• Sam Wilson

Beautiful Waterfalls in the Blue Mountains

14 photo worthy waterfalls in the Blue Mountains Australia

Waterfall in the background with the quote - “There's no better place to find yourself than sitting by a waterfall and listening to its music” ― Roland R Kemler
“There's no better place to find yourself than sitting by a waterfall and listening to its music” ― Roland R Kemler

The Blue Mountains region is a very popular destination as it is less than 2hrs from Sydney. It is home to countless walks and panoramic lookouts, but it also has lots of beautiful waterfalls and this article will showcase 14 of the most scenic waterfalls you can visit in just a couple of days.

I’ve said before - I would really love to live in the Blue Mountains with all her beautiful landscapes and waterfalls, but I know I’d never survive the cold - so visits for a few days each time will have to do.

Not a waterfall, but the absolute star of the Blue Mountains for anyone that visits, this is usually number one on the list - no prize for guessing why!

I tried to find out how many waterfalls there actually are in the Blue Mountains and failed miserably. I saw one article that mentioned 63 and decided at the end of the day that it doesn’t really matter - I’m just a numbers girl and wanted to know!

What does matter is knowing where these waterfalls are, how to get to them and the best time to go chasing, so you’re at the right place for all of these tips.

I’ve managed to visit 14 of them in a couple of trips, and if you really wanted to they could all be visited in an action packed 2 days so let’s go.

camera in front of waterfall
Sylvia Falls

This area has been impacted greatly by fire and floods over the last couple of years, so check the NPWS website here to check if the location is open when you plan to visit.

Here are 14 waterfalls of the Blue Mountains. They are listed in order of ease to access from wheelchair accessible to a moderate steep 1.5hr walk.

  1. Govetts Leap

  2. Katoomba Cascades

  3. Wentworth Falls

  4. Leura Cascades - no photo as access was blocked after a landslide but I did visit here prior to taking up photography and highly recommend it. It is open again at the writing of this post (2022) and what an excuse to go visit again with the camera.

South Lawson Waterfall Circuit - 5 waterfalls in 1.

5. Adelina Falls

6. Junction Falls

7. Leslie Falls

8. Federal Falls

9. Cataract Falls

10. Terrace Falls

11. Solote Pool (the key to peace)

Valley Of The Waters - 3 waterfalls in 1.

12. Empress Falls

13. Sylvia Falls

14. Lodore Ralls

1 - Govetts Leap

Govetts Leap is without question the easiest waterfall in the Blue Mountains to access, and also the one with the most sweeping views. The view overlooking the incredible views over the Grose Valley are impressive enough, but the views over this waterfall with a 180 metre drop to the base of the cliff take it to the next level.

It is an absolute must to visit, and even if you’re not a photographer, just being in this spot is inspirational - even better if you bring a coffee and picnic to have in the grounds around.

There are also some lovely short walks to other lookouts close by so it’s definitely not to be missed.

Govetts Leap

Fun fact - Govetts Leap was named after William Govett, who was a painter and surveyor, and first discovered the spectacular spot in 1831.

Map Location - Just a couple of minutes drive from the centre of Blackheath. Govetts Leap lookout

Access To Waterfall - Less than a minute’s walk from the car to the top lookout. Wheelchair accessible.

Facilities At Location - Toilets, picnic tables, ample parking.

Good To Know - Check out the short walk on the other side of the picnic area to visit George Phillips Lookout

2 - Katoomba Cascades

Right in the centre of the town of Katoomba, there’s no excuse to miss this little gem. A lovely oasis right and perfect for a break in the middle of your exploring day.

From here you can access a few nearby walking tracks including the night lit walk that was completed in 2021.

Map Location - Right in the centre of Katoomba Katoomba Falls

Access To Waterfall - A short walk from the car down with about 100 stairs but can be seen from the top if you are unable to manage stairs.

Facilities At Location - Picnic area and toilets nearby, ample parking.

Good To Know - You can really get up close and personal with these falls. Best to photograph in the afternoon after the sun has dipped behind the trees to avoid harsh sun glare earlier.

3 - Wentworth Falls

This is probably the most famous waterfalls in the Blue Mountains, and for good reason. The layered waterfall is 187 metres in height making it the highest and most impressive, particularly after heavy rain.

There are a number of walking tracks in this area ranging from the easy one suggested here to photograph from afar, to others that are definitely more challenging.

The magnificent Wentworth Falls - can you see the 2 people at the top of the falls?

Map Location - Not far from the Great Western Highway at Wentworth Falls Wentworth Falls picnic area

Access To Waterfall - There are numerous ways and vantage points to view Wentworth Falls, but my recommendation for the easiest walk to view the full falls in their entirety is Princes Point Lookout.

Facilities At Location - Picnic area and amenities. Parking can get busy so suggest going earlier in the day, or sunset for stunning photos from Princes Point with Wentworth Falls behind you.

Good To Know - The walk is a little steep but it is well maintained with wide steps.

4 - Leura Cascades

A beautiful short walk along a boardwalk. This takes you along the creek through the forest and within a few short minutes you are up close and personal with Leura Cascades, a lovely series of small but still beautiful waterfalls.

There are a number of viewpoints to take photos from so be sure to explore.

Be sure to continue a few minutes further on to a stunning lookout with stunning views across the valley. There are more difficult walks you can continue on from there if you wish to research that.

Old phone photo of Leura Cascades as the walk was closed when I last visited. Just another excuse to have to go back again

Map Location - Leura Cascades Picnic Area

Access To Waterfall - Easy 10 minute walk from the picnic area

Facilities At Location - Toilets, picnic tables, ample parking.

Good To Know - Check for the nearest parking area and access as there was a serious landslide here in 2020 and not all tracks were open at time of writing.

