Asgard Swamp & Thor Head Walk, Blue Mountains NSW

A lesser known but nevertheless spectacular walk in the Upper Blue Mountains near Mt Victoria. There are cliffs galore, views up and down the deep Grose Valley, and other features such as patches of treeless grasslands.

This walk near Mt Victoria offers some of the best views of typical Upper Blue Mountains scenery, but is relatively unknown so you’ll be able to enjoy the serenity without the crowds. The tracks visit some excellent vantage points on the edge of rather precipitous cliffs with views over the spectacular Grose Valley, and there’s also a few patches of treeless grassy plains (the swamps I presume) that make for a nice change of scenery in this heavily forested area. Add to this a handful of rocky outcrops along the way, some interesting trees, and a worthy side trip to visit a small historic mine. All this for less than 10km of flattish walking.   Continue reading “Asgard Swamp & Thor Head Walk, Blue Mountains NSW”

Red Hands Cave and Link Tracks, Blue Mountains National Park, NSW

A short to medium walk through a variety of forest vegetation in the Lower Blue Mountains that takes in two significant Indigenous cultural sites.

This walk is conveniently located at the very bottom of the Blue Mountains near Glenbrook. Not all that spectacular, it’s nevertheless unique for the cave at the turnaround point, which contains excellently preserved indigenous hand stencils made with red ochre, hence the name Red Hands Cave. Walking from Glenbrook Causeway near the entrance to the national park, you’ll pass through a variety of forest types, from dry scrubby vegetation to rainforest, and the link track provides a bit of variety making a partial loop. Continue reading “Red Hands Cave and Link Tracks, Blue Mountains National Park, NSW”

Nokogirisan / Odakesan / Mitakesan, Western Tokyo, Japan

Three peaks on this longish walk in far Western Tokyo, the highest of which is Odake-san (Mt Odake) at 1266m of elevation. The views can be good if it’s a clear day, but there’s also attractive forest scenery and an excellent shrine near the end of the walk.

If you are travelling to Tokyo it’s possible to do some hiking in the far western reaches of the Greater Tokyo area. We did this walk up and across three peaks – Nokogirisan, Odakesan (1266m), and Mitakesan – in a day, travelling by public transport, and still managed to get back to Tokyo for a shower and then dinner (you’ll want to start early). The views are apparently excellent on parts of this walk (you can see Mt Fuji on a clear day) however not on the day we did it – winter is probably the best time for visibility. We walked in mid autumn before the colours had changed, and it got quite hazy by time we ascended, so we instead enjoyed the walk for the forest scenery, a number of small shrines along the route, and the impressive Mitake Shrine on Mt Mitake itself. Continue reading “Nokogirisan / Odakesan / Mitakesan, Western Tokyo, Japan”

Yeongmori Coast & Sanbangsa Temple, Jeju-do, South Korea

These two very short walks exceeded expectations, offering impressive coastal scenery, views of a big lump of lava called Sanbangsan, a visit to Sanbangsa Temple at the foot of the mountain, then up to a cave with views of the coast.

There were two walks just a short stroll away from where we stayed on Jeju Island when holidaying there in 2017, so we paid the combined entrance fee to the short coastal walk and nearby temple/cave walk, perhaps not expecting all that much, but they turned out to be very much worth it. The rocks and cliffs of the Yeongmori Coast section made for great coastal scenery, and the Buddhist temple Sanbangsa is situated in an impressive spot below sheer cliffs on the 395m mountain Sanbangsan, with a cave and views a short but steep walk further up the mountain. Continue reading “Yeongmori Coast & Sanbangsa Temple, Jeju-do, South Korea”

Box Vale Circuit, Southern Highlands NSW

This walk follows an old railway cutting at first, then descends steeply into relative wilderness, and passes a nice waterfall on the way back up to the cutting. You’re unlikely to meet other walkers on the middle half of the walk.

The Box Vale Circuit is a lesser travelled walk in the Southern Highlands near Mittagong. It follows an old mining railway cutting at first, with valley views on a short side trip. It then descends very steeply into wilderness, follows a river, then climbs back out, passing the attractive Forty Foot Falls on the way. You may well meet other walkers, but probably not in the middle half of the walk, which skirts a section of the Nattai River and feels a bit more remote. Continue reading “Box Vale Circuit, Southern Highlands NSW”

Cape Bailey Circuit, Kamay Botany Bay NP Sydney

This partial circuit walk to Cape Bailey passes along coastal cliffs and through heathland. It starts near Kurnell in Sydney’s south, at the south-eastern tip of historic Botany Bay.

This Cape Bailey Circuit walk in Kamay Botany Bay National Park is an alternative to the coastal walks in the nearby Royal National Park. Like some sections of the RNP Coast Track, it passes mostly through heathland and along impressive cliff edges. You won’t feel quite as remote on this walk as there is an old oil refinery (now fuel import facility) that is still (barely) visible from some spots, but it’s a pretty good option for a walk well inside the city boundary. And this area is a good spot for whale watching when in season. Continue reading “Cape Bailey Circuit, Kamay Botany Bay NP Sydney”

Gibbston River Trail, Otago NZ

The Gibbston River Trail is a constructed and mostly flat track that runs through the picturesque Gibbston Valley wine region next to the Kawarau River. It can be walked or mountain-biked.

The Gibbston River Trail runs through the picturesque Gibbston Valley wine region next to the Kawarau River. It’s a mostly flat gravel track that can be walked or mountain-biked, and to be honest biking it would probably be more enjoyable.

It offers nice views of the river in certain spots, which in sunny weather is an intense aqua colour as my pictures demonstrate. But the rest of the time it meanders through somewhat uninspiring vegetation that offers no protection from the sun, and so was a bit of a slog for us in summer. I recommend walking it in sunny winter weather. (In overcast weather the river won’t be such a nice colour.) Continue reading “Gibbston River Trail, Otago NZ”

Invincible Mine Track, near Glenorchy NZ

The Invincible Mine Track passes through nice forest scenery and provides excellent views up the Rees Valley on its way to an old gold mining site.

The Invincible Mine Track is a good easy-to-moderate walk through beech forest and manuka trees to an old gold mine. There are also excellent views up the Rees Valley along the way. This was a walk I chose as a warm up walk before we hit the longer trails, and it served that purpose nicely.  Continue reading “Invincible Mine Track, near Glenorchy NZ”