Once upon a time the powers that be decided to build a dam. The dam is situated to a series of massive cliffs. The locals told me to try the “spiral staircase”. We climbed down this ladder… More
The drive begins at Graffiti Castle. No one knows why it is there, or who built it. In its glory days it could have been a toilet, or perhaps a spot for Blue Mountains witches to come for raves (I’ve heard they actually do that somewhere).
As you continue to drive to the Glow Worm Caves, you will see these layered rocks that have great handholds jutting out of them. They are perfect for a casual climb, and the view from the top of them looks out over the entire valley.
When you get to the walk, you will go from dry, barren terrain, to lush ferns, that stretch out their leaves into the path that you’re trying to walk on. Luckily, there were no leeches.
I happened upon this trunk stretched across the path. It was too tall for me to climb on by myself, so I had to go through the ferns to inch my way across. The tree trunk is much more wobbly than it appears.
When you eventually get to the tunnel, you will see this faded sign that reads, “Give the worms a go. Keep the lights and noise low. Please don’t touch glow worms.”
To be honest, I just hope the glow worms don’t touch me.
The glow worms stretch out across the walls in similar patterns to the night sky. It’s basically like feeling the stars are actually very tiny, and close enough to touch. It is pitch black inside the tunnel except for the torch on my phone.
I wish I could take a photo of them to show you, but nothing would come close to knowing what it’s like to wander through a cold dripping cave at 7PM at night, hoping that when you come out of the pitch black tunnel, there will still be some daylight left to walk back by. It wasn’t just the tiny pin-pricks of light that made it an eerie experience, it was the whole atmosphere of the place.
I couldn’t make it through the entire tunnel because the echoes from ghostly voices and strange footsteps freaked me out too much. Turns out it was just some teenage boys.
Jenolan Caves is normally well-known for its grand archways and stalac-whatevers, but if you’re short on cash and you live in the Central West, you can go on a walk that will take you to see actual blue water. Not murky brown, not yellow ochre, blue.
My first impression of the Blue Lake River Walk was that there were signs everywhere.
“Don’t swim in the blue lake.”
“Don’t climb on the weir.”
“You shall not pass!”
Sign #1: Don’t walk on the Weir
As the Blue Lake comes into view, a sign forbidding me to walk on the “Weir” appears. I do not know what a Weir is, but I assume it is these flimsy looking boards. I try to test the boards, and quickly work out that the signs are pretty damn accurate
Have a look at that blue water. That is some good looking water. #nofilter
Sign #2: Don’t swim in the blue lake.
If you go on a walk with the title “Blue Water”, you expect there to be swimming. This sign made our hearts sink.
However, although they put this sign up at the beginning of the walk, if you continue on you will come across the coldest brown Australian water you will ever step into. It comes directly out of the caves, and it feels like you are swimming in a fridge.
We celebrate the discovery by imitating the explorer statue in Machattie park.
* We are posing like this ironically.
If you want a bit more adventure you can actually jump off the rock, or slide off the waterfall (we did both) as the water is relatively deep. Always test the water though, or be ready to become a negligence case that law students will laugh at (Jenolan Council v Idiot).
Sign #3: Only one person can walk across this bridge at a time.
The one place on this walk that deserves a sign, is this death bridge. It is visibly rusty, and when you walk across it you really feel like you are a Donkey on a bridge. We completely didn’t see the sign until we were completely across, but we regret nothing.
The view was both terrifying and mesmerising.
If you want a safe walk that you are guaranteed to be protected by signs every step of the way, this is the walk for you.
I can see why they chose this as a popular tourist destination though. None of the photos have a filter, the trees are actually that green. The light actually shines through the trees at just the right angle that allows you to see the star-shaped leaves gently waft down the trees in a dreamy halo. The water is fresh and gurgly and not at all rank and swarming with mosquito larvae.
In short, take this walk if you want to experience the Australian Bush as a kind loving mistress, rather than a harsh nagging wife.
Behold, soft mossy logs that spring softly when you step on them.
Water that gurgles like a laughing baby.
Water, water everywhere, running through your feet.
I had a young male friend who was thinking of asking out a certain young female. He wanted to find an ideal spot, to make her head turn to thoughts of love. He, like many other men, chose Evans Crown.
Evans Crown is the ideal proposal place. If your woman can stomach heights, and a complete lack of direction, she will find Evans Crown will woo her with the magnificence that you may lack.
To get there, just type “Evans Crown” into Google Maps. That should take you to a dusty car park. The walk starts at the gate. You walk up the stairs for twenty minutes, until you arrive at a series of large boulders. These boulders are “Evan’s Crown”. I always imagine that a large giant called Evan just lay down and turned into stone. That giant’s name was “George William Evans”.
Your aim is to make it from the first gigantic mountain of boulders you see (Evan’s bottom), to the second gigantic mountain of boulders (Evan’s head). And finally to the top of the mountain, Evan’s crown. How you get there will be your choice – you can tunnel through the caves, you can leap over gaps, or you can be boring and take the walking track that weaves around the boulders.
At the top of the boulder mountain is a 360 degree view of the countryside. Rather than the furry tops of gum trees normally found in the blue mountains, you are treated to some the square green pastures of Australian farmland. Think of the view outside your window when you take off from a plane, then take away the plane.
Below is a picture of the first place you should try and make it to. This is what we call “Pride Rock”, because of it’s resemblance to the place where Rafiki lifts Simba to the sky. You’ll understand when you see it.
But if you find the sweeping panoramic views mundane, the other appeal of Evans Crown are the physical challenges it presents, that make it the “Adventure Playground” of the Central West. There are a million different crevices to go through and boulders to climb. The sandstone is extremely grippy, so there is very little chance of you slipping.
Here is one of the many challenges that I will never admit to having publicized. If you look at where the girl is standing on the rock, she is about to take one of the many challenges we regularly do at Evans Crown. Basically, we like to slide down the rock face. Now, the “mum” inside our brains tell us to never slide down a rock face that steep. However, my friend has slid down it numerous times, and even sent her younger brothers down it, so I would totally classify it as safe.
*Except one of my friends sprained her ankle once. But… she just landed badly.
Another great thing to do is the “chimney”. There are two walls very close to each other, that we always shimmy up to complete the walk. The ledge you get onto is less than half a metre long, and makes you wish for a harness.
The key to enjoying yourself at Evans Crown, is to remember to enjoy the journey, not the destination. With absolutely no marked ending point, you may have to make your own ending point. If you try new things, you may end up like me and my friends who tried to shimmy between these two boulders, and ended up exhausted and stuck, but with a majestic view.
A lot of tourists miss out on the best that the Central West has to offer. If you look on TripAdvisor or VisitNSW you can find a lot of great things to do in Bathurst, but although all the man-made attractions are listed, there are many more hidden spots that are impossible to Google.
Some Sydney-siders think that Bathurst’s only redeeming feature is Mount Panorama. However, that is far from the truth. The natural beauty of Sydney’s sandy beaches are rivaled by the majestic sandstone formations of Evans Crown, or the ever-changing banks of the Wambuul River.
Stop sipping coffee in your hipster cafes, and stand in awe of the beautiful untamed country you call home.