If this is not your first time on my blog, you already know about the infinite love I have for hiking. The National Pass is the first one I did since arriving in Australia a month ago and it was a great start - I'm now hungry for more! The hike is located in the Blue Mountains, a mountainous area around 2.5 to 3 hours from Sydney that is popular among locals and tourists alike for its many recreational activities, including hiking, rock climbing and canyoning.
My friend & I did the National Pass in a pretty laidback pace because we stopped at every lookout point to admire the view. We even had a picnic at some point haha, so we took it rather slow and took around 3 hours to complete the trail. I did bring my camera but somehow managed to forget ALL THREE of my SD cards. That's the stuff I do, you know, basically bringing extra weight to carry on my back. All pictures were thus taken on my iPhone instead my SLR camera, but I guess they turned out ok. Not too hard with a motive like that!
Why should you do the National Pass? If you're ever in Sydney or in the area and crave some time in the outdoors and a decent enough workout, you should definitely consider doing this hike. The distant mountains are a spectacular sight, not least because they are covered in beautiful, blueish haze. The haze comes from a type of chemicals that are emitted by the large amount of eucalyptus trees in the area and makes for a really cool atmosphere. The second highlight are the Wentworth waterfalls you will cross on your path, which are not only impressive but also a nice means to cool down in the summer time.
How to go there? From Sydney Central station, take the Blue Mountains line to Wentworth Falls station (you can check the schedule here). Make sure to go relatively early, because the train ride takes 2 hours. Then follow the signs or your Google Maps instructions to go to the Wentworth Falls picnic area. This should take approximately 20-25 minutes and from there, you start the hike. It goes in a loop and finishes at the Conservation Hut, from where you can easily walk back to Wentworth Falls train station. When hiking in the winter time, make sure to schedule your return to the train station before 5 PM, since that's when it gets dark.
How is the hike? It literally consists of only stairs, so if you love steep paths, you're gonna love this one. It starts out as a nice walk in the forest, followed by an iconic path that was built into the side of a cliff. It is really nicely secured and not dangerous at all, but if you're really scared of heights, this may not be the path for you. After you descend the cliff all the way down into the green valley, you arrive at the gorgeous Wentworth waterfalls and then follow a nice walk in the woods. Since all descriptions online called it "difficult", I did expect it to be, but it is really only the last third of the hike that's steep: It's basically stairs, stairs and more stairs, interrupted by lookout platforms that make for a nice excuse to rest. All in all, the hike is not very hard though and the views are worth climbing those stairs. Also: To my surprise, we did not see snakes, spiders or anything remotely dangerous; our only companions were fellow hikers and lots of beautiful birds.
In the pictures below, you can find some of my favorite (iPhone) pictures from the hike.