Blue Mountains National Park Off The Beaten Path

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    Red breasted robin
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    Adelina Falls
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    Contrasting nature en route
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Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in Blue Mountains National Park

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    Typical Mountains Towns

    by supercarys Updated Dec 31, 2007

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    There are many other pretty towns in the mountains apart from Katoomba (in fact Katoomba is not particularly pretty as a town but that's where The Three Sisters rock formation is).

    Other typical towns in the Mountains I would recommend are Blackheath (past Katoomba), Leura, Wentworth Falls, and Glenbrook (the cafe centre of the Blue Mountains!) (all before Katoomba)

    Leura and Wentworth Falls are nice places to look around and have more of a home like feel and are not full of tourists.

    Glenbrook has 7 cafes (out of about 25 shops) and is about 2 kilometres from a National park entrance that has an area where you can get up close to kangaroos. You should only attempt to walk to the kangaroo area (a camping ground) if you are fairly fit, there are many steep hills to climb but it is a beautiful walk and well worth it. Very typical Australian scenery and there are many other walks and cycling trails in the area. You can pick up a map from the Park workers at the entrance. Cars incur an entrance fee of $7.

    See my tips on the different villages for more information.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Camping
    • Cycling

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    Glenbrook Cinema

    by supercarys Updated Dec 31, 2007

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    Cinema sign

    If you're in the area for a while and just want to watch a movie, go to Glenbrook Cinema. This is a family run cinema that has been running since the 60's with an extremely friendly atmosphere.

    People are generally more quiet than in the multiplex down in Penrith and it is much cheaper.

    Tickets for AM (morning) sessions are only $8 and for PM (afternoon) sessions it is $10. You won't find it any cheaper in the surrounding area (believe me, I know). The owners run the place and will occasionally give out goodies as you leave (like chocolates after Chocolat and Forrest Gump, wedding cake after Muriel's Wedding and so on). They also have very cheap cups of popcorn and drinks and allow you to buy them in reasonable portions instead of making you buy a whole kilogram! You can also buy choc topped ice cream or a cup of tea (in a real cup with a saucer) all $1.80 - $2.50 for a small size.

    This is one of the most charming cinemas you will ever come across, the ambience alone is worth it.

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    Historic Tramline

    by supercarys Updated Apr 9, 2006

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    Tramway Route
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    I almost didn't put this tip in as this is my favourite place in the world and is best viewed when there are no annoying tourists around (I'm sure you've all experienced this in your home towns)

    Railway Construction Inclines - Glenbrook Gorge, 1910
    A tram line was run from the main line near the end of the old Glenbrook tunnel to the edge of Glenbrook Gorge, where a cable line went down to the building site. The tram line route is now a walking track which crosses Explorers Rd just below Lapstone Primary School. You can see the remains of the winding house and incline, both of which are signposted.

    The tram line runs parallel to the street that I grew up on and can also be accessed by driving to the end of Emu Rd and taking one of the paths that goes left.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel

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    First Explorers

    by supercarys Updated Apr 20, 2006

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    First Explorers Plaque
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    On the Great Western Highway about 5 minutes drive after Katoomba village there is a rarely noticed spot. There is a tree stump that was marked by the first explorers in the Blue Mountains (Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth - there are towns named after them). It is rather inconspicuious, semi hidden under a protective pergola (gazebo) but if you spot it, it's worth a look.

    Unfortunately the tree iteslf has been somewhat destroyed by fire but it is mostly still there.

    There is nothing else in the immediate area and it would be quite difficult to get to unless you are driving past it but if you are, be sure to stop and have a look. If you miss the first street you can take the next one and follow it back to the tree.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Road Trip

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    Corridor Of Oaks

    by supercarys Updated Apr 7, 2006

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    At Faulconbridge there is a park in which every Prime Minister of Australia has planted an Oak tree around the time they were first elected. It is a very pretty park and seldom has more than a couple of people there, a great place for a picnic. The train station is within walking distance and so are the shops.

