On the first Friday night of November, I was at the pub with a few of my mates when the topic of hiking came up – Why don’t we go somewhere tomorrow? Yeah, why not! We quickly set our sights on Springwood, a suburb in the Lower Blue Mountains in the area once settled by the Dharug people. With such little preparation, we had to be a little less ambitious than our previous day out in Blackheath (the first hike I shot on film). Come Saturday morning, three out of five of us overcame lack of sleep and slight hangovers to make it out there.
We based our trek loosely on the Martins Lookout Loop Walk route you can find on WildWalks. We did the loop in reverse, parking in Picnic Glen (it’s a street; it’s searchable on Google Maps). From there, we took the Fairy Dell track, following it due south for a couple of kilometres. The track runs along Magdala Creek and is mostly covered by fairly dense tree coverage, which made the heat more bearable.
Springwood is just at the foothills of the Blue Mountains, so the scenery there isn’t as breathtaking as up in Katoomba or Blackheath, but it still has its charms. Because it’s a less popular spot, we didn’t run into that many people on the path and we got to enjoy the wildlife. We spotted some Crimson Rosellas and King Parrots, got up close to a few busy lyrebirds and ran into every tourist in Australia’s worst nightmare: this little guy is a Red-Bellied Black Snake! Another feature of the area are the eroded sandstone outcrops. Sure, these aren’t uncommon around NSW but the ones we went by were still pretty cool.
At a certain point, the Fairy Dell track crosses the creek and climbs up to Lawsons Lookout. Up there, we got to feel the sun and take in views of the top of the canopy. After that, the track curves around and brings you by Magdala Falls then Martins Falls. When we went, they were barely a trickle – according to the track notes, they’re more spectacular after a rain. We were more impressed by the steepness of the cliff from the viewing platform and the size of the pool at the bottom. In hindsight, I should’ve tried to take a photo anyway!
The Perch Ponds Campsite was the next stop, at the junction of Magdala and Glenbrook Creeks. We stopped for water and to discuss our next steps. Option number one: Continue on to Martins Lookout, maybe even troop it through to Blaxland and get a train back to the car in Springwood. Number two: Return to the car via Victory Track. In the end, we were wary of the time and the persistent mozzies hastened our decision to return to the car as directly as possible.
We followed Glenbrook Creek (Victory/Sassafras Gully Track) for about 2km, before turning right at Wiggins Track. It was so dark under the canopy that the birdlife must have thought it was dusk because they were out and about and making some noise. Then the track kicked upwards and things got a lot more quiet as we focused on just getting up the next step. We stopped for some photos at a seriously impressive rocky outcrop where we got probably the best views of the day but regretted lingering as the mozzies, again, were making light work of us!
Before we knew it, we were on sealed road and ambling back to our car where we were greeted by a huge flock of Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos foraging in the late afternoon sun. From there, wee got back to Sydney in time for dinner at the Pho Hong Song, a Vietnamese joint that would give any place in Bankstown or Cabramatta a run for their money.
As always, thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe at the top right part of the page. All photos above were shot on 35mm film, using my little Ricoh Shotmaster. I got my camera from Lucky35, a vintage film camera exchange based in Chippendale, Sydney.