The Great Australian Christmas – The Great Nature’s Retreat

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.

Wentworths 1.JPG
View from Wentworth Falls Lookout
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.

wentworth-7
View from Fletchers Lookout
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).

wentworth-8
Jamison Creek (top of Wentworth Falls)

wentworth-9
Feeling victorious…

wentworths-2
View from Jamison Creek, atop Wentworth Falls
Still unsated, we tortured ourselves into crossing a section of the National Pass, where ultimate scenic grandeur awaited…

wentworth-4
Wentworth Falls (to the right) as viewed from the National Pass

wentworth-5
The unrelenting National Pass steps

wentworths-3
National Pass steps going up

wentworth-6
Perfect juxtaposition
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”.
Advertisements

32 thoughts on “The Great Australian Christmas – The Great Nature’s Retreat”

    1. Thanks Len! The hike we took was about 1.5hrs but seriously I was geared up to do the full hike of about 5hrs. The full hike would take me to the valley floor (looking back up to the waterfall) but the stairs would be extremely steep and more treacherous. A few years ago my friend and I hired a guide and did a hike through much of the same area and that was adventurous to say the least (more crawling than actually hiking…)!
      I’m not sure what’s wrong with WordPress!! I’ve had issues with the App for ages… thanks for letting me know though! 🙂

  1. Reading this and looking at the beautiful pics, I find myself laughing remembering doing the Wentworth Falls walk with my kids and nieces. The tip I want to add is: if you go with kids, take a change of clothes. Tee Hee. Because my daughter was rock hopping so happily at the base of the falls then all of a sudden – weeeee, she slipped and fell into the icy cold creek. Even though it was a warming day (Easter) she got cold pretty fast. She was wearing cotton leggings so we tried to improvise. I took off my Kathmandu headband and we found it extended enough to form a makeshift skirt. That was a few years ago but just yesterday we were laughing remembering it. So – yep, worth packing a change of clothes (or at least socks) for littlies at least. And wear quick dry clothes, not cotton.

    1. Hey Naomi, thanks for sharing your story! Absolutely would recommend a change of clothes! Even for adults, as we were totally soaked through by the time we got back up… Sounds like you had a fun day though! 😁

    1. Hi! Thanks for finding my blog! 😊
      Are you from Sydney too? Yes, both parks are absolutely breathtaking and I can immerse myself in them for days (hopefully that doesn’t sound too reclusive…)

      1. Same here! I’ve lived in Sydney for 3 years and moved up to the Gold Coast about 1.5 year ago. I’m just loving it! The way the media portray this region is almost defamatory. If you want to have a sense of what’s out there in Queensland from a nature-lover perspective you can check my blog (still in the early stages though) 😉

  2. I would have loved to see the Wentworth falls and much more. When I went to Oz I just started getting interested Into trekking. As I saw the blue mountaines I just went to see the three sisters that’s it. Can you believe it?! I would have loved to trek. Anyway I was a good read thanks for sharing. Christmas in Hamburg – Germany was cold and rainy this year ;(

    1. Hi hearty nomad, Thanks for finding my blog! Please there’s no need to feel too bad about it, Blue Mountains National Park is notoriously vast and it’s impossible to cover in a matter of days. You’ve done well to see the three sisters. There’s always next time! 😊
      I’ve seen many photos of the European Christmas markets. I was very jealous when my friend sent them through from Germany. Might have been cold and rainy, but the Christmas spirit would have been awesome!

      1. Yeah the markets are indeed the best and one of the biggest highlights here in December. I don’t want to miss that. Christmas I Sydney was amazing though. So wird to habe a bbq on boxing day. Me and my family prepare 12 dishes and bake 5 cakes for 5 people it’s a feast. But I’m originally from Poland and that is a different culture where you don’t find Christmas markets but warm vodka that worms you.

      2. Damn right! After two weeks with family you have to start running! Otherwise you gonna muffintop away;)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s