Sydney might be Australia’s biggest concrete jungle, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a mountain to sumit within cooee of Sydney. Just 90 minutes’ drive to the west lies the picturesque Blue Mountains, where mountain walks criss-cross with heritage trails and wilderness views. To the northwest, the Barrington Tops National Park affords lush vistas of the Hunter Valley on one side and Newcastle’s sand dunes on the other. Then, to the south, three hours’ drive brings you to the rugged terrain of the Budawangs. Here is StayIn Sydneys list for the 5 best hikes within a stone throw of the big city.

1. Mount Banks Summit Walk, Blue Mountains

For some of the best scenic views in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, try the steep Mount Banks Summit walk and picnic area, near Mount Wilson.

It’s time to grab your camera and head for Mount Banks Summit walk, near Mount Wilson. The distinctive double hump of Mount Banks is visible for miles and this challenging walking track gives adventurous walkers the opportunity to explore it at close range.

From Mount Banks picnic area, you’ll ascend steeply and it’s not just the windswept dramatic landscape you’ll want to photograph. Near the unfenced summit you’ll discover a fascinating new world. The unique basalt cap is home to a tall forest of monkey gums, so named by early explorers who mistook resident greater gliders for monkeys.

The 2.4km Return hike will take around 2-3 hours and has some great places to sit and have a sanga.

For more information click HERE!

 

 

2. Mount Solitary, Blue Mountains

For a chance to go wild, pack your hiking boots and head for Mount Solitary walking track in Blue Mountains National Park. A challenging track that will enchant experienced bushwalkers, it passes through heath, woodlands and rainforest with spellbinding views and birdwatching.

From the historic Federal Pass, walk where the old horse drawn tramway once ran to Ruined Castle. From Koorowall Knife Edge it’s a rough unformed track up along the ridge of Mount Solitary, with a short detour to Chinamans Gully which offers spectacular valley views.

At the top, bask in the spellbinding views and look for eagles surfing the valley thermals.

Gaze across Jamison Valley before you revel in the textured hills and dramatic Katoomba cliff-line. To the south lie the rugged ravines of Wild Dog mountains and the unspoilt Kanangra-Boyd Wilderness.

This 12km return hike will require 6-9 hours and is a perfect way to spend the day outdoors.

For more information click HERE!

 

3. The Castle, The Budawangs

The Castle is a spectacular and challenging day walk to one of the iconic peaks of Morton National Park. While the total distance is not large, the climb of nearly 800m is capped by a series of exposed scrambles near the summit. Good fitness, coupled with a head for heights is required. The walk is not recommended when wet as the scrambles would be quite difficult and dangerous.

The views from the summit are tremendous and much time can be spent on the cliff edges enjoying the sights in all directions. Most parties should carry a 20m rope or tape in case fixed ropes are not present. Tracks in general are not signposted, and in places there is a confusion of tracks. Parties need to be confident with route finding.

The 10km climb is not for unguided beginners. You should allow for 11 hours to complete a full trip.

For more information click HERE!

4. Donkey Mountain, Wolgan Valley

Situated in the Gardens of Stone National Park in Wolgan Valley, Donkey Mountain is a mind-blowing sight of rock formations. A good sense of Direction and navigation is desired. Donkey Mountain is highly remote and completely surrounded by cliff edges prone to falling.

Donkey Mountain, Wolgan Valley (Greater Blue Mountains, NSW) Drive along Castlereagh Highway towards Lidsdale from either Mudgee or Lithgow, and turn onto Wolgan Road towards Wolgan Valley. After driving for just over 30minutes Donkey Mountain should come into sight and the road winds to the left (north of Donkey Mountain) You will see a carpark(fenced) on the right with a small steel ladder signposted.

Intermediate to Difficult, for the difficult canyons to navigate on top of the mountain and the moderate level of fitness required to climb 350m at quite a sustained incline with a lot of scrambles. Very limited reception, none available inside canyons. There are no trails marked and it is easy to stray from the right path at any given time.

You should allow several hours to navigate your way to the summit.

5. Sassafras Gully Loop, Blue Mountains

The Sassafras Gully loop is an excellent walk setting out from Springwood Station. The walk uses the gullies to navigate past some wonderful rock features, dense bushland and waterfalls. A nice cool walk in the shade and never too far from water.

For a walk where you get to see it all then Sassafras Gully loop is the walk for you! There are areas of the loop where the track is not very clear. There is signage over the majority of the loop.

You should allow 4 hours to complete the 10.5 km Circuit

For more information click HERE!

 

SAFETY FIRST! Parks and reserves are natural environments and can be unpredictable. You should plan your journey for all weather conditions. For some great safety tips click HERE!

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