2015 December: A day-walk on Roberts Pass, Lindeman Pass and Prince Henry Cliff Walk in NSW Blue Mts, Australia
Book on Lindeman Pass
"The Blue Mountains Mystery Track: Lindeman Pass" by Jim Smith
Although today's walk also covers Roberts Pass and Prince Henry Cliff Walk, it is Lindeman Pass that is of main interest to us.
Lindeman pass was constructed to join Wentworth Falls to Leura and is the missing link that would link Wentworth Falls all the way to Katoomba. But it was never officially opened. Hence it is often called the Forgotten Pass. And true to its name, on the day, we meet not a single soul along its entire track.
I'm not sure the track is being maintained regularly. Our experience is that east of Gladstone Pass, the track is in very good condition. And west of Sublime Point, it deteriorates with some false turns and false trails here and there that lead to nowhere.
Fortunately, someone had travelled through there recently and had tied pink ribbons to tree trunks at regular intervals to mark the track. So it is not much of a challenge to simply spot the ribbons. Also MK is an excellent bushwalker, so we are never lost along the Lindeman Pass.
Jim Smith in his book recommends that all us bushwalkers go on the Lindeman Pass at least once a year to keep the track from being overgrown with vegetation and thus fade into obscurity. Well, I've done my duty for this year :-)
• 1:100,000 scaled 8930 Katoomba
• 1:50,000 scaled Blue Mountains South by Spatial Visions Innovation, 1st edition
• 1:25,000 scaled 8930-1S Katoomba
Here is the 1:25,000 scale map of the relevant part of today's walk. (Click on the map to enlarge it.)
Black & white sketch map of Lindeman, Roberts and Gladstone Passes by Jim Smith can be downloaded from:
Sketch map, by Jim Smith, of tracks around Leura Falls showing the western end of Lindeman Pass can be downloaded from:
GPS tracklog file & Route
Our GPX tracklog file can be downloaded from:
Here is our tracklog (brown colour) superimposed on the 1:25,000 map. (Click on the map to enlarge it.)
A summary of our route is:
- Park car at junction of Sublime Point Rd & Fairmont Pl, just outside the front entrance to Fairmont Resort at Leura
- Walk on Lillians Bridge Track
- Then on Inspirational Point Walking Track
- Then on Roberts Pass
- Walk the entire Lindeman Pass to Leura Falls
- Climb up Leura Cascades to the picnic area above it
- Return to car via Prince Henry Cliff Walk
Timeline & Distance
07:33 0.0 km MK and I start at Sublime Point Rd, just outside the front entrance to Fairmont Resort
08:53 4.5 km At Dash's Cave (refer to one of the sketch maps by Jim Smith)
09:01 4.7 km Leave Dash's Cave
10:16 7.3 km At junction of Copeland Pass & Lindeman Pass, west of Sublime Point
10:35 7.4 km Resume walking
11:08 8.8 km At Gordon Falls 2nd drop (Jim Smith calls it 2nd drop.)
11:34 9.7 km At where I fall a few meters down a slope
12:03 10.4 km At Leura Falls
12:13 10.5 km Leave Leura Fals
13:06 12.3 km At Leura picnic area
13:40 12.3 km Leave Leura picnic area
13:53 13.0 km At detour to Bridal Veil View Lookout
13:56 13.2 km At Bridal Veil View Lookout
13:57 13.2 km Leave Bridal Veil View Lookout
14:00 13.4 km Back at detour to Bridal Veil View lookout
14:19 14.3 km At Buttenshaw Bridge
14:24 14.6 km At detour to Gordon Falls Lookout
14:26 14.7 km At Gordon Falls Lookout
14:30 14.7 km Leave Gordon Falls Lookout
14:32 14.8 km Back at detour to Gordon Falls Lookout
14:42 15.3 km At Pool of Siloam
14:49 15.7 km At Golf Link Lookout
15:03 15.7 km Leave Golf Link Lookout
15:19 17.0 km Finish at my car just outside the front gate of Fairmont Resort
Total: 7 hrs 46 mins
17.0 km Distance is from Google Earth
Distance from GPS is around 10% longer
Pictures - Fairmont Resort
1) We park the car just outside the entrance of Fairmont Resort, then walk through the resort to the golf course at the back. These two pics are the front of the resort.
2) At the golf course at the back of the resort.
Lillians Bridge Track
3) Then onto Lillians Bridge Track
Inspirational Point Walking Track
4) Then to Inspirational Point Walking Track - a foot track in the forest ~~~
It is in pretty good condition.
5) Start of Roberts Pass, a narrow pass ... getting interesting
6) The track goes through an even narrower passage and makes a u-turn inside this rock - very unusual !
7) Left pic: Looking back at the narrow passage inside the rock.
Right pic: directly ahead
This is a very interesting place !
