Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP, NSW

Some of the best views in NSW on this easy enough walk in Kanangra-Boyd National Park in the south-west corner of the Greater Blue Mountains area. There are impressive cliffs, deep valleys, and karst landforms.

Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP

The views on this walk in Kanangra-Boyd National Park are some of the best in NSW. The impressive Kanangra Walls and deep Kanangra Valley are front and centre at a lookout near the start, and then the easygoing Plateau Walk passes along the edge of the Walls for more great views across the valley to Thurat Spires and into Kanangra Gorge. Continuing on to Cottage Rock through heath and forest means you can stretch your legs a bit more, and there are 360 degree views from the top of the rock of surrounding forested hills.

A few pics from our drive in…

Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
An echidna that was crossing the road on the drive in. It was burying its head in the side of the road to avoid attack.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
The echidna was pretty big: Sophia’s hand for scale.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Woodland typical of the drive in along Kanangra Walls Road.

If you are driving to this area from Sydney then you might like to go via Jenolan Caves, as the drive is an adventure in itself. Leave your caravan at home though, because otherwise you’ll be leaving it at a jack-knife corner somewhere! Track notes at the end.

The Scenery

Thurat Spires are karst landforms, in this case razor sharp and pronounced  ridges and spurs that drop hundreds of metres into the valley. In the morning sun I could hardly see this topography, and it wasn’t until I returned back from Cottage Rock in the afternoon that these formations showed themselves; you’ll see the difference in my photos below. (In fact I was quite disoriented at first because the view was so different from what I saw on the outward leg).

First were views of Kanangra Walls and Kanangra Valley from a lookout near the start of the walk…

Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Sophia at Kanagra Walls Lookout. I had taken too many pictures already and she took quite a bit of cajoling to pose for this last shot. Hence the angle is not all that good.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
A wide panorama taking in Kanangra Walls and Kanangra Gorge.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Big and chunky.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Kanangra Walls. Much more impressive in real life, I found them quite hard to photograph.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
The view from Kanangra Walls Lookout.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
An outcrop of conglomerate rock.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Approaching Kanangra Walls from the lookout. The track climbs up onto the top and keeps close to the cliff edge for a while.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Dance Hall Cave. There was an actual dance hall erected here many years ago as it was a crossroads of sorts for livestock musterers and the like. There’s really no civilisation for miles around even today.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
We did just a little exploring near Dance Hall Cave.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
A bucket (I guess) capturing a permanent drip in Dance Hall Cave.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
The Plateau Track stays close to the edge of Kanangra Walls and passes through heath. There are a few spots where you can go to the cliff edge for photos or just to make yourself dizzy.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
The Kanangra Walls lookout top left. You might just be able to see people on top, but only if you zoom in.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
The view from Kanangra Walls.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Exposed rock on the shear sided walls of the valley. If you look carefully you can see these are very thick and pronounced spurs. Easier to see on pictures I took later in the day.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Kanangra Walls (far left, mostly off picture) and Kanangra Valley.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
The prominent ridges and spurs of Thurat Spires were not so obvious at this time of day. Much more so later in the day as the lighting changed.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Looking into the Kanangra Gorge.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
The heath as you head towards Cottage Rock away from the Kanangra Walls, with many burnt bushes.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Attractive globular seed pods (I think).
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
I probably take too many pictures of bark but this style was new to me.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
An exposed coal seam on the track just before the descent to the saddle, where you then find the faint turn off (right) to Cottage Rock.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Cottage Rock: the turnaround point.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
A ‘throne’ on the top of Cottage Rock.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
One angle of the 360 degree views from Cottage Rock.

These next photos taken in the afternoon on our way back.

Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Sophia at our lunch spot, backed by the Thurat Spires and Kanangra Gorge. The knife edged ridges and spurs were highlighted by the change to afternoon lighting.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Kanangra Walls (left) and the Kanangra Gorge.

Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP

Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
The impressive topography of Thurat Spires and Kanangra Gorge.

Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP

Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
Came across these guys at the end of the walk. A wallaby and her joey. I was happy that the joey looked my way for the photo.
Plateau Walk & Cottage Rock Track, Kanangra-Boyd NP
This juvenile wallaby was also hanging around.


Track Notes

We used notes in A Day in the Bush, and there are also notes online on the Bushwalking NSW website.

It’s really easy to get lost on this walk so take care not to miss turn offs. One such spot is when you take a right turn to head away from Kanangra Walls. The track crosses a rocky section and you might not notice the right-hand option. Later on there is a somewhat confusing loop track available to avoid a short and easy scramble down through small cliffs, but I wouldn’t bother taking this (our notes suggested it but I missed it). After the scramble down through the cliffs head left below the cliffs (right goes back via the loop track; I went in circles!) and you’ll come to a really obvious coal seam. Continue on down to a saddle where you need to take an indistinct track to the right for a short ascent to Cottage Rock: this is also really easy to miss-if you descend from the saddle you’ve gone too far.

The most spectacular views are in the first half of the walk, so if you have limited time or energy then you can turn around after soaking up the views from the edge of Kanangra Walls (but note the afternoon views of Thurat Spires will be better). The lookout at the start is just a hundred metres or so further on from the beginning of the plateau walk.

 

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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