National Pass - Blue Mountains - Australia

Fletchers Lookout

Well briefed by interpretive signs and maps at the top of the track, we set off on a meandering trail recently restored with rock and sturdy timber steps.

Here and there are spots to sit and contemplate the view or just listen to the sounds of the Australian bush.

signpost to Weeping Rock

We soon come to a turnoff to Darwin's Walk and Weeping Rock, a small cascade on Jamison Creek a couple of hundred metres back from the main waterfall.

Darwin's Walk is the charming two-kilometre path taken by the famous naturalist in 1836 on his round-the-world voyage aboard HMS Beagle. But Darwin's Walk is a journey for another day – this time the National Pass beckons.

With the pleasantly rippling sounds of Jamison Creek to our left, we head on towards Fletchers Lookout and the view that so impressed Charles Darwin.

"A view exceedingly well worth visiting," he wrote. "One stands on the brink of a vast precipice, and below is the grand bay or gulf (for I know not what other name to give it), thickly covered with forest."

Fletchers Lookout

The lookout is not unlike the crow's nest of a sailing ship. I've seen walkers baulk here and not venture to the end of the lookout. Muster the courage to go those extra few paces, though, and it's easy to imagine you're standing on the bow of a great ocean liner overlooking an immense eucalypt sea.

Here we also have a close view of Jamison Creek as it picks up speed down a sloping rock shelf towards it first big fall.

Another trail branches off at Fletchers Lookout, the aptly named Undercliff Walk. From here we could return across the clifftops past Princes Rock and Eagles Nest Lookouts and eventually reach the Conservation Hut – but not today.

Building the National Pass

The National Pass hiking track was built with picks, shovels, crowbars and dynamite between 1906 and 1907. It involved cutting a zig-zag staircase into a cliff face and became a very popular walking trail.   Learn more

Restoring the Trail

After 95 years service, the track had to be closed in 2002. Bushfires, rain storms and landslides played havoc with fencing and wooden bridges. The $1.5 million restoration project won a National Trust award.   Learn more

Bushwalking Tips

Walking this historic trail will be more enjoyable if you prepare well. Bring a camera and binoculars if you can. Make sure you have adequate clothing should the weather change. Carry water and snacks. Don't stray off the trail.