Posts Tagged ‘Australia’


The Grand Canyon walk in the Blue Mountains is a very popular 3-4 hour walk. What fewer people know are the little side trips deep into the gorge, away from the hoards and into the bosom of nature.

The start of the trip is a short cycle from Blackheath station in the Blue Mountains.

Start: Blackheath Station
End: Blackheath Station
Total distance: 20km
Strava link

At the start of the Grand Canyon walk

At the start of the Grand Canyon walk

The main path drops down into the valley. At two points, rather than following the sign to the canyon walk, go in the opposite direction upstream. It is beautiful.

Upstream in the Grand Canyon

Upstream in the Grand Canyon

The light penetrates into the Grand Canyon

The light penetrates into the Grand Canyon

A bit of scrambling over logs

A bit of scrambling over logs

You can only get so far going upstream until a swim is required. Being a bloody cold day, I made this the end of my little foray.

A cold dip

A cold dip

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon


The days are getting very short and winter is setting in. Jump Rock was on the menu today – a beautiful spot on the Macquarie Creek where the water tumbles over some rocks into a little pool – ideal for jumping in the summer. Then I cycled further up the creek past Clover Hill to a series of waterfalls, ending in Clover Falls.

Start: Albion Park Station
End: Albion Park Station
Total distance: 50km
Strava link

A short ride from Albion Park station up towards the Macquarie Pass.

The road to Macquarie Pass

The road to Macquarie Pass

Then a little hiking trail following the Macquarie Creek up towards Jump Rock.

Towards Jump Rock

Towards Jump Rock

Jump Rock

Jump Rock

Jump Rock

Jump Rock

Then, a little further upstream, is the path that passes an old clearing and an abandoned house on Clover Hill.

Towards Clover Hill

Towards Clover Hill

Towards Clover Hill

Towards Clover Hill

Clover Hill

Clover Hill

From the ruin at Clover Hill

From the ruin at Clover Hill

After Clover Hill the path returns to the Macquarie Creek and past a few waterfalls. The last one – Clover Falls – takes a bit of scrambling to reach. Well worth it though.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Clover Falls

Clover Falls


With the Blue Mountains trains not running due to track works, I decided to venture south again, cycle 6km from Tahmoor station and spend the day walking to Mermaids Pool and through the Bargo Gorge. Catching the first train in the morning meant that I had the whole beautiful gorge to myself.

Start: Tahmoor Station
End: Tahmoor Station
Total distance: 20km
Strava link

It is a fairly easy walk along the valley, and sometimes above it, to the beautiful Mermaids Pool. The fresh cool water slips over flat slabs of rock and over a waterfall down to the pool below.

The Bargo River just after sunrise

The Bargo River just after sunrise

Sink hole

Sink hole

Rocks in the sun

Rocks in the sun

Don't jump

Don’t jump

Mermaids Pool

Mermaids Pool

Mermaids Pool

Mermaids Pool

After the pool there is a loop path that ventures further downstream through the Bargo River Gorge. With vertical cliffs on either side, beautiful flat rocks and clear water slipping through the gorge, it was a beautiful walk in the early morning light.

Bargo Gorge

Bargo Gorge

Bargo Gorge

Bargo Gorge

There was no chance of getting lost or slipping on a descent. There were guide ropes at any slight downhill section, and there were blue ribbons galore on every second tree marking the way.

After a few kilometres the path climbs to the top of the gorge and treats the walker to views from above.

A walk well worth doing!


With winter coming, long bike trips are being replaced by shorter hikes near train stations. Victoria Falls is only 6km from Mount Victoria station, but, at 8am there is no-one there. A little side track leads to the beautiful Asgard and Thor Heads which look out over the amazing Gross Valley.

Start: Mt Victoria Station
End: Mt Victoria Station
Total distance: 30km
Strava link

It is always beautiful cycling in the crisp morning sun when everyone else is still asleep. The soft orange glow makes the bush vibrate with morning freshness – eager for the day to begin.

The road to Victoria Falls

The road to Victoria Falls

At the end of the road is a path that winds its way down to the cascades, and then the top and bottom of Victoria Falls.

The path to Victoria Falls

The path to Victoria Falls

The cascades

The cascades

The top of Victoria Falls

The top of Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

A little side track lead to Asgard Head.

The side track to Asgard Head

The side track to Asgard Head

Asgard Head

Asgard Head

Asgard Head

Asgard Head

Near Asgard Head is the deserted Asgard mine. Coal was never mined there, but there is a cool little tunnel into the side of the cliff face.

Asgard Mine

Asgard Mine

Asgard Mine

Asgard Mine

Asgard Mine

Asgard Mine

Thor Head is just around the corner and as impressive as Asgard Head.