8) Leaving the narrow pass
9) Then it is back to the typical forest track.
10) End of Roberts Pass, and the start of Lindeman Pass ~~~
The sign says the track is rough and hard to find.
Our experience is that east of Gladstone Pass, the track is in very good condition. But west of Sublime Point, it deteriorates with some false turns and false trails here and there that lead to nowhere. Fortunately, someone had travelled through here recently and had tied pink ribbons to tree trunks to mark the track. So it is not much of a challenge to simply spot the ribbons.
11) Typical cliff scenes along Lindeman Pass
12) Cliffs above Lindeman Pass
13) At Dash's Cave, just a bit west of Gladstone's Pass ~~~
In his book, "The Blue Mountains Mystery Track: Lindeman Pass", Jim Smith describes a note he found in a tobacco tin hidden in the cave by a group in 1913. Well, they are definitely the earliest geocachers in the history of Australia :-)
- Left pic: We can find a rusty billy with a log book inside, but not the tobacco tin. MK is reading the log book.
- Right pic: The rusty billy and the log book with our scribble on the page. (Click on the pic to enlarge it.)
14) More cliff scenes along Lindeman Pass
15) Although at places, the track is indistinct. But it is not much of a challenge to find it ... just look out for the pink ribbons.
16) Sometimes, the pink ribbons are tied to tree roots near the ground.
17) And sometimes, they must have run out of pink ribbons ... coz they use plastic bags :-)
18) Some rock scrambling through a land-slide area
19) At top of a rock near the tip of Sublime Point, see insert map ~~~
Nothing special about this rock, but it was named by Jim Smith in his book as "Lindeman Rock".
20) At the junction of Copeland Pass and Lindeman Pass at the west side of Sublime Point ~~~
Some kind soul had built a cairn here. Without it, it would be really difficult to locate this junction for hikers who wish to exit via Copeland Pass.
- The blue arrow in the insert map is where this cairn is.
Fantastic views of the Blue Mountains while climbing up .... you should make an effort to do the same if you haven't done so already.
21) (At the same spot as the previous pic was taken) ~~~
- The tree on the left maybe Angophora costata (Sydney red gum or Smooth-barked Apple), correct me if I'm wrong.
- Can someone please tell me the name of the tree on the right with lots of knobs.
22) The Three Sisters, icon of the Blue Mountains.
23) Passing Lindeman Falls
24) We are approaching Gordon falls 2nd drop, 15 minutes away from Lindeman Falls. (Jim Smith in his book names this point as the 2nd drop. The 1st drop is higher up and we'll pass it in the afternoon ... see photo #64.)
25) At Gordon Falls 2nd drop ~~~
We are passing between the cliff and the waterfall ... always exciting when crossing a waterfall from the inside :-) You can just make out a curtain of water on the left side of the photos.
26) Looking back at Gordon Falls
27) A human face on Microstrobos Falls :-)
~~~ This fall is 5 minutes away from Gordon Falls.
There is no mention of it on the internet.
28) In the vicinity of Microstrobos Falls
29) In the vicinity of Microstrobos Falls and looking back at Lindeman Pass hugging the middle of the cliffs ... the yellow arrows is where we've just walked.
(Warning: The yellow arrows may not be correctly placed ... Graeme pointed this out in the Comment Section. When I have time, I'll fix them up.)
30) Around here, at 11:34am, I slip and fall about 6 meters down the steep slope. I am lucky ... it isn't a vertical drop, else I won't be writing here. Anyway, nothing serious happened. I pick myself up and climb back up to the track. At the time I attributed my slip to holding onto a dead rickety tree that gave way. But it may have more to do with my balance being out of whack ... more on this in the next photo ...
Few day later, for reasons not related to the fall, I had an MRI brain scan, and discovered a nasty tumour (medical term: accoustic neuroma) inside my head by the side of the right ear. Now, in the inner ear, there are three semicircular canals that contain fluid and sensors which govern our balance. So the tumour was affecting my balance and perhaps the cause of my fall in the previous pic :-(
31) A month later, I underwent a Gamma Radiation treatment to kill off the tumour. In the pic, 4 screws, 2 in the front and 2 at the back, held the frame to my head. The screws were drilled right into the bones of the skull (anaesthetics were used) ... it was to make sure my head couldn't move. Then the frame with my head were screwed into the radiation chamber so I couldn't move for a whole hour ... quite an experience !
I side tracked ... back to Lindeman Pass ...
32) We are close to Leura Falls. Towards the south is Mt Solitary.
33) (This pic is a continuation to the right of the previous pic.) ~~~
We'll have lunch at the Leura picnic area, the red arrow, at the top of the ridge.
The route to there is quite complicated. It will skirt across to the middle of the pic, then double back and climb up the Leura Cascades ... The Leura Cascades is just beneath the red arrow.