    TO GET THERE: Get off at Faulconbridge station and head towards the shops then cross the road at the traffic lights. You need to cross the train lines as well but there is a pedestrian crossing there too. Walk down the road to your left and about 500 metres later you'll be there.

    Unfortunately, some vandals have destroyed a couple of the most recent Prime Minister's trees but for the most part it is well kept.

    An interesting look at Australian history.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Jenolan Caves

    by scrooge1947 Written Jun 6, 2003

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    inside caves

    This was called "Temple of Baal"
    There are several caves and different packages you can purchase for your siteseeing.
    You can even hold your wedding there , mainly in "the Cathederal Chambers", so if thats you make enquiries, it is a very large underground area.

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    Mt. Victoria

    by iandsmith Written Feb 1, 2005

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    Lovely building, lovely sky

    If you keep your eyes peeled whilst travelling around the Blue Mountains you will come across some architectural delights from time to time. They were mostly built during the boom years between the World Wars and, fortunately for us today, many have been preserved.
    This particular hotel is at Mount Victoria, at the western end of the Blue Mountains, a village with more than its fair share of attractive edifices.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Seniors

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    Glen Davis

    by iandsmith Updated Jul 6, 2009

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    Bygone eras
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    "This former oil shale mining town lies at the end of the spectacular escarpments of the Capertee Valley, the largest enclosed valley in the southern hemisphere." Now, that's what the tourist blurb says, but I have my queries about whether or not there's a larger one in South America or such. Having said that, the enclosed valley of Wolgan I found to be more spectacular.
    This place is virtually unheard of by international tourists but, if you have the time, will certainly give you a day out you'll never forget. I certainly won't. On the way out my car busted a radiator hose and it took some considerable time before I managed to get to a house and raid their water supply, strap up the hose with duct tape and make my escape.
    In its heyday about 2,000 people lived in the township. The shale oil became an option during the world war (as in second) when, instead of kerosene, petrol was refined. Vertical sandstone cliffs tower above and beyond the crumbling ruins and vegetation that covers the deserted factories lending a surreal aura to the area.
    Simmo's Museum is interesting and has an excellent display of the town and shale mining history. Entry is for a minimal charge.
    There's also a guided tour on Saturday's - see my Glen Davis pages for full details.
    Enjoy the scenery and wildlife with a picnic lunch in the Glen Davis Park. Camping ground with toilets, showers and BBQs.
    There is a bushwalking trail to Newnes up the Green Gully, in the Wollemi National Park (from where the world famous Wollemi Pine was found), following the old pipeline track.
    Along the ridges you will be entertained by the fabulous lyre bird, mimic extraordinaire. Cycads, banksia serrata and assorted eucalyptus cover the area. the distance is 22km return and can comfortably be done in one day.
    Visitors can be treated to excellent Tour Service from Lithgow City Cabs.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Rhodo Gardens

    by iandsmith Updated Sep 27, 2009

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    Azalias in bloom
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    The Campbell Rhododendron Gardens (nee Bacchante Gardens, the street they're in) cover eighteen and a half hectares of sclerophyl forest. As well as the whites, pinks and reds more common in coastal areas, the colours here include yellow, orange and deep violet.
    Azaleas (related to the rhododendron) also proliferate in springtime.
    What has happened here is that the whole thing is done on a voluntary basis. It's really quite extraordinary. Mostly older people with botanical experience who have either moved up here in retirement or always been here (not many other options I suppose!) tend this wonderful display. There's about eight of them.
    Basically, the flowers have been planted intermittently throughout the forest so there are flashes of colour rather than a vast expanse of same.
    This project is under the control of the Blue Mountains Rhododendron Society and is for the study and growing of many hundreds of varieties and species of the really beautiful Rhododendron.
    They look forward to your donation in the box provided as this project is maintained from the money visitors donate and the members' subscriptions as well as the support of citizens and local Clubs and Societies.
    In the main valley an attractive lake and 5 pools have been constructed. The purpose of the Garden is to educate the public and interested groups who wish to delve more deeply into the Genus Rhododendron, and to conserve the natural features of the area for the pleasure of visitors and to encourage tourists to enjoy the beauty of the garden.
    A feature of the Garden is the beautiful Natural Fern Glades and the abundance of Native Flora which we proudly protect for future generations to enjoy - please help to preserve it.
    Visitors to the Garden are reminded that the flowering season for Rhododendrons is September, October and November but the peak period is the end of October and early November. Mollis Azaleas are a special feature at this time as well.
    The Garden is a delight in Autumn when so many deciduous trees look their best during April. The latest project is the planting of a Conifer Garden.

    Related to:
    • Seniors
    • Backpacking
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Glenbrook Village

    by supercarys Updated Nov 1, 2006

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    the main street
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    This small village at the bottom of the Blue Mountains is a lovely quiet spot. It has about 30 shops including a camping shop where you can also hire bikes, a couple of fashion shops and a small supermarket.

    There are 7 cafes:
    Bluetongue Lizard (organic, caters to vegetarians),
    Mash (also a restaurant, organic),
    Mountain Blue,
    Cafe Cee,
    The Deli,
    Glenbrook Village Bakery (in photo),
    Sage Cafe.

    There are 2 parks close by; one with kids play equipment and BBQ facilities (there's a butcher in the main street for fresh meat). There's also a fish and chip + hamburger takeaway shop and a bottle shop (alcohol) along with a few others like retro clothes and travel agents. Also has a pharmacy, doctor and dentist.

    There is a National park entrance about 2 kilometres away that has an area where you can get up close to kangaroos called Euroka Clearing. You should only attempt to walk to the kangaroo area (a camping ground) if you are fairly fit, there are many steep hills to climb but it is a beautiful walk and well worth it. Very typical Australian scenery and there are many other walks and cycling trails in the area. You can pick up a map from the Park workers at the entrance. Cars incur a small entrance fee.

    Glenbrook is a lovely place to stop for a coffee or for lunch on the way to Katoomba.

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    The leftovers

    by iandsmith Written Feb 25, 2003

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    The rock fall

    In 1929, local coach tours used to take people around to a certain spot. The reason was that the cliff was splitting. Only a little bit at first but the gap widened ever slowly.
    One day the bus came around and, guess what? It wasn't there any more!
    If you go to Narrow Neck, descend the Golden Stairway and turn left at the bottom and walk around to the Scenic Railway for the easy ride back to the top, about half way you will come across what happened to the cliff that fateful night in 1929. Here it is.

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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Descend

    by iandsmith Written Feb 25, 2003

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    What you're missing

    It's not literally "off the beaten path", it's more "get on the beaten path" but away from the publicized tourist haunts. Do go into the valleys if you are able. Remember, it is the people that did this in times past that lobbied for it to become a National Park such as it is today. You'll never really learn to love it looking at the Three Sisters or going on the Skyway. You have to see the birds and streams up close and personal to become as one with the Blue Mountains.
    This is part of the Grand Canyon walk at Blackheath.
    See my travelogue.

    Related to:
    • Singles
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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    The Glow Worm tunnel

