Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

A circuit walk taking in one of the better and yet less frequented sections of the Federal Pass at Katoomba, and also all of the most touristy areas for some contrast!

The Katoomba Landslide section of the Federal Pass in the Blue Mountains appears not to get that much traffic, and I hadn’t done it before this trip in June 2019. Turns out though it is one of the most spectacular sections of this longish track beneath sandstone cliffs, as a landslide in the early 1930’s has opened up views over a nice corner of the cliff lined Jamison Valley. 

This section of the track isn’t really on the way anywhere, and even though it is close to the Scenic World railway, it appears very few people make the effort to come this far. We did it as part of a circuit including roads and the most touristy areas of Katoomba, and I’d probably avoid these areas if I did it again (especially on a public holiday Monday). You could combine it with a trip to the Ruined Castle, descending the Golden Stairs and walking to each destination in turn (they are in opposite directions). Or if you descend from Scenic World on the railway then it’s a pretty easy walk to this excellent spot.

Track notes at the end.

Katoomba Landslide Circuit: The Scenery

Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
Looking towards Mt Solitary from Landslide Lookout.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
The view west (and down) from Landslide Lookout.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
The Three Sisters to the right, viewed from a lookout on Cliff Drive.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
The Three Sisters viewed from an unnamed viewpoint on Cliff Drive.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
Looking towards Scenic World from the Prince Henry Cliff Walk.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
The Three Sisters (left) and Mt Solitary.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
A view of the Three Sister from the bottom of the railway at Scenic World. There were lots of people at this spot so I didn’t stick around.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
Evidence of a small landslide.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
There’s coal in them there hills! There’s actually a few abandoned mine tunnels in the area.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
Part of the landslide section. The cliff fell away in 1931.

Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains

Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
Sophia backed by cliffs as we left the landslide section.
Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
More of the landslide section.

Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains

Katoomba Landslide Circuit, Blue Mountains
Last look at the landslide as we climbed up the Golden Stairs.

Track Notes

We started at Landslide Lookout on Cliff Drive. The lookout is a short side trip off the road. Returning from the lookout we walked towards Echo point on Cliff Drive, stopping at a couple of lookouts along the way. At Scenic World we joined the busy section of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, then at Echo Point descended the Giant Stairway to the Federal Pass. We then followed the Federal Pass through the lower section of Scenic World, and on to the landslide section for great views. From there we continued maybe 30 minutes and ascended to Glenraphael Drive via the Golden Stairs. The last bit was back to our car along the unsealed Glenraphael Drive and a short section of Cliff Drive.    

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

This is one of the classic circuit walks in the Blue Mountains, with great valley views, various attractive waterfalls, tall cliffs, rainforest and moody creeks.

You can sample some of the best of the upper Blue Mountains on this harder than average circuit walk near Blackheath. You get the usual grand valley and cliff views, but also numerous waterfalls, rainforest, and creek scenery. And you can combine the Rodriguez Pass with the Grand Canyon Circuit (as we did) to make a full and varied day of it.

Track notes at the end.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit: The Scenery

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
The Grose Valley from Govetts leap Lookout, which is where we started.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Grose Valley panorama from a little below Govetts Leap Lookout, on the Rodriguez Pass.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Govetts Leap to the right.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Govetts Leap

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Govetts Leap (falls) on the right, and further right still, a hanging swamp.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Dropping down the cliff line.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Govetts Leap from below.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A section of rainforest as we dropped down deeper into the Grose Valley.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Sophia in front of one of many small waterfalls along the Rodriguez Pass.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A birds nest fern.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Lots of dark and moody sections of creek.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
On the valley floor by this stage.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Very lush in places.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
At Junction Rock, looking up at cliffs lining the Grose Valley.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A panorama of some cliffs viewed from the valley floor at Junction Rock.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Cliffs lining the Grose Valley.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A cascade as we climbed higher up towards the Grand Canyon.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A cascade on Greaves Creek.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A very atmospheric spot on the Rodriguez Pass.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Maiden hair Ferns I think.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Beauchamp Falls

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
A cliff near Beauchamp Falls.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Beauchamp Falls

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
An injured yabby that was not very long for this world, but still photogenic.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
You get up close and personal with cliffs on this walk.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Looking back as we climbed higher up the Rodriguez Pass.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW
Looking back as we climbed higher up the Rodriguez Pass.

Rodriguez Pass Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

Track Notes

The NPWS has information on the Rodriguez Pass. Starting at Govetts Leap Lookout on the edge of Blackheath, we dropped steeply down the cliff face into the Grose Valley via the bottom of Govetts Leap itself (apparently the largest single drop waterfall in the Blue Mountains). Continuing on through mostly lush rainforest along Govetts Leap Brook (beware leeches in hot and wet weather!) we eventually reached Junction Rock. From there we set off towards the cliff line again, initially along Govetts Creek, then Greaves Creek, stopping to look at the attractive Beauchamp Falls on the way up (very short side trip – you should hear the falls). About 650 metres ascent and descent.

You can return to Govetts Leap Lookout directly via a small section of the Grand Canyon Circuit to Evans Lookout, then along the Cliff Top Track. But we went the long way around the rest of the Grand Canyon Circuit to make it a full and varied day walk (6-7 hours with lunch and photos). (You can see my pictures of the Grand Canyon Circuit here).

Mt Twynam, Little Twynam, Blue Lake & Hedley Tarn, Kosciuszko National Park NSW

Excellent scenery on this walk taking in two of Australia’s highest peaks, and two of its alpine lakes, including the spectacular Blue Lake.

