“Mother Nature is the greatest artist and water is one of her favourite brushes” – Rico Besserdich
During a wet summer, I took a road trip to discover and photograph as many Blue Mountains waterfalls as possible in a 5-day stay. This post is about the nine waterfalls I got to, all breathtakingly unique, and how to find them. Would you visit all or any of these waterfalls in New South Wales’s Blue Mountains? I will let my photos do the talking, and you be the judge.
By December 2021, New South Wales had come out of covid lockdown, and I needed to stretch my travel legs by taking a road trip. Having reached this conclusion, my next step was deciding where to go. At the time, New South Wales had been experiencing significant rainfall. So, I knew the Blue Mountains waterfalls would be more than a trickle and an excellent time to visit and photograph them.
My love of waterfalls began with Iguazu Falls in Argentina and was cemented with Victoria Falls in Botswana and Blue Nile Falls in Ethiopia. I feel a connection with waterfalls and am mesmerised by their power, majesty, beauty, and carefreeness. Thus, my decision to explore the Blue Mountains waterfalls was a logical one.
I had visited the Blue Mountains many times as a child but never been to any of its (according to Wikipedia) 48 waterfalls. While I am drawn to waterfalls, I wasn’t planning to visit that many. What I could see in 5 days seemed to be a good compromise. Despite the continuing rain and a pea-souper fog on one day, I discovered and photographed nine known Blue Mountains waterfalls. I say ‘known’ because the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre staff in Blackheath told me national park Rangers were finding waterfalls where none previously existed.
The Blue Mountains are renowned for incredible landscapes, undeniable scenery, and nature’s finest. Best known for the iconic Three Sisters rock formation in Katoomba, there is much to discover – lookouts with views over stunning valleys, spectacular waterfalls, historic walking tracks, Aboriginal culture, heritage villages, mountain biking, adventure sports, and camping.
Fun Fact: The Blue Mountains in New South Wales are so-called because of the blue haze blanketing the mountains created by the forests of densely populated oil-bearing Eucalyptus trees releasing droplets of oil that mix with water vapour and sunlight.
My road trip involved driving from Albury to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, with a stopover in Sydney to visit family. I based myself in Katoomba for my five days of discovering and photographing waterfalls
Most of the waterfalls I checked out are in Blue Mountains National Park – a vast region of more than 260,000 hectares on Sydney’s doorstep and part of the UNESCO Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (an area covering over one million hectares). The Blue Mountains National Park is New South Wales’ most visited national park.
It rained for much of the time I was in the Blue Mountains. But with a raincoat for myself and my camera, I was well-equipped and not deterred.
Getting to some waterfalls proved challenging because all the rain had made many tracks inaccessible, and some roads were closed. With the need, on occasion, to find alternative tracks and routes, Google maps became my new best friend.
A word of caution should you visit Blue Mountains waterfalls after significant rainfalls: Many walking tracks to the waterfalls were waterlogged and slippery due to recent and ongoing rain. So, take care. And all involved lots of steps.
Fairy Falls on the North Lawson Waterfall Circuit was not the most spectacular waterfall I photographed on my Blue Mountains waterfalls adventure, but it was the prettiest.
To get to Fairy Falls from the township of Lawson, turn off the Great Western Highway onto San Jose Avenue. Turn left onto Badgery Crescent and then right to resume travel on San Jose Avenue. Follow San Jose Avenue to North Lawson Park, where car parking is available. From North Lawson Park, take the Dantes Glen Walking Track to Fairy Falls.
The trek to Fairy Falls is a 400-metre return walk and well signposted. At the Fairy Falls signpost, turn off Dantes Glen Walking Track, taking the path down to the falls. However, upon returning to Dantes Glen Walking Track, I recommend you turn right and continue onto Dantes Glen before returning to North Lawson Park.
Dantes Glen is about 200 metres further along Dantes Glen Walking Track from the turnoff to Fairy Falls (a 750-metre return walk from North Lawson Park) and well signposted.
As I approached the waterfall, a narrow wooden bridge seemed to defy safe crossing. Nevertheless, I crossed without incident while carrying a water bottle and large camera, and a daypack on my back.
From Dantes Glen, I retraced my steps back to North Lawson Park.
Leaving the North Lawson Waterfall Circuit, I didn’t travel far to join the South Lawson Waterfall Circuit to view Adelina Falls (signposted as ‘Adeline’ Falls).
There are four waterfalls on the South Lawson Waterfall Circuit, but I only walked to Adelina Falls. With thunder rolling around the valley and having had enough of walking up and down hundreds of steps for one day, I was eager to get to my accommodation in Katoomba.
To get to Adelina Falls from Lawson, turn off the Great Western Highway at Orient Street and onto Honour Avenue, parking at the South Lawson Waterfall Circular Walking Track carpark. Adelina Falls is a 600-metre walk from the carpark.
Located between Echo Point and Scenic World, Katoomba Falls, on the Kedumba River within Blue Mountains National Park, plunges approximately 152 metres over two main levels to the Jamison Valley below.
The best view I had of Katoomba falls was the day I joined my sister at Scenic World and took a ride on the Scenic Skyway, which travels over the top of the Jamison Valley.
