greaves Creek through millions of years. The rich soils of the canyon boast of lush green vegetation and some small crawlers and insects which can be seen only the area.
As mentioned, the Blue Mountain Grand Canyons are narrow, twisted, and dark. Passing through may seem intimidating at first, but not when you get to the other side.
In order to complete the trail, you'll have to cross shallow creeks. Some of them have stepping stones; others have fallen logs that serve as bridges, while others you'll have to wade through.
Lush vegetation abounds the Grand Canyons, from small flowers to tall trees and everything else in between.
Half Day Walking Itinerary
The Grand Canyon is a relatively short walk, much like the other trekking routes in the Blue Mountains. Here is an itinerary that you and the family can follow for a couple of hours of trek in the Grand Canyon. This itinerary is a 6 kilometre loop that starts and ends in Evan's Lookout and takes 3-4 hours of easy to moderately difficult hikes.
Make your way to Neates Glen. Be sure not to lose sight of the high tension wires, the tower and the road, otherwise you may be headed towards the wrong direction. Follow the path which will lead you to a service trail. Continue on this route until you reach the Kinie-Ger Bush Cabins driveway. Walk on until you see the Neates Glen Car Park. This phase is about 729 metres of journeying which takes about 12-15 minutes to complete.
Entering the Canyon
From the car park, continue down the zigzagging stairs that leads to the Grand Canyon by following the sign posts. As you do, you will notice that the surrounding areas are becoming more and more of a jungle. Continue following the trail until you reach the railings, more stairs and a second set of railings that crosses over the creek. You will see a signpost here that points back towards the car park.
In the Canyon
Walk towards the rock shelves and overhangs until you reach the rotunda, an overhanging rock with sandy beach under it. This is where most hikers have their snacks before going deeper into the canyon. Walking from there will lead you to pass under a rock tunnel and around and under a waterfall. The track will lead to a railed bridge in front of another falls. From here is a series of crossings over the creek and passing through some overhangs, which will afterwards take you to a pool in the creek. Follow the sign that points to Rodriguez Pass, crossing over the creek and large boulders until you see Beauchamp Falls, a 10 metre high waterfalls created by the flowing Greaves Creek from above. From here, make your way to Evan's Lookout by going through flights of stone and wooden steps. Upon reaching the lookout, you will be treated to a wonderful view of the Grose Valley. The rock shelters in the lookout provides a wonderful rest from the uphill climb.
Getting out of the Canyon
From Evan's lookout, follow the bush track back to the car park. There are signposts everywhere so you should easily find your way through the track.
Camping In and Near the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains National Park presents some wonderful areas for overnight or longer camping, and since you will be done walking in the Grand Canyon by the afternoon, be sure to bring along a tough and reliable swag so you can have a relaxing rest after the walk.
Euroka Campground - This campground is located about 4 kilometres away from the entrance gate at Glenbrook, and boasts of one of the most diverse camping surroundings that the park can offer.
Acacia Flat Campgrounds - This is one of the most ideal campsites in the area for campers who like remote and backpack camping.
Ingar Campgrounds - This campground is one of the most activity filled campsites in the area, with various points of interest in and around the campgrounds like rivers and dams and lots of wildlife.
Murphys Glen Campgrounds - Here you can pitch your tent among towering trees and enjoy nearby walking paths after visiting the Grand Canyon.
Who Can Take You There
Being a famous tourist and hiking destination, it is but natural that tour guides and operators are always at hand to offer their services. Some of them are listed below.
Blue Mountain Grand Canyon Guided Walking Tour takes you on a 10 kilometre route of easy and challenging tracks. If you are in Sydney, they offer to pick you up from your hotel and drop you back after the tour.
Blue Mountain Grand Canyon Half Day Hike - The tour takes about four and a half hours of walking with a dedicated guide, with round trip transfers from Sydney and a picnic lunch in the wilderness.
What to Bring
Swag camping in the above mentioned places requires you to bring other items aside from an excellent swag:
- First Aid Kit (in case of minor accidents like slips and bruising)
- Water (bring a lot on hot days)
- Sunscreen and Insect Repellent
- Loose and Comfortable Clothing (jeans not recommended as they don't dry fast enough when it rains)
- Sun Hat
- Hiking Shoes
- Pack Lunch (unless you're part of the tours which include lunches in their rates)
Grand Canyon Climate
The best time of the year to visit the Grand Canyon in Blue Mountains is during the summer months (December to February). Light rains may be expected during the time, but the temperature is generally cool and ideal for walking. However, when heavy rains occur, the creek gets flooded, so be sure to phone park management or agencies and ask for updates about the tracks.
What Others Say about the Grand Canyon
"Best walk ever. But I seem to say this almost every time. Anyway, it IS a magnificent walk. Fern trees up to 5 metres high, a walk between a waterfall and the wall, the tunnel...especially the narrow sections of the canyon with all the rainforests are just amazing." -MyS, 2012
"Best walk I did in the Blue Mountains!" -Olivia, 2012
"Grand Canyon walk is spectacular! As you descend further into the canyon, you will see different types of vegetation and no animals can be heard - total quietness. We walked for hours before we met another fellow walker. So, it's nice to have a company of your own. Remember, every step you descend you have to ascend to the other end, so be prepared! Nevertheless, enjoy the peacefulness and tranquillity." -Bebe18, 2012
Here is a video by the NSWNatParks. It has slideshows and pictures about the different sections of the Grand Canyon, as well as some history lecture about how the canyon was formed and the contributions of people who made the place trek-friendly.
The Blue Mountains offer one of the best canyons to trek in NSW, only by coming here will you be able to see and understand why this place was added in the World Heritage list - a perfect adventure whether you are walking and camping with your whole family or some friends, or bush walking and swag camping by your lonesome.