On this walk high up on the Main Range I visited Australia’s third highest peak for the first time, Mt Twynam at 2196m of elevation, it’s sibling Little Twynam (2130m), the spectacular Blue Lake, and nearby Hedley Tarn. There’s excellent alpine scenery the whole way, and with the exception of the justifiably popular Blue Lake, you’ll avoid the worst of the crowds that frequent the southern area of the range near Mt Kosciuszko. Continue reading “Mt Twynam, Little Twynam, Blue Lake & Hedley Tarn, Kosciuszko National Park NSW”

Castle Head & Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains NSW

Two mostly flat walks that visit a number of vantage points on Narrow Neck Plateau for views over the Jamison Valley in the Blue Mountains near Katoomba.

Two reasonably easy going walks here on Narrow Neck Plateau in the Blue Mountains at Katoomba. They both offer sweeping views over the famous landmarks of the Jamison Valley from a different angle than the more famous vantage points, and there’s also views of the Megalong Valley. Continue reading “Castle Head & Narrow Neck Plateau, Blue Mountains NSW”

Cathedral Range Southern Circuit, Victoria

A fun circuit walk in the small but prominent Cathedral Range, with extensive views from Sugarloaf Peak (920m), and along the rocky Razorback ridge track.

The Cathedral Range is a small but prominent mountain range in Victoria, about two hours north-east of Melbourne. It comprises a 7 kilometre ridge of upturned rock, and climbing then walking along this ridge makes for a fun day walk. A circuit at the southern end takes in the highest peak in the range – Sugarloaf Peak at 920m of elevation – and climbing this can be made a bit more adventurous by taking the Wells Cave Track option. There are extensive views from the top, and for much of the way as you walk north along the range, descending back down to the start at about half way. Continue reading “Cathedral Range Southern Circuit, Victoria”

Meander Falls & Split Rock Track, Tasmania

The Meander Falls and Split Rock Tracks are hidden gems offering quintessential Tasmiania scenery without the crowds, and were one of the highlights of my trip to Tasmania in 2019.

This relatively unknown circuit walk to Meander Falls ended up being the highlight of my trip to Tasmania in 2019. Perhaps not quite as spectacular as the walks we did in Cradle Mountain National Park, it nevertheless provided a remote and impressive bushwalking experience that exceeded expectations (which I have now built up for you! 🙂 ) . And despite walking on a weekend, we met just one or two groups along the way, so it remains underappreciated. Lucky for us at least. Expect beautiful forest and rivers, impressive waterfalls, cliffs, and boulders galore. Very Tasmanian. Continue reading “Meander Falls & Split Rock Track, Tasmania”

Walls of Jerusalem to Solomons Throne, Tasmania

The Walls of Jerusalem National Park offers a wilderness experience in a day walk, and the highlight of the park are the cliffs of the same name, including our target for the day, Solomons Throne (1470m).

The Walls of Jerusalem National Park is a favourite for many people, and yet you can only reach the best scenery by walking in, so it’s a lot quieter than nearby Cradle Mountain. Once you have ascended up through eucalypt forest the alpine scenery starts with numerous tarns, Richea Scoparia (past flowering stage when we visited, but still nice), pencil pines, cliffs, and the cutest, fluffiest wallabies you could ever hope to meet. We chose to walk up the peak known as Solomons Throne (1470m), but if you have time you can also ascend The Temple (1446m) and Mount Jerusalem (1459m). Nearby King Davids Peak (1499m) provides some good photo opportunities. It’s all very biblical. Continue reading “Walls of Jerusalem to Solomons Throne, Tasmania”

Cradle Mountain Circuit, Tasmania

Spectacular scenery all the way as you climb Tasmania’s iconic Cradle Mountain (1545m), and return via the Face Track and Twisted Lakes.

Climbing Cradle Mountain (1545m) is one of the best day walks in Australia, and making a circuit of it by returning along the Face Track and by the Twisted Lakes maximises your scenery. There are excellent views pretty much the whole way, including views of the mountain from various angles, of numerous lakes, and there are extensive views from the rocky summit over the northern end of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Continue reading “Cradle Mountain Circuit, Tasmania”

Barn Bluff ascent, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania

Climbing the distinctively rocky and prominent peak of Barn Bluff (1559m) in Cradle Mountain National Park makes for a classic Tasmanian alpine day walk.

The rocky summit of Barn Bluff (1559m) pops up out of an alpine plateau and cuts a striking figure (… although confusingly it’s not the featured image of this post). I first saw it from the summit of Cradle Mountain on a trip to Tasmania in 2008, and although it looks quite remote, it can in fact be climbed on a longish day walk: one of Tasmania’s best. On the day we did it the weather was all over the place, with snow squalls and mist adding to the sense of adventure. Luckily the weather cleared enough to reveal most of the fabulous views the area is famous for.

Continue reading “Barn Bluff ascent, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania”

Queens Drive – Wye Creek Circuit, The Remarkables NZ

A dramatic and sometimes hair raising circuit walk high up in The Remarkables Range above Queenstown.

This lesser known walk in the prominent and dramatic Remarkables Range near Queenstown is a real humdinger, and will feel quite adventurous for all but the more experienced hikers. After a shortish climb to Shadow Basin Lookout from the ski field car park, there are extensive views over Lake Wakatipu and surrounds, then stark cliffs and hair raising drop offs on Queens Drive, which runs across the western face of the Remarkables at 2000m of elevation.  The walk then enters an extensive boulder field with the Remarkables summit cliffs towering overhead, followed by the picturesque Wye Creek Basin, and then back to the skifields via Lake Alta. Continue reading “Queens Drive – Wye Creek Circuit, The Remarkables NZ”