Many of the blogs I follow are based in the northern hemisphere, where the air seemed to be abundant with festivities of the Christmas markets at this time of the year, not to mention all that snow. Whilst it is highly lamentable that we shall never have a white Christmas in our part of the world, the classic long summer days with endless possibilities for great outdoor retreats make me happy indeed to call Australia home.
I like my seas; but I’m drawn to my mountains. There have been studies done – personality studies of sorts – to determine who you are by the degree of your affinity with mountains or the seas. There are no prizes there for guessing where my heart belonged. And the verdict? Well, apparently mountains are an introvert’s best friend.
An Introvert’s Guide to Christmas in the Great Outdoors
The Great Blue Mountains Area is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site situated ~50km (~30 miles) west of Sydney. As a western Sydneysider, the region’s voluminous mountain ranges (1.03 million hectares to be precise) are one of the most accessible. The region’s sheer scale makes it futile to attempt to conquer in one day. The lush landscape overlooking majestic cliffs and sandstone formations continues to whet my appetite to return and explore new frontiers, and remains one of my favourite enclaves in Sydney.
We ventured to explore Wentworth Falls on Christmas Day. With the town (and a railway station) named after its major attraction, Wentworth Falls is indisputably the most prominent waterfall in the Blue Mountains National Park and is well-worth the trek.
If the level of engagement from my readers is any indication, the evocative power of pretty pictures far outweighs words alone. But that is OK, as I write for myself, and I shoot for others. So without further ado, the below is a selection of my shots from Christmas at Wentworth Falls.
There are two lookouts within flat walking distance to the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area car park; Jamison Lookout and Wentworth Falls Lookout. Granted, the name of the latter is a little deceiving (as it does not actually offer a view of the waterfall), nonetheless the scenery offers a glimpse of the magnificence to come.
The signposts are clearly marked for ease of navigation and the entrance to the Wentworth Falls track cannot be missed (to the left of the Wentworth Falls Lookout), however if ever in doubt, take guidance from the crowd in front! The well-worn wooden paths to the Fletchers Lookout are only moderately inclined and makes for a leisurely hike. The vantage point was sublime, but I was relentless in my pursuit of greener pastures and thus we pressed on.
And thus we landed at Jamison Creek at the head / edge of Wentworth Falls. This is a major tourist attraction and on our return journey, hordes of tourists claimed the creek as their own (with many more even scaling its treacherous rocks).
Still unsated, we tortured ourselves into crossing a section of the National Pass, where ultimate scenic grandeur awaited…
If Only I’d Known Earlier…
- Setting out on a public holiday (albeit Christmas Day) might not be such a great idea if you don’t want half the population of Sydney to photobomb your favourite shots.
- Whilst the distance of the hike to Jamison Creek is less than 2km (~1.2 miles), consider this as a predominantly vertical hike, particularly on the National Pass tracks which stretch beyond Jamison Creek. Have a good understanding of your fitness level and choose your route accordingly. Going down to the valley might appear to be a breeze, but what goes down must find its way back up!
- For the less oriented amongst us, take a photo of each signpost (and a well-earned breather) before marching on. This includes the introductory signpost at the Wentworth Falls Lookout.
- Water and refreshments would be a desirable burden to your backpacks.
- Set out after a rainy day or a rainy morning, as the waterfalls would appear “fuller”.