5 - 9 - South Lawson Waterfall Circuit - 5 waterfalls in 1

This is kind of a secret location as in it’s way less well known, and therefore popular, than those mentioned so far.

The full walk is around 2.5km and is classed as ‘easy’. This must be a fit ‘hiker’ grading. I would say it’s leaning towards moderate, but is well maintained with steps and no real danger areas from what I experienced.

It really is admirable the amount of work done to keep all of these walks and stairs maintained considering the vastness of the area and the damage it has experienced over the years.

While these falls aren’t as big or ‘magestic’ as the previous falls mentioned, these are well worth visiting for 4 (or 5) very different picturesque waterfalls.

Waterfalls along this walk - Adelina, Junction, Leslie, Federal and Cataract

Map Location - South Lawson Waterfall Circular Walking Track

Access To Waterfall - The path is well signed as you go around this loop. Depending on how long you take to photograph each fall, the whole circuit should take less than 2 hours.

Facilities At Location - Parking only. Head back to Lawson for facilities.

Good To Know - Best to go after good rains to avoid disappointment - as mentioned earlier they are not large falls, but they are definitely worth a visit and stroll.

10 & 11 - Terrace Falls and Solote Pool

This is a walk that definitely requires allocating a couple of hours to explore Terrace Falls, Solote Pool and the beautiful brooks and forest throughout.

It is one of the lesser known areas and definitely best after decent rainfall.

Terrace Falls

Up until now this post has only listed waterfalls that don’t really require any self-navigation skills. From here on in though I’d recommend a guide unless you’re an experienced and confident hiker who has done their research and has appropriate safety equipment.

If not, get yourself an experienced local or guide that has been here previously.

It is definitely a beautiful walk through the forest with numerous ferns and unique little brooks like I’ve not seen anywhere else.

Map Location - Terrace Falls

Access To Waterfall - A decent walk graded ‘medium’. Numerous high steps that can be slippery.

Facilities At Location - Parking only. Head back to Lawson for facilities.

Good To Know - Best to photograph earlier in the day before the sun pops up over the top above Terrace Falls.

Solote Pool

Story behind the Solote Pool photo - 'The Key To Peace'. Travelling back to Solote Pool in the Blue Mountains 2020.

We were just about to leave this gorgeous little spot when I saw something on the ground next to my friend. It turns out it was the keys to our accommodation for the week. Needless to say I became the keeper of the key for the rest of our trip and hence the name of this photo 😂.

12 - 14 - Valley Of The Waters - 3 waterfalls in 1

Waterfalls along this walk - Empress, Sylvia and Lodore

This is the most challenging walk listed here, but oh so worth it. Although only 1.5km return in distance it is ALL stairs.

A wise person once said that ‘whatever goes down must come up’ - ok, maybe not so wise, but it has never been truer than on this walk.

There are numerous points to stop along the way to enjoy the views of the Jamison Valley and beyond - and to catch your breath on the way back up.

The first falls you will come to is Empress Falls. You can photograph these from behind a barrier with stepping stones, and from either side. Because of this you get unobstructed views for even better photos.

It is a popular location for abseilers to arrive at, so you could also get lucky enough to witness this.

Empress Falls - Valley Of The Waters

Next up, less than 5 minutes further (don’t give up) is the magical Sylvia Falls. These are one of the most popular with photographers and it’s easy to see why. The cascades falling down the black rock formations dotted with ferns makes for stunning photos.

Fun Fact - locals and photographers are able to tell if you visited Sylvia Falls before or after early 2020 due to the addition of a certain log that came down during a particularly rough storm (this log is in full view of my photo). Some now call it ‘Simon’ Falls and I’ll leave it to you to figure out why lol.

Sylvia Falls

Just a few more steps after this is Lodore Falls. The walk does continue on for a much longer walk but this post ends here where you turn around and retrace your steps back to the Conservation Hut where you started.

Lodore Falls

Lodore Falls was my absolute favourite of the 3, however the day I was there a huge thunderstorm started and we had to leave due to safety reasons. As much as I would have liked to have more time here I do value safety more so took heed of the guide i was with that day.

Map Location - Valley of the Waters picnic area

Access To Waterfall - Allow at least 2 hours return - this accounts for enough time to photograph the 3 waterfalls and breathing breaks to get back out. Lots and lots (did I mention lots) of stairs down and then of course back up. Includes some sections of steel staircases mixed with rock and less secure parts, so decent shoes, and possibly a walking pole (tripod comes in handy for this).

Facilities At Location - Toilets, and ample parking. Lovely cafe to be rewarded with at the end.

Good To Know - that’s the last of the waterfalls, and uphill climbs in this post lol.

Don’t forget the little things when you’re visiting these areas - I particularly liked finding smaller intimate scenes like this one, even if it did mean getting my feet wet every now and then.

Safety note - if you’re not a confident hiker with appropriate safety training equipment (including safety tracking devices) a local registered guide is highly recommended.

Even though the Blue Mountains is less than 2 hours from Sydney, so much of the area doesn’t have mobile reception due to the ruggedness of the area so extreme care and precautions need to be taken. There are numerous rescues undertaken weekly here by inexperienced walkers and adventurers - please don’t be one of those.

I would be remiss not to mention lookouts along with waterfalls when it comes to photography in the Blue Mountains. Check out my post which lists all really accessible lookouts - most within a 10 minute walk from parking your car. Check it out here.

That’s it for now - Keep clicking and stay caffeinated

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Note - This post does not contain any sponsored or affiliated links. All suggestions and opinions are mine. Unless otherwise stated, all photos are mine and remain my copyright images - Sam Wilson Photography.

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