Oh Australia – you never cease to amaze me! Just over an hours drive is Sydney’s spectacular bush playground. The Blue Mountains offers dramatic views resembling America’s Grand Canyon but covered with greenery. You’ll also find hikes galore to to suit all experiences.
The Blackheath to Blue Gum loop is a gorgeous two day hike that’s over 24k’s. It’s got a crazy 1335m decline/incline. Basically, say “goodbye” to your legs for the next few days. We parked our vehicles at Evans Lookout. You’ll be able to leave it there for the two-day hike. But, be sure to take all your valuables with you just to be safe. From Evans Lookout, you can see exactly what you’ll be walking: that valley. There’s a lot of diversity to be had. You’ll start in a temperate forest, and as you work your way down it turns into a rain forest.
It doesn’t matter where you are – from the valley or the cliffs edge, everywhere you look, there are panoramic views of sheer sandstone cliffs, waterfalls and gumtrees.
You’ll be following a creek for most of the walk – this comes in handy if you don’t want to carry a lot of water. And some parts are not for the fainthearted. We camped overnight at Acacia Flats. This is quite possibly my favourite quote from the National Parks website:
“If you’re pitching your tent at Acacia Flat campground, you can give yourself a big hug. You’ve joined a rare breed of intrepid campers who have walked into the Grose Valley in one of the most secluded wilderness areas in the Blue Mountains.”
Here’s the Google Camp view of the site:
It was peaceful and quiet. Basically, there was enough space for the six of us to spread out with room to spare. It did get dark quite quickly followed by the cold so pack appropriately.
The next morning, we headed toward Govetts Leap and after a few hours of walking on an incline, it opened up to this…
Whilst climbing up the side of that cliff, you’ll be tickled by little sprays from all the mini waterfalls. It’s wet and crazy steep, but a lot of it has handrails and stairs. Believe me, you’re gonna need the handrails.
After another hour, you reach the top and boy is that a relief. Some hikers choose to take a cab from the carpark to their parked car, but if you want the “icing on cake” kind of view, walk the final 3k back to Evans Lookout. So, what did I learn from a 24k hike? I am probably the most “unfit” fit person I know. Just a few weeks ago, I ran a half-marathon and finished it without any dramas. Quitting never even entered my brain. Sure, I had muscle fatigue but I was still able to keep on my normal activities. This, however, was a totally different beast. I found that walking down into the valley on the first day harder than the actual climb. I was pretty much using muscles that I just don’t normally use. So in summary, going bushwalking “Aussie stye” for two days and with 1335m descent and ascent, I can no longer feel my legs. Actually, let me correct that: If I attempt to go for a walk right now, I wince in pain every single step. If you want to tackle this walk – go for it. It’s amazing. However, if you’re fit, make sure to try out a few mini-hikes beforehand so you know that you are Aussie Bushwalking fit.
Or, if you’re anything like me to just like to wing it: Here’s a way you can fix your legs after the hike.
A girl gone walkabout in the great big world!