We also had good views from Duke & Duchess of York Lookout, but trees obscured some sections of the falls.
Scenic World provides perhaps the best views of the Three Sisters, the Blue Mountains National Park’s iconic landmark.
To read the Aboriginal dream-time legend behind the Three Sisters, including an alternative tale, click here.
Starting at Katoomba Falls Park on Cliff Drive, Katoomba, it is an easy, short walk to Katoomba Cascades, located a few hundred metres before the Kedumba River plunges over the cliff to the Jamison Valley below.
You can view the Katoomba Cascades from a small bridge over the river or walk right up to the cascades. I took the photo above from the rocks between the bridge and the cascades.
Wentworth Falls is awe-inspiring as the Jamison Creek plummets 187 metres in multiple drops to the out-of-sight valley floor below. If Fairy Falls was the prettiest waterfall I viewed and photographed on my Blue Mountains waterfalls adventure, then Wentworth Falls was the most breathtaking, and no photo does it justice.
For the best view of the falls, continue down after Wentworth Falls Lookout (disappointing view) to Princes Rock Lookout. The walk is 20 minutes return, graded ‘easy’, with some steps. Access to the bottom of the falls was closed due to maintenance work on the path.
To get to Wentworth Falls, take the Great Western Highway to the town of Wentworth Falls, turning off the highway at Falls Road. Continue to the end of Falls Road, parking at Wentworth Falls picnic area.
Gordon Falls Lookout is 1.6 kilometres from the main street of the Blue Mountains town of Leura. To get there, head south on Leura Mall (main street) towards Megalong Street. Continue on Leura Mall to the end of the road (T-junction) and turn left onto Olympian Parade. The track to Gordon Falls Lookout commences at the corner of Olympian Parade and Lone Pine Avenue. It is about 163 metres along the walking trail to the lookout and includes negotiating a vertical metal ladder with handrails.
Gordon Falls is to the left of the lookout. I found it tricky getting a photo of the falls due to the angle of the lookout from the waterfall. At a drop of 200-metres, I could not see the entirety of the waterfall.
While in Leura, you must visit Leura Cascades and Leura Bridal Veil Falls
Set in Blue Mountains National Park and surrounded by rainforest, Leura Cascades is a waterfall that tumbles down multiple rock shelves on Leura Falls Creek.
The walk to Leura Cascades starts at the Leura Cascades picnic area off Cliff Drive in Leura. However, due to road works, I could not access the picnic area. I eventually found an alternative track to Leura Cascades close to Solitude Restaurant and Cafe on Cliff Drive, near Kiah Lookout. The road at this point was closed to vehicles but open to pedestrians.
The 600-metre walk to Leura Cascades took me well over the suggested 15-30 minutes required as I spent time soaking in the views over the magnificent Jamison Valley, listening to the music of rushing water, taking heaps of photos, walking on to Leura Bridal Veil Falls, and climbing back up all the steps I had taken to get down to Leura Cascades.
Leura Bridal Veil Falls
Fed by Leura Falls Creek and downstream from Leura Cascades, the picturesque Leura Bridal Veil Falls was a fantastic climax to my Blue Mountains waterfalls experience!
Bridal Veil Falls is a permanent waterfall with a drop of 35 metres. The ideal times to visit are late autumn, winter, and early spring.
The day I decided to see Govetts Leap Falls (also known as Bridal Veil Falls and not to be confused with the falls in Leura by the same name), it was pea-souper fog on the drive from my accommodation in Katoomba to Govetts Leap Lookout in Blackheath. Even though at Govetts Leap Lookout I couldn’t see two feet in front of me, I decided I would walk down to the waterfall. For some reason, I figured the fog would lift the lower I descended the mountain. Not my best thinking! The fog made the descent treacherous, especially on uneven, slippery steps. When I finally got to the waterfall where it plunges over the cliff, I couldn’t see anything except the new waterfall created by the unprecedented rains the area was experiencing. It was a whiteout! For the first time, I considered the negative aspect of no one knowing where I was.
Where I stayed
For the five days I spent seeking and photographing Blue Mountains waterfalls, I based myself at Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa in Katoomba, in the heart of the World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains National Park. This 5-star resort, 90 minutes from Sydney, is set in two acres of gardens overlooking the Jamison Valley.
Fine dining, spa treatments, high tea, and a large, comfortable room made Lilianfels the ideal place to come ‘home’ to after a day of trekking.
The nine Blue Mountains waterfalls I visited in December are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more waterfalls to explore in the Blue Mountains, and I still have 39 to discover!
My focus on this road trip was on the waterfalls located in the Blue Mountains. But there is more to the Blue Mountains than just waterfalls. It is a playground for a variety of activities and a must-visit area.
Important Note: You must check the NSW National Parks and Wildlife website for park alerts to avoid disappointment and dangerous situations. Alerts can include track and road closures, fire bans, and safety alerts.
Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored. Unless expressly stated, all photos are my own and remain the copyright of Just Me Travel.
Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts. How can you not love waterfalls! Which waterfall most inspires you to visit the Blue Mountains?
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Author’s Note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government advice.
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