From Leura Falls to Leura Picnic Area
34) Leura Falls ~~~
This is the end of Lindeman Pass. From here onwards, we will be in the popular Blue Mts tourist area.
Also from here to the picnic area, there are a series of waterfalls and cascades - they are what the tourists come to see.
35) This one is Linda Falls, about 5 minutes to the west of Leura Falls.
36) Lila Falls, 2 minutes walk west of Linda Falls.
37) On the well-constructed tourist track to the picnic area above Leura Cascades for lunch.
38) Bottom of Bridal Veil Falls ~~~
We didn't see a single soul on Lindeman Pass. But from Leura Falls all the way to the picnic area, there are hordes of tourists ... like here by the waterfall.
39) This is the same Bridal Veil Falls as the previous pic ~~~
(We've climbed up a bit and are now at a lookout over the waterfall.)
40) Leura Cascades
41) There are a few of this along the path by the side of Leura Cascades. It looks like the remains of a dismantled rubbish bin or drink station. It turns out to be the remnant of the support of a floodlight. Thanks to John Paix who provided this information. But why were the floodlights dismantled?
At Leura Picnic Area
42) Entrance to Leura picnic area
43) At the picnic area - a grotto with picnic tables inside ~~~
There are few of these grottoes around here.
No, we didn't have our lunch in a grotto. They are all occupied, too many damned tourists, the bane of us bushwalkers :-)
44) Instead, we have our lunch at one the tables similar to the one in this photo.
Prince Henry Cliff Walk
45) After lunch, it is returning to our car at Fairmont Resort. Instead of retracing the Lindeman Pass, we take the Prince Henry Cliff Walk eastward ... and, WOW, a Eastern Brown Snake! It is basking on this popular tourist track, unperturbed by of all the human traffic around. But when I approach it, it slithers away into the grass, so I only have this not-so-good shot.
46) At Bridal Veil View lookout - One needs to make a 4-minute oneway detour from Prince Henry Cliff Walk to here. ~~~
This fall is the same one as in photos #38 & #39.
- The turquoise arrow in the middle of the pic is the lookout where photo #39 was taken.
- The turquoise arrow at the top of the pic is Leura picnic area where we had lunch.
- The yellow arrows indicate where the tourist track is ... we walked on it to the picnic area.
- The blue arrow to the right of the picnic area is Prince Henry Cliff Walk. We took that track after lunch.
47) Zooming onto Bridal Veil Falls ... quite a nice looking waterfall !
48) Cliffs around Bridal Veil Falls
49 Passing a small clearing carpeted with brackens
50) Stylidium graminifolium (Grass Triggerplant)
51) On the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, we constantly have this nice view of Mt Solitary, the flat top mountain, across Jamison Valley.
- The left red circle is Sublime Point.
- The right red circle is the Three Sisters, icon of the Blue Mts.
52) (Continuation to the right of the previous pic) ~~~
The clearing at bottom left corner a disused sewage plant.
53) At a lookout halfway between Gordon Fall Lookout and Bridal Veil View lookout
54) Around the lookout ~~~
Some kind of daisy
55) We come to Buttenshaw Bridge & Elysian Rock.
(Elysian Rock is the lookout with a fence around it, at the far side of the bridge.)
56) At Elysian Rock lookout
57) From Elysian Rock lookout looking back at Buttenshaw Bridge ~~~
MK is on the Bridge.
58) From Elysian Rock, across Jamison Valley ~~~
- Another look at Mt Solitary, the flat top mountain
- The left red circle is Sublime Point.
- The right red circle is the Three Sisters.
59) At Gordon Falls lookout, looking at Gordon Falls ~~~
Lindeman Pass is where the yellow arrows are ... we walked on it this morning.
60) (Continuation to the right of the previous pic) ~~~
This is Sublime Point. Lindeman Pass is where the yellow arrows are.
61) Google Earth tilted view of the previous pic ~~~
Our route along Lindeman Pass is in turquoise colour.
62) A Blue Tongue Lizard
63) A grotto in Gordon Falls Park
64) Gordon Falls, 1st drop. (We are now above where we were in photo #25)
65) We go past Pool of Siloam.
66) Pool of Siloam
67) At Golf Link Lookout ~~~
Some one put a lock here :-)
68) From Golf Link Lookout, a final look at Mt Solitary, the flat top mountain across Jamison Valley ~~~
- The left red circle is Sublime Point.
- The right red circle is the Three Sisters.
Then it is walking on the suburban streets of Leura back to our car at Fairmont Resort.
Thanks to MK who did the research on Lindeman Pass and led the walk for the day.
Post Script: Gladstone Pass & Copeland Pass
In this trip we walk past the junctions of Lindeman Pass with Gladstone Pass & Copeland Pass but did not enter either of them. 4 months later in 2016-04, MK and I made a trip just to explore these two passes. Photos and trip report are in my blog: