Under gum trees and waterfalls
Just a couple hours outside Sydney, rivers in Blue Mountains National Park have carved enormous canyons into a lofty sandstone plateau, rimmed with red cliffs and carpeted with eucalyptus trees.
Though we’d planned an overnight hike through the valley, landslide damage had closed a good portion of our intended loop. Instead, we opted for two day hikes in different parts of the park.
The first day, we descended to the floor of the Grose Valley, picking our way carefully along ridiculously steep and narrow stone steps. At the bottom, the trail followed the river, winding through a towering blue gum forest, arid desert-like terrain and a lush, mossy woodland before leading to the bottom of Govetts Leap Waterfall.
Showered with water droplets from the moss clinging to the wet cliffs above, we made our way back out of the canyon and along it’s western rim.
The next day, a much easier route took us to the top of Mount Banks, then on a deserted old road out to a cliffside for some of the best views yet.
For being the flattest continent on earth, Australia continues to surprise us with its varied and incredibly beautiful landscapes.