Blue Mountains local Laura Boness describes two of her favourite walks, the Charles Darwin Walk and the Nature Track.
"The Charles Darwin Walk in Wentworth Falls was one of my favourite bushwalks as a kid. I’ve taken several friends on it as an introduction to the Blue Mountains.
I’ve always started the walk from the park end, heading under the wooden arch saying ‘Charles Darwin Walk’ and going downstream towards the falls. The Jamison creek flows beside the walk the entire way and we cross it many times – the distances always seemed longer as a kid, so it’s a surprise to see the second and then the third bridge so quickly. There have been a few other changes – there are more boardwalk sections and at least one of the bridges has been replaced – but I still remember the track and the surrounding scenery, with several deep pools, cascades and the changes in the bush as we walk.
Towards the end of the track, we climb down the path alongside the beautiful Weeping Rock and carefully make our way over the rock path to the last section of the walk down to the falls. Standing at the top of the falls on the stepping stones (making sure to stay behind the fence), you can either admire the Queen’s Cascades or the fabulous views of the Jamison Valley, or go a bit further towards Rocket Point to see the falls themselves. From here hikers can either continue down the cliff on the National Pass Walk, up towards the picnic area or return along the track to the start.
The nearby Nature Track loop is shorter but more challenging with steeper steps – I didn’t actually do this walk until a couple of years ago, but I would have loved it as a kid. For anyone looking for a longer walk, it can be connected to the Charles Darwin Walk via the shortcut track and the short walk to the falls from the picnic area.
We started from the Conservation Hut and followed the track down into the valley on the first section of the National Pass, which offer a chance to enjoy more amazing views of the valley from Queen Victoria lookout and Empress Lookout, before turning right and heading up into the Valley of the Waters over Lillian’s bridge, following the numbered posts. The valley certainly lives up to its name, with a creek crossing over stepping stones, then a waterfall and another set of stepping stones in the pretty Lillian’s Glen – there are several famous people associated with these walking tracks, but I haven’t found out who Lillian is yet.
After this, the walk climbs up again and we follow the sign to Edinburgh Castle Rock from the intersection at the top. The rock has some great views, but is unfenced so take care near the edge. After enjoying the views and looking at the rock’s swirling patterns, we follow the signs back towards the Conservation Hut."
Words and photos_Laura Boness