Blue Mountains, Nr Sydney, NSW, Australia
Hiking down to Minnehaha Falls is its own reward. As you wander along the trail in the Minnehaha Falls Reserve, first alongside the babbling Yosemite Creek, then through woodland and heath and finally descend into the valley, you may spot anything from a Peregrine Falcon to a Crimson Rosella and be dazzled by the wildflower show, watered by one of the three largest areas of hanging swamp in the Blue Mountains. Once down at the falls you’ll quickly forget about the prospect of the walk back uphill to the carpark as you find yourself almost encircled by a towering cliffs which make up the head of the valley. To the right of the path the waterfall (which runs all year round due to slow water release from the hanging swamps) plummets into a deep pool which was rumoured to be bottomless when the spot first became popular in the 1890s. This spot has special significance for women in the local aboriginal community and it’s easy to see some of the reasons why.There are flat rocks at either side of the pool and some shade from bushes and overhanging cliffs. It is possible to jump from both the waterfall and the hillside but a very sure footing is required to even get to the jump points and info from a local is recommended.
How To Get There: Turn of the Great Western Highway at Katoomba onto Camp Street and follow the one way system, turning left onto Barton Street and continuing onto Minnehaha Road. Follow this right to the very end and park in the reserve car park. The walk starts to the left of the information board. The walk follows the creek and then runs steeply downhill. When the track splints into two, take the left fork and pass a bench to reach the falls. The right fork takes you downstream where there are another couple of smaller, but potentially quieter, swimming holes.
Difficulty of access: 5/10 – It is just over 1km to the falls and fairly steep in some sections. The trail is clear and well maintained.
Opening Times/Seasons: All day/all year
Entrance Fee: None but the Minnehaha Falls Bushcare Group, who have helped to completely regenerate the spot, would probably appreciate a donation.
Facilities Nearby: The closest facilities are in Katoomba. There are toilets in Bureau Park on Barton Street and plenty of shops and cafes in the town centre.
Other Activities: The Street Art Walk in Katoomba is worth a look and the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre is one of the best of its kind.
Other Places of Interest Nearby: There is so much to do in the Blue Mountains you will never be bored. The Waradah Aboriginal Centre in Katoomba is an excellent resource for gaining more insight into aboriginal culture and art. Scenic World offers several unique ways to view the Blue Mountains landscape including the glass-floored ‘Scenic Skyway’ and cable cars.
Wildlife: There are Wombats, Swamp Wallabies, Sugar Gliders, Ringtail Possums and many birds such as Peregrine Falcons, Barking Owls and Sacred Kingfishers as well as a wider than normal variety of skinks and lizards.
Places to Eat: Our favourite was the Yellow Deli Common Ground Cafe in Katoomba but there are several places to eat here and in Leura. The Conservation Hut Cafe is right near Wentworth Falls and has dramatic views of the valley and a log fire.
Where to Camp: Ingar Pool has a lovely, simple bush campsite.
Other places to Stay: There are plenty of places to stay in the area including many lovely holiday house rentals.
Nearby Towns: Katoomba, Leura, Wentworth Falls
Other Swimming Spots Nearby: Ingar Pool, Ingar Dam, Dargan Dam, Empress Falls, Jellybean Pool, Leura Falls, Wentworth Falls.
Comments: An easily accessible bush adventure right near the town of Katoomba.