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Self-Guided Walking : Asia & South Pacific

Australia: Sydney to the Blue Mountains

Moderate to Challenging Terrain: 6-12 Miles Daily

Australia’s Blue Mountains National Park, the cherished UNESCO World Heritage site in Sydney’s backyard, provides one of the world’s most magnificent backdrops for walking. With such sweeping beauty—soaring tablelands of sandstone brimming with rock formations, infinite blankets of blue-green eucalypt and gum forests, waterfalls plunging down massive cliffs—it’s little wonder that local Aussies come here for a walkabout. Explore on your own on this self-guided walking tour, using the charming outpost villages of Blackheath, Katoomba, and Leura as your bases, hiking as much or as little as you’d like. Our routes cut deep into Grose River Valley and Valley of the Waters, helping you retrace the paths of Australia’s early explorers, traversing steep hills and thrilling cliff-sides with help from occasional manmade ladders, stairs, and bridges. The Giant Stairway descends past the Three Sisters, an iconic trio of rock formations. Countless waterfalls shower multihued cliffs bearded in green. There’s awe-inspiring wonder at every turn. And there’s breathtaking luxury at day’s end, with deluxe accommodations at two sumptuous lodgings and an upscale bed-and-breakfast, made all the more comforting by Aussie home cooking one night and fine dining on two others.


Tour Highlights:
  • Ride the world’s steepest incline railway into the Jamison Valley, where you’ll explore eucalypt forests, keeping an eye out for lyrebirds and 100-year-old mining relics.
  • Explore the Valley of the Waters, wending your way past plunging cascades and through grottoes, even following a “mid-cliff” path carved into the sheer rock face.
  • Stay in a five-star resort and spa in a luxurious country estate, perched beside a dramatic overlook that offers sweeping vistas of Jamison Valley.
  • Savor a multicourse dinner in a country lodge whose garden supplies the fruits and vegetables used in their kitchen.
Tour Only

6 days, 5 nights

FROM $2,798 USD

per person, double occupancy



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Why Walk With Us

  • Choose from 17 handcrafted Self-Guided Walking itineraries for 2017
  • Trust our expertise with 36+ years in active travel.
  • 24/7 support from a local representative.
  • Generous inclusions: luggage transfers, all breakfasts, some lunches and dinners.
  • Your departure is always guaranteed.
  • Detailed maps and easy-to-follow route notes ensure that you’ll easily find your way.
  • Past guests and referrals always save.

Itinerary & Accommodations

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Day 1

Arrival in Sydney & Transfer to Blackheath

After arriving in Sydney, you transfer to Blackheath, a vibrant artistic town with a rich colonial history, embodied in its many antique shops. Enjoy an optional stroll through the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens.

Accommodation: Parkland Country Gardens & Lodges, Blackheath

A 4 ½-star country lodge and luxurious retreat, the Parkland Country Gardens & Lodges is set on 28 acres of beautifully manicured grounds of flower beds, sweeping green lawns, garden cottages, and a private lake. The property’s lush kitchen garden provides fruit and vegetables to the resort. Parkland offers a soothing environment in which to unwind, with a warm palette of colors and elegant touches in every room. Just over a half-mile from the main street of Blackheath, you can easily stroll into town to browse antique shops and sample Australian cuisine.

Day 2

Blackheath loop walk

Enjoy a long loop walk through rainforest and open woodland, following the Popes Glen Track along a babbling creek before arriving at the lookout point of Govetts Leap. Descend through the bush to spectacular Bridal Veil Falls. Continue on through stands of ash trees past several more lookouts including Evans Lookout and the Grand Canyon. After, return to your country lodge to unwind in their extensive gardens.

Accommodation: Parkland Country Gardens & Lodges, Blackheath

A 4 ½-star country lodge and luxurious retreat, the Parkland Country Gardens & Lodges is set on 28 acres of beautifully manicured grounds of flower beds, sweeping green lawns, garden cottages, and a private lake. The property’s lush kitchen garden provides fruit and vegetables to the resort. Parkland offers a soothing environment in which to unwind, with a warm palette of colors and elegant touches in every room. Just over a half-mile from the main street of Blackheath, you can easily stroll into town to browse antique shops and sample Australian cuisine.

