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Blue Mountains, Australia

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Blue Mountains, Australia

Postby ScottHanson » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:15 am

This June 2014 my family rode the Skyway and Cableway above the valley floor, but time constraints (one day tour guide bus trip from Sydney) did not allow us time to walk on the valley floor. Is the valley floor for day hiking only, or are folks allowed to backpack overnight for a few days? I see they have "storm shelters" strategically placed in the valley so there must be some days with ample rain. What are your favorite places (including climbing) in the valley? I would love to check out the wildlife in their natural setting. Need more time to explore this beautiful place!
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Re: Blue Mountains, Australia

Postby rgg » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:39 am

In the second week of November 2006 I started hiking at Blackheath, descended into the Grose River valley and five days later I emerged again somewhere east of Katoomba. Two days of this I was off trail, roughly following a stream, but mostly I stayed on the hiking trails. All in all I didn't cover much distance, but took my time to explore the area.

Most days I didn't see a soul down there, though I remember that there was one designated camp site down there that seemed big enough to host a large group. I thought that it would make a fine place for the local boy scouts. I didn't see any other campers at all though, and on most days no day visitors either.

For the record: I carried a water filter, and didn't take water from the main river but only from small side streams coming down the slopes.
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Re: Blue Mountains, Australia

Postby rgg » Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:01 am

Addendum: I just found a link to the Acacia Flat campground, the designated camp site that I remembered. I camped there on my second and fourth night.

On the first day I started quite late. At the Blackheath tourist office I asked about camping and about water sources in the Grose River valley, and learned about a suitable spot for one small tent next to a trail and a small stream, and that was my first site. For the third night, I needed a lot of time to find a clear, flat spot - I was off trail, well east of Acacia Flat, more or less following the river downstream. However, close to the river the vegetation was too thick to camp, and a little further away the slopes of the valley were too steep.
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Re: Blue Mountains, Australia

Postby ScottHanson » Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:11 am

Thanks for your comments rgg. I believe I did get a glimpse of Katoomba Falls. My small map shows the Three Sisters and nearby Giant Stairway. Did you get a chance to check out this area? Sounds like the majority of folks cross the valley from above in a cable car and then cross-off Blue Mountains from their bucket list. And very few venture on trails in the valley floor. Too bad!
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Re: Blue Mountains, Australia

Postby rgg » Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:14 am

The Grose River valley is north of Katoomba, while the Three Sisters and the Katoomba Falls are on the south side. The valley south of Katoomba is the Jamison valley. I didn't descend into that one, but after I got back from my trip down the Grose River valley I stayed in and around Katoomba for a couple of days, and on one late afternoon I took a stroll to a lookout point at the edge of the Jamison valley to have a look. Unfortunately the weather wasn't clear, so the sights weren't very impressive.

By the way, I heard that people apparently got lost in the Jamison valley! I can only guess as to the reason why. The Grose River valley is smaller, and while I can imagine that it would be possible to get lost there too, it won't be easy, and with decent orientation skills it would be virtually impossible, even when going off trail. But perhaps the Jamison valley is more confusing.
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Re: Blue Mountains, Australia

Postby ScottHanson » Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:58 pm

I would like to get a contour map to better understand the area. I got a picture map through the guide which has the usual limitations. Btw on our whirlwind tour we also saw Jenolan caves on the same day. Have you visited that area, rgg? I am not a huge cave fan, but this remote "end of the road" area had some appeal to me for potential hikes (and climbs?). There was a beautiful Lodge there (don't know how expensive). Be sure to bring a warm coat during Australia cold season here. Sun sets early in this tiny valley seam. Also, the last stretch road into cave area is minimal and crazy on blind turns.
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Re: Blue Mountains, Australia

Postby rgg » Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:27 pm

Nope, didn't visit the Jenolan caves. It's been a while now since I went to Australia, but as far as I can remember the only caves that I visited there were on Kangaroo Island. As for maps, I think I bought a detailed topo map somewhere in Sydney before heading to the Blue Mountains.
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Re: Blue Mountains, Australia

Postby dadndave » Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:57 pm

ScottHanson wrote:I would like to get a contour map to better understand the area. I got a picture map through the guide which has the usual limitations. Btw on our whirlwind tour we also saw Jenolan caves on the same day. Have you visited that area, rgg? I am not a huge cave fan, but this remote "end of the road" area had some appeal to me for potential hikes (and climbs?). There was a beautiful Lodge there (don't know how expensive). Be sure to bring a warm coat during Australia cold season here. Sun sets early in this tiny valley seam. Also, the last stretch road into cave area is minimal and crazy on blind turns.


Jenolan isn't the end of the road. You can go through to Kanangra Walls which has some spectacular rock climbing. As far as I recall the Australian record for a survived fall on a 7mm rope was set there but unfortunately, I've forgotten the exact details. I think it was back in the 80's
The strawman is evil and must be punished,
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Re: Blue Mountains, Australia

Postby ScottHanson » Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:05 pm

dadndave,
Thanks for the correction. This was my first time to Australia and I am traveling in a minivan with a Chinese speaking guide (my wife is native born Chinese). We started our trip in Sydney then to Blue Mountains (Scenic Railway, Skyway, Cableway, and Walkway) and then on to Jenolan Caves. Looking at a map now it looks like the caves are on a road between Hartley and Oberon. I am guessing we approached from Hartley. Given that this road continues past Jenolan Caves; I hope it does not get any narrower. I would be interested in any books you might know that describe hiking/climbing in the Jenolan Caves area.
Thanks,
Scott
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