Trek through World Heritage scenery by day and relax in luxury at night, on this three-day walk through the Blue Mountains.
By Simon Webster
Sydney’s Blue Mountains are renowned as a paradise for hikers. Just 90 minutes from the city, they form a spectacular playground of World Heritage-listed wilderness, measuring one million hectares (2.5 million acres).
Now you can explore the area by day (and pamper yourself by night) on the Blue Mountains Grand Traverse, a three-day guided walk combining epic views, canyons, sandstone cliffs, rainforests, waterfalls and abundant wildlife – with luxury boutique accommodation and fine food at the end of each day. Because while there’s not much that can top a long hike through pristine wilderness, a gourmet meal and hot shower at the end of the trail certainly doesn’t hurt.
Tackle incredible walking tracks
There are plenty of beautiful day walks in the Blue Mountains, but this three-day walk “takes people that little bit further, to places they might not normally get to”, says Natasha Ingerson, a spokesperson for Auswalk, the company behind the Grand Traverse.
After being picked up from your Sydney hotel (or the airport), you’ll be whisked up to the pretty village of Blackheath, high in the mountains. Over three days, you’ll walk through peaceful forests, beneath waterfalls and along sandstone cliffs with your expert guides, hearing tales of local history and Aboriginal lore along the way.
Most of the track is well established, but there’s a bit of adventure to be had – you’ll cross rivers, tackle some stairs and even climb ladders. The further you head off the beaten track, the more wildlife you’ll see. Your guides will help you spot unique Australian creatures such as echidnas, lyrebirds, king parrots and yellow-tailed black cockatoos – maybe even a wombat.
Prepare to be amazed, daily
Each day has its own highlights. On day one you’ll make the descent to Bridal Veil Falls before heading up to Evans Lookout for incredible views across the Grose River Valley, right in the heart of the mountains.
At the start of day two, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the walk that lies ahead from the Scenic World Skyway (which also offers views of the famous Three Sisters rock formation). Then take the steepest incline railway in the world down into a rainforest and embark on a trek to Ruined Castle.
The final day takes in several natural wonders, including the majestic Wentworth Falls, which cascade 187 metres (614 feet) from the cliff above. But the highlight is arguably National Pass, where you’ll take the unforgettable “mid-cliff” walk along a wide path carved into a cliff face. From the path there are sweeping views across the Valley of the Waters, home to a series of beautiful waterfalls set against a backdrop of Australian rainforest.
Enjoy the downtime
Your accommodation for the Blue Mountains Grand Traverse is the boutique hotel Echoes – an intimate luxury retreat of just 12 rooms, named after its panoramic location at Echo Point.
The hotel has views of the mountains from every room, including the restaurant terrace. If you can tear your eyes away long enough to look at your plate, you’ll find modern Australian cuisine – with an Asian influence – served every evening. A two-course dinner is included each night, as well as a cooked breakfast buffet and a walker’s lunch during the day.
There’s also a day spa and access to the tennis courts, gym and swimming pools next door at Echoes’ sister property, the longstanding, multi-award-winning Lilianfels Resort & Spa.
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