Day 3

Jamison Valley and Ruined Castle

Today’s walk brings you through the lush rainforest and eucalypt forest of Jamison Valley, accessed via cable car or incline railway. As you walk spot mining relics from a century ago and keep your eyes peeled for lyrebirds. In the afternoon, continue on to a rocky outcrop known as Ruined Castle.

Accommodation: Lilianfels Resort & Spa, Katoomba

Evoking the grace of a European manor, the 5-star Lilianfels Resort & Spa enjoys a magnificent setting. Perched near the edge of an overlook 3,300 feet above sea level, you will have sweeping views of Jamison Valley and its canyons. Located in the heart of the Blue Mountains, the two-acre retreat is adorned with manicured gardens and beautiful Victorian touches, including luxurious silk and handcrafted wallpaper. Generous terraces look over the valley and the onsite day spa will tailor treatments to your desires. Also onsite, Darley’s restaurant is the most awarded fine dining establishment in New South Wales, preparing elegant fare sourced from the surrounding countryside.

Day 4

Katoomba to Leura via the Three Sisters

Follow the Giant Stairway down 862 steps into the Leura Forest. On your way, you pass by the iconic Three Sisters rock formations, named for an Aboriginal legend about siblings turned to stone. Take a leisurely and peaceful walk past towering trees engulfed in delicate ferns and covered with mosses that shimmer many shades of green.

Accommodation: Broomelea Bed & Breakfast, Leura

In the heart of Leura’s tranquil Living Heritage district, the 4-star Broomelea is a classic Bed & Breakfast with a charming Edwardian flavor. The restaurants, boutiques, and galleries of Leura are just a ten-minute walk away, as are the cliff walks that overlook the Grose River Valley. Many of its rooms retain original Federation touches and a generous breakfast is served in a relaxed setting. Bryan and Denise Keith have operated the historic house as an inn since 2000 and have enhanced its interior with warm touches and its exterior with lovely gardens and an inviting wraparound porch on which to breathe in the evening Blue Mountain air.

Day 5

Valley of the Waters

Descend into the Valley of the Waters, wending your way past plunging cascades, beneath overhanging cliffs, and through magnificent grottoes. Along the way, experience a “mid-cliff” walk along a wide path that has been carved into the sheer cliff face. Cap your explorations with spectacular views of pristine waterfalls, including the Wentworth Falls, a three-tiered shower that has carved a U-shape into the cliff.

Accommodation: Broomelea Bed & Breakfast, Leura

In the heart of Leura’s tranquil Living Heritage district, the 4-star Broomelea is a classic Bed & Breakfast with a charming Edwardian flavor. The restaurants, boutiques, and galleries of Leura are just a ten-minute walk away, as are the cliff walks that overlook the Grose River Valley. Many of its rooms retain original Federation touches and a generous breakfast is served in a relaxed setting. Bryan and Denise Keith have operated the historic house as an inn since 2000 and have enhanced its interior with warm touches and its exterior with lovely gardens and an inviting wraparound porch on which to breathe in the evening Blue Mountain air.

Day 6

Departure from Leura

After breakfast, your trip concludes with a transfer to the local train station, where you can make arrangements for your onward travel.

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Dates & Prices

Seasonal Tour Pricing

2017 Dates Number of Travelers
2 3 4 5 6 Single Supplement
Solo Surcharge
Jan 1 - May 31 $2,798 $2,798 $2,798 $2,798 $2,798 $735 $195
Sep 1 - Dec 31 $2,798 $2,798 $2,798 $2,798 $2,798 $735 $195
This tour is available daily, on request, from January 1 to May 31, 2017 and September 1 through December 31, 2017. All prices are per person, based on double occupancy.

Photos

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