Blue Gum Forest via Du Faur Head
There are seven major tracks into the Upper Grose Valley. The track via Lockley Pylon down Du Faur Buttress is definitely one of the less visited. It has a less developed feel than the ones closer to civilisation. However, the views on a good day are at least as good, if not better than the more popular tracks.
Du Faur Head and Du Faur Buttress are named after Eccleston Du Faur, who played a major role in establishing Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, and in preserving much of the Upper Grose Valley from exploitation.
The walk is best on fine days from late autumn to early spring. The 400m climb up the west facing buttress in the afternoon sun can be particularly oppressive in the warmer months.
Heading west on the Great Western Highway, take the new exit at Leura and do a full lap of the roundabout at the top of the hill. Heading back down, take the left turn on to Mt Hay Rd, and reset your trip meter. Follow this round around for a few km until it becomes dirt, and at the 10km mark you should pass a couple of parking areas on the left. This is just past the marked track to Flat Top, and there is a NPWS sign at the parking areas. Park here.
From 22 Aug 2009, last checked 22 Aug 2009
Pick up the signposted track from the end of the parking area, and follow it up the hill. Despite a bit of braiding in the track, all the separate paths join up, passing below the rock formations known as The Pinnacles. Down to your left you can see the headwaters of Fortress Creek.
At the end of The Pinnacles, the track heads out across the heath, before dropping into a small saddle. On the other side it climbs up on to a series of rocky outcrops, and at one point a short detour to the left leads to a good lookout over Fortress Creek.
Continuing on, the track passes through upland forest across the top of Mt Stead, before emerging and winding around the northern side of a low line of hills to the foot of Lockley Pylon. To reach the summit, climb the stairs at the track junction, and continue straight up the rocky slab rather than taking a more obvious track to the left when the stairs end. They recommence across the other side of the slab, and lead all the way to the summit and the cairn. A well worn track to the left leads down to some even better lookouts over Fortress and Govetts Creeks.
Return to the main track and turn left. It continues around below Lockley Pylon and descends down a set of stairs into a small gully. The track climbs out of the gully to the left and heads up on to a ridge. The track braids here but the paths rejoin. There are a number of spots on the ridge where you can detour to excellent lookouts and more views. Continue along the track, descending a series of rocky outcrops. The track is vague in a couple of places as it crosses the outcrops, and there are a couple of small drops that need to be scrambled down.
Near the head, keep your eye out for a small saddle with a couple of arrows carved into the sandstone, pointing down to the left. This is the start of the Du Faur Buttress Track. Before beginning the descent, it is worth continuing along the last bit of track for views down the Grose Valley, and of Mt Hay and Walford Walls.
Return to the saddle and start the descent down the steep track. It looks a little unlikely from the top, but it is not overly exposed. There are a couple of larger steps which require easy scrambling, but mostly the descent is merely steep. After descending about 200m the gradient eases and you can look back up to good views of Du Faur Head. From there to the river, there are more steep sections interspersed with flatter walking. At the bottom, the track comes down to a T-junction. Note where this is, as it you will need to pick it up for the return trip.
The right branch leads down to the Grose River, which is a good spot for lunch.
The original Blue Gum Forest lies almost directly across the river, but is rarely visited. What most people know as the Blue Gum Forest is a block known as the Hordern Pavilion. To reach the (new) Blue Gum Forest, head left on the track until you reach a large fallen tree across Govetts Creek, which you can walk across without too much difficulty. The track on the other side can be found about 20m upstream, opposite another fallen tree. It leads after 100m to a 4-way junction with tracks heading left to Acacia Flat, straight to Perrys Lookdown and right to Victoria Falls. These are all signposted.
After looking around, return the way that you came.
Time: 2 days; Distance: 20km; Fitness: M; Skill: EM; Ascent: 750m
The classic walk into the Blue Gum Forest, with camping on grassy flats under the magnificent blue gums
Time: 5 hrs; Distance: 17km; Fitness: M; Skill: EM; Ascent: 410m
A longish day walk to visit a great lookout and a beautiful swimming hole
Time: 5 hrs; Distance: 15km; Fitness: EM; Skill: EM; Ascent: 200m
A climb of one of the prominent peaks of the Blue Mountains, with excellent views of the Grose Valley from its slopes.
Time: 3 hrs; Distance: 8km; Fitness: E; Skill: E; Ascent: 100m
An easy walk to the impressive Hanging Rock near Blackheath, and to Baltzer Lookout over the Grose Valley
Time: 2 hrs; Distance: 7km; Fitness: E; Skill: E; Ascent: 40m
An easy walk to impressive views over the Grose Valley and Govetts Gorge.
Time: 2 hrs; Distance: 4km; Fitness: E; Skill: E; Ascent: 360m
A short but steep walk to a series of pretty cascades on Victoria Creek.
Time: 4 hrs; Distance: 7km; Fitness: E; Skill: EM; Ascent: 240m
An excellent walk showcasing a variety of the best scenery in the Blue Mountains.
Time: 7 hrs; Distance: 13km; Fitness: M; Skill: EM; Ascent: 630m
Visit some of the most spectacular parts of the Grose Valley on this challenging but rewarding walk.
22/08/2009 - Du Faur Head: Mt Hay Rd - The Pinnacles - Lockley Pylon - Du Faur Head - Du Faur Buttress - Blue Gum Forest - return (photos)