Witch’s Leap, New South Wales

The lower portion of Witch’s Leap (May 2011)

Even though Witch’s Leap is not the largest or tallest waterfall, it might go down as the most creatively named waterfall in the Blue Mountains National Park. I don’t usually provide much history behind a name, but this one is intriguing enough. Apparently, to early explorers, it looked like there was a witch’s face in lower portion of the falls. I’m not sure I notice it.

If I have the positioning correct, there are two visible portions of Witch’s Leap, but they can’t be viewed at the same location. I don’t remember the exact location I viewed the upper portion of the waterfall, but it was along the cliff walk near Katoomba Falls. If you decide to hike down to the base (or the base of one of the drops!) of Katoomba Falls, you’ll see the lower portion of Witch’s Leap. You walk directly past it on your way to that viewpoint. There isn’t much water flowing over the falls, though it would likely increase after a heavy rain. Other waterfalls in the park were flowing more even though it hadn’t rained in the day or two before.

Directions:

  1. Head to Katoomba. You can actually walk to the falls from Katoomba, though it is easier to purchase an Explorer Bus pass that gets you to the falls. The falls are found at stops 10, 11, or 12.
  2. Find the trail on the left (west) side of Katoomba Falls. Along the way down this trail, you’ll pass the lower portion of Witch’s Leap

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy, from the cliff trail), 6/10 (moderate, to get to the lower portion)
Height: 20′ (lower portion)
Hike: 0.4 miles round-trip

The upper portion of Witch’s Leap

Where in the World is Witch’s Leap?

Leura Cascades, New South Wales

About 2 hours outside of Sydney (by train) is Blue Mountains National Park. It is nearby the towns of Katoomba and Leura. If you have the time, it is definitely worth it to visit the park.  In addition to it being stunningly beautiful, there are also a number of waterfalls. Many of them are very easily accessed, and the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus can help with this.

I decided to try and find the Leura Cascades and Bridal Veil Falls, and in the end, this was not that difficult to achieve. I think on the way there, I just walked to the start of the trail, though I didn’t exactly realized that it was leading to the falls and the cascades. I think I visited Bridal Veil Falls first, because I then remember hiking uphill and stumbling upon the Leura Cascades. Both are along the same creek.  It was rather dark at the time, so it was somewhat difficult to capture the falls.  Sunset was quickly approaching.  It was an easy hop back onto the bus, and then a short walk to my lodging for the night.

Directions:

  1. If in Katoomba, I would suggest taking the Blue Mountain ExplorerLink bus to stop 16 or 17. Both will lead you to the Leura Cascades and Bridal Veil Falls. If you start at 16, you can loop around to 17, and vice-versa.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate, there are some slippery parts here, though there are stairs, especially if you start at stop 17)
Height: ~45′
Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip

Leura Cascades in May 2011

Where in the World is Leura Cascades?

Gordon Falls, New South Wales

Gordon Falls in May 2011

If you have the chance to visit the Blue Mountains while in the Sydney area, I would suggest taking the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus for most of your explorations in the area. The bus stops at most of the interesting scenic sites in the park. You can essentially hit a number of different places all with the setup.

One of the stops that isn’t as busy is the stop leading to Gordon Falls, though that may be because I went later in the day. The hike is very short, and you get an interesting view of a tall, but narrow, falls. They aren’t nearly as impressive as Wentworth Falls or Katoomba Falls, but you should still check it out because it’s so easy to visit…and the scenery is stunning. The falls you see are likely to be highly dependent on recent rainfall.

Directions:

  1. You can access the falls from either Katoomba or Leura.  If you’re driving, Leura would be the better choice, as then it’s a straight drive south on Leura Mall to Gordon Rd.  You would then veer right on Lone Pine Ave to the parking area at the end.
  2. If you’re taking the Blue Mountain Explorer Bus, you’ll get off at Stop #18.  This will be helpful even if your driving, as you can look for the sign.
  3. From the parking area, follow the short trail to the falls.  I didn’t explore whether hiking further on the trail led to better views since I had limited time.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: ~660′
Hike: 0.1 miles or so round-trip

Where in the World is Gordon Falls?

Bridal Veil Falls, New South Wales

Bridal Veil Falls in May 2011

After traveling over 9,000 miles, I wasn’t suffering jet-lag as much as some people might. I took the CityLink train from Sydney to Katoomba, which was an enjoyable two hour ride. After getting here, I went to check in at the lodge because I couldn’t carry around my bags anymore. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself after this, though.

I thought about visiting Wentworth Falls, but realized that I had not planned that out very well train-schedule-wise. I decided to head instead for the falls closer by. I bought a Blue Mountain Explorer bus pass, which is definitely handy, but missed the bus as it was passing by. I decided I must be crazy enough to keep going, looked at the map, and decided to head toward the Leura Cascades. It didn’t seem too far away, and it really wasn’t. Following the signs, I wandered through lush forests to finally arrive at this waterfall here. It’s at the Bridal Veil Lookout, and I’ve seen it referred to as Bridal Veil Falls. This is confusing as there is another waterfall nearby with the exact same name. This waterfall is the plunge below the Leura Cascades. It’s an impressive drop, though hard to photograph from the top.

Directions:

  1. If in Katoomba, I would suggest taking the Blue Mountain ExplorerLink bus to stop 16 or 17. Both will lead you to the Leura Cascades and Bridal Veil Falls. If you start at 16, you can loop around to 17, and vice-versa.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate, there are some slippery parts here, though there are stairs, especially if you start at stop 17)
Height: Unsure (hundreds of feet)
Hike: 0.6 miles or so round-trip

Where in the World is Bridal Veil Falls?