Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains NSW

A unique and atmospheric walk through a narrow, shaded canyon in the Upper Blue Mountains near Blackheath.

The Grand Canyon Circuit offers a fairly unique Blue Mountains experience, passing through the shadowy recesses of a narrow canyon carved out by Greaves Creek, near the town of Blackheath in the upper mountains. There’s lush rainforest vegetation, tall and dark cliffs, as well as more open sections with dryer vegetation. There’s also excellent views from Evans Lookout of the Grose Valley, looking like a smaller, forested version of that other (slightly more famous) Grand Canyon. Evans Lookout is outside of the canyon, but a part of the circuit walk.

The walk is of moderate difficulty on a well marked track. On the day I took these pictures we combined this walk with the longer Rodriguez Pass for a full and varied day-hike.

Track Notes

The NPWS site has information on the walk. You can start on Evans Lookout Road, either at Evans Lookout itself (at the end of the road), or earlier on at the other end of the canyon, or indeed at a car park between these two spots. Either way you walk roughly parallel to the road on a constructed track for a while to complete the circuit.

Grand Canyon Circuit: The Scenery

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
Tunnels or caves.
Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
Another tunnel or cave.
Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
There were some very narrow sections.

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
Sophia for scale on the left.

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
I’m really not sure what to label many of these photos: ‘water ferns rocks’ would do for almost all of them.
Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
Sections of the walk emerge from the canyon.

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
Looking down through a crack back down to Greaves Creek.

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains

Grand Canyon Circuit, Blue Mountains
Dusk at Evans Lookout, looking over the Grose Valley.

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”

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”

Mother Cummings Peak ascent, North Tasmania

A sometimes steep walk through attractive beech forest and past the tree line onto the top of the Great Western Tiers at Mother Cummings Peak (1260m).

Although a bit misty on the day we did it, this walk up onto the Great Western Tiers to the summit of Mother Cummings Peak (1260m) offers good views over the tiers, as well as attractive beech forest, rocky stream beds, and alpine vegetation up on the summit plateau. There’s also a small waterfall along the way.

Continue reading “Mother Cummings Peak ascent, North Tasmania”

Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston Tasmania

Cataract Gorge and the South Esk River offer attractive bushwalking on the edge of Launceston in Northern Tasmania. Apart from the scenery you might also come across some unusual wildlife.

Cataract Gorge is very picturesque and sits just on the edge of Launceston, northern Tasmania’s largest city. There are a number of bush tracks in the area and we did a fairy wide circuit taking in some country further upstream on the South Esk River in the Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area. Continue reading “Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston 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”

Lakes Bill and Myrtle, Walls of Jerusalem National Park, Tasmania

This walk in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park visits two substantial alpine lakes, both backed by the rugged summit of Mt Rogoona.

This walk in a lesser visited part of the increasingly popular Walls of Jerusalem National Park visits two biggish alpine lakes, both backed by views of the summit rocks of Mt Rogoona (1350m). In early 2019 there were still substantial fire affected areas, but they often added an interesting aesthetic to the scenery.

Continue reading “Lakes Bill and Myrtle, Walls of Jerusalem 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”

New Chums Gully Circuit, Arrowtown NZ

A shortish circuit walk out the back of Arrowtown that offers pleasant rather than spectacular scenery.

There are various tracks out the back of Arrowtown, and although the scenery is not the best on offer, these trails offer a bit of variety for when you’ve done the more famous tracks in the Queenstown area. And you can fit many of the options into a half day. The New Chums Gully Circuit is just such a walk, and you may not see anybody else along the mid-section  of this route.  When you’ve finished, Arrowtown makes for a nice, albeit touristy spot for afternoon tea. Continue reading “New Chums Gully Circuit, Arrowtown NZ”