Thor Head

Thor Head


A second in the series of Bikes and Canyons, this time, a pleasant cycle from Lithgow towards the Glowworm Tunnel and down a dry, dark canyon to burst out to a beautiful place with an amazing view over the Wolgan Valley.

Start: Lithgow Station
End: Lithgow Station
Total distance: 70km
Strava link

Canyoning usually involves abseiling down cliffs and waterfalls, scrambling over slippery rocks and logs and wading and swimming in narrow, beautiful canyons surrounded by tall walls of rock on either side. As much as all of this is very appealing, I chose Dry Canyon on this cold day as a winter trip one I could do without getting too cold and wet, and one I could safely navigate by myself.

The trip to the canyon is a 35km jaunt along a beautiful dirt track from Lithgow over the Newnes Plateau.

Newnes Plateau

Newnes Plateau

Newnes Plateau

Newnes Plateau

Newnes Plateau

Newnes Plateau

The path from the car park to the canyon and through the canyon is flat with no challenges at all. You are just left to concentrate on the beauty of your surroundings.

The path to the canyon

The path to the canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

Dry Canyon

The canyon ends and a quick scramble brings you to a rock sitting over an amazing view over the Wolgan Valley, staring at the beautiful Donkey Mountain.

Wolgan Valley

Wolgan Valley

Seeing this canyon should be classified as bushwalking rather than canyoning. It remains beautiful!


With winter approaching, there are not enough hours of daylight to fit in a long cycle in and it’s time for something different. In 1997 I went canyoning with my university friend Hamish. This is a return to that really cool activity in the same really cool place – in the Wollangambe Canyon.

Start: Bell Station
End: Mt Victoria Station
Total distance: 55km
Strava link

Today I lay on my lilo inflatable air mattress and floated down a beautiful canyon deep in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. It was offseason and borderline cold, and so I was the only one. A short walk to the canyon from Mt Wilson town saw me inflating my lilo on the lonely beach surrounded by high cliffs on the edge of the beautiful clear-watered river.

At the starting beach

At the starting beach

At the starting beach

At the starting beach

With estimates of 6-8 hours for the trip, with upper estimates of 10 hours, I wanted to get back before dark and so hurried down the deep parts of the canyon. I should have stopped to jump off the cliffs into the cool, clear water. It is an amazing part of the canyon.

The deep canyon

The deep canyon

On the lilo

On the lilo

There were some rocky scrambles. At times they were a bit tricky.

Boulder dash

Boulder dash

Boulder dash

Boulder dash

There were also lots of shallow bits which were very relaxing. I could walk along side the lilo and didn’t need to scramble over rocks.

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

There was even a little side canyon.

Side canyon

Side canyon

The trip back to civilisation saw me cycle 7.5km along the Bells Line of Road. With the Easter traffic trying to leave Sydney, some people found my presence on the road unbearable, informing me that I was a f*ing w*nker and that I should get off the f*ing road. I’ve been living in Australia long enough now to be used to this. Shame though.

My day was, however, a big success. Canyoning is awesome!


Start: Bell Station
End: Leura Station
Total distance: 68km
Strava link

After getting all excited reading about canyoning adventures in the Blue Mountains, I wanted to see if I could get to one of these canyons by bike – at least to the bottom of one. No abseiling required.

I decided to try to get to the bottom of the Koombanda Canyon, following a deserted mine road from Bell, and across a road slip to the base of the little Koombanda Creek. It was all rather adventurous, but in the end, a little too dangerous for me by myself. The boulders in the creek were covered in moss and slippery. I didn’t fancy a broken leg all by myself, so eventually I turned back.

Part two of the trip was along the Mt Hay road, recommended by my Blue Mountains friends Howard and Judith. It was a lovely ride and then walk out to Lockley’s Pylon with a spectacular view out over the Gross Valley.

Early morning at Koombanda Creek

Early morning at Koombanda Creek

The little rock slip I needed to navigate

The little rock slip I needed to navigate

The little rock slip I needed to navigate

The little rock slip I needed to navigate

Koomdanda Creek

Koomdanda Creek

Koomdanda Creek

Koomdanda Creek

Koomdanda Creek

Koomdanda Creek

Mt Hay Road

Mt Hay Road

Towards Lockley's Pylon

Towards Lockley’s Pylon

View from Lockley's Pylon

View from Lockley’s Pylon

View from Lockley's Pylon

View from Lockley’s Pylon

View from Lockley's Pylon

View from Lockley’s Pylon

Road from Lockley's Pylon

Road from Lockley’s Pylon