    by iandsmith Updated Sep 10, 2009

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    Tunnel entrance
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    This is one of Australia's great day walks. Ideally, you should start from Newnes where the first sign is. This will save you about 3 hours walking time compared to going to the old pub and starting there.
    Initially it climbs steeply for a few hundred metres and then it levels out and follows the route of the old train line. Frankly, I found it hard to believe that trains used to run beside the cliffs but run they did, servicing the shale mine that once existed at Newnes and was the reason for the existence of the place.
    The walk continues past the cliffs until there is a section where the walls are coloured with nature's hues (pic 2). Shortly after you come to a stream and here the fern forest starts (pic 5), such a contrast to the open sclerophyll forest previously.
    Then there's the overhanging cave, a spectacular formation just before the tunnel itself and here, deep inside where there is no light, reside the glow worms.
    Allow 4 hours for the trip and return via the Pagoda Trail (pic 4). That adds another half hour but it's worth it.
    To get there, go through Lithgow, take the Castlereagh Highway and then the Lidsdale turnoff. Alternatively, but not as spectacular, go directly from Lithgow.
    My advice - don't miss it.
    An alternative is to come in from Lithgow on the road but the walk isn't quite as scenic as the one from Newnes.
    The life history of the Glow Worm involves four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult fly. Eggs are laid in large numbers directly onto the cave wall. After three weeks they hatch into tiny larvae which immediately emit a bright light. The larvae grow over a period of months until they reach a length of about 30 mm.
    When about to pupate, the larvae shrink in size and become translucent. The larval skin is shed and the larva develops into a pupa, which is suspended vertically. The pupal stage lasts about 12 days. The female pupa is larger and stouter than the male and possesses two prominent bulges at the rear of the abdomen. Both male and female pupae glow. Both adults can also glow, though once egg laying commences, female flies seldom glow. Male flies tend to live longer than females and can live up to four days. Please respect these fascinating creatures by helping to protect the Glow Worms and their habitat so that others can enjoy seeing them in the future.

    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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    Springwood Village

    by supercarys Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Springwood is the second biggest town in the Mountains and is pedestrian friendly, the main street is full of crossings and has wide footpaths for everyone to walk on. There are many shops including supermarkets and discount stores where you can buy cheap souvenirs. There are also some interesting sights to see.

    The Frazer Memorial Presbyterian Church, which was built from local stone in 1895. Maquarie St Springwood.
    The Norman Lindsay Gallery (famous local artist) which has beautiful gardens and works of art all around it. Address 14 Norman Lindsay Cres, Faulconbridge ph 02 4751 - 1067

    History of Springwood

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    The Roenitz experience

    by iandsmith Updated Mar 16, 2012

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    Small cascade at Wilson
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    If you're in the Mount Victoria area, then here's a walk for you.
    "Coming from Sydney go through the traffic lights at Mt. Victoria and take the next turn left into Kanimbla Valley Rd. Take the next turn left into Victoria St and then right into Innes Rd. Continue to the end of Innes Rd which in effect becomes Kanimbla Valley Rd. Find a parking spot near the last houses and continue down the dirt road keeping an eye out on your left for the very short side track to Pulpit Rock which provides a wonderful view of the Kanimbla Valley across to the cliffs of Mt. Blackheath and beyond as far as Kanangra Walls. You may even see a hang glider or two circling in the vicinity of Mt.Blackheath from where they take off. Continue to the end of the dirt road which becomes the wide foot track known as Little Zigzag. Proceed down the hill and you will soon come to a marked side track on a sharp bend. This is known as the North Track and is mainly used by rock climbers. I've never walked far along this track so I have no idea where it leads to.
    Continue on down the main track and keep a lookout for a painted rock sign on the left at another sharp bend saying "Bushranger's Cave". This is well worth a look and has been used by climbers and others as a base camp. It is quite large and opens out to good views of the Kanimbla Valley. After this short diversion continue down the main track to the bottom of the zigzag section, keeping a lookout for a track on your left as you head in a southerly direction. This side track takes you in an easterly direction and was signposted last time I did the walk. It is not indicated on either Topo map but is clear and easy to follow. If you hit a dirt road you've come too far and missed the side track by about 500 metres. The track leads you around and climbs up to the base of the cliffs. The cliffs around here are very popular with rock climbers who can be seen and heard getting their adrenaline rush on most weekends. From the base of the cliffs turn left to Reinits Pass (MW450788) and Wilson's Glen keeping an eye out for Ross Cave which is beside the track. The track eventually brings you out onto Carlisle Street. Follow this back to Victoria Street and then Innes Rd/Kanimbla Valley Rd and the cars. A more pleasant exit is to head back down the track from Ross Cave for about 300m and take the rather vague (initially) cliff top track to your right which heads west for about 400m back to Pulpit Rock."
    Continued next tip

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Photography

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Blue Mountains National Park Off The Beaten Path

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