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Summer time Micro-Adventure to the Blue Mountains, NSW

03 October 2022

There’s one adventure that is sure to get Thuc Do (of @thuc.creative) racing to put on her pair of Moab 3 hiking shoes and out enjoying the Aussie summer, and it’s chasing waterfalls in the Blue Mountains. Here are her favourite picks: 

World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park is a wonderland of gorges, canyons, gullies... and waterfalls. And there are many falls and cascades that can be reached with just a short walk, making them perfect for a quick half-day of hiking.

Empress Falls, Wentworth Falls

I pulled up to Wentworth Falls’ Conservation Hut just shy of 9.30am to only three other cars in the little carpark. The walk down to Empress Falls is only a 1.1km return journey but there are some short, steep sections and the track can get pretty wet (the Moab 2s will keep your feet dry though!). The average time to do the walk is 1 hour.

There is a lookout named Queen Victoria Lookout less than 10 minutes from the Hut which offers beautiful views over Jamison Valley. The depths of the valleys in the Blue Mountains always take me by surprise. They create a silence and stillness that is very peaceful; often, as I stand there, I can only hear the wind and water and the only things I can see moving are rustling trees and soaring cockatoos (actually, add them to the list of things I can only hear too!).

Thanks to a relatively early start and going mid-week, I had Empress Falls to myself... until I heard a man yell, “rope!”. Empress Falls is the endpoint for canyoners and it is always a thrill to watch them abseil down the falls.

By the way, Empress Falls is part of the National Pass track which is a 4.6km circuit leaving and finishing at the Hut. This track takes you through the Valley of the Waters aka a smorgasbord of waterfalls featuring Empress Falls, Sylvia Falls*, Lodore Falls, Flat Rock Falls, Brittania Falls and Red Rock Falls. However, at the time of this article, the National Pass is closed. Please respect track closures and check the NSW Parks website for updates.

*Sylvia Falls is STUNNING.


Leura Cascades, Leura

Next up was Leura Cascades which is a 30-minute circuit. This is one of my favourite spots in the Blue Mountains. I love its understated nature and how I can tuck myself away between the falls and ferns. I actually lost track of time here, spending an hour writing as I waited for the clouds to roll in the even the midday light out...

Majestic Lookout is part of the circuit and gives a great view of Mount Solitary, the only mountain in the Jamison Valley and a Blue Mountains icon (PS. the 34km Mount Solitary loop from Katoomba is an AWESOME multi-day walk - highly, highly recommend).

Upper Leura Cascades is literally right next to the carpark so be sure to tick that one off too!


Katoomba Falls and Cascades, Katoomba


By the time I pulled up to Katoomba Cascades, it was just after lunchtime. This is the easiest and shortest walk of the three; just a couple hundred metres from the road. For this reason, it can get extremely busy so plan to go as early as possible.

But if you do manage to get them to yourself, stay awhile and soak it all up (you can literally soak them up; I’ve seen people here in their swimmers, scrambling amongst the falls from bottom to top).

And then continue on the Katoomba Falls Circuit to visit one of the most famous falls in the Blue Mountains. Katoomba Falls is 150m in height and falls in two stages. The track is only 1.5km in length but the terrain means it takes between 1-2 hours to complete.

Also in Katoomba, hidden away in the backstreets, is Minnehaha Falls. A 1.3km trail from the car park leads to these falls, which are lesser-known and so especially well-loved by photographers! However, this track was also closed at the time of my visit.

Just 4 hours after I arrived at Wentworth Falls, I was on my way back to Sydney with three falls and cascades under my belt and a real thirst to come back to visit more.


Here are some other falls that are must-sees:

 South Lawson Circuit - this 2.5km circuit will take you through 4 waterfalls; Adelina, Junction, Federal and Cataract (and dogs are allowed!)

 Wentworth Falls - for the best view of Wentworth Falls, head to Princes Rock Lookout. To get to this lookout, follow the Princes Rock walking track which is less than a kilometre long. If you want a longer hike, take the 3.5km Overcliff-Undercliff Track which is a loop that takes under 2 hours to complete.


Thuc Do is a freelance content creator and marketer who loves all things creative, travel and outdoors. Her favourite type of adventure is backpacking in the mountains with her camera, a pen and notebook and lots of snacks. At home in Australia, she loves Kosciuszko National Park and her most visited and loved overseas destination is New Zealand (Queenstown, specifically!)… though she also has a massive sweet spot for Switzerland, after having lived there in 2011. 

Follow her work @thuc.creative

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