The Blue Mountains are literally filled with secret views, hikes, waterfalls… basically everything to fuel an adrenaline junkie’s weekends for decades. So to get a little guidance for where to go first to get our blood pumping, we asked local Che Golus. Why? Well, between carpentry gigs, Che regularly jumps off cliffs near his hometown in the Blue Mountains. He’s so good at it that he’s one of only four Aussies to compete in the prestigious Red Bull x-Alp – the toughest adventure race in the world. Only 30 or so competitors paraglide and hike their way across the Alps, from Salzburg to Monaco. Sounds hard? Well that’s because it is. Very. So we asked him for his top five adrenaline-inducing locations in the Blue Mountains. Here’s what he said:
For paragliders… Mount Blackheath Lookout, Blackheath
“This of course needs to be my number one spot being a paraglider pilot. Just outside the town of Blackheath and overlooking the Kanimbla Valley and Cox’s River, Mount Blackheath is the main launch for paragliding in the Blue Mountains. On a good day you can see Sydney and the coast, Kanangra Walls to the south, the Wollemi wilderness to the north and well out past Orange to the west. In my opinion the views from this area are some of the most spectacular in the world. From here we have started epic XC flights out towards Mudgee and beyond, it is a great site for aerobatics over the Kanimbla Valley, and you can often see pilots swooping in for a top landing back on launch. The area also has good climbing and walking, and is a great spot for an afternoon beer with mates to watch the sunset as the cliffs around glow that amazing orange colour.
For climbers… Bardens Lookout, Mount York
A great spot for getting out to do some sport climbing, the Mount York area is one of my favourite spots for climbing. The style of climbing here suits me well, the rock is good and there are good climbs for less experienced climbers and total guns. The views are great, overlooking the Hartley Valley. If you are up for the weekend you can camp at Mount York which makes everything very accessible and there is a tonne of other great crags all over Mount York offering both sport and trad climbing.
For cliff divers… Dam Cliffs, Clarence
Both a climbing and swimming spot, the place to be on a hot day. There is a cool cliff with plenty of deep water below where you can practice your ‘deep water soloing’ in a safe and fun environment, then jump off the top if you make it all the way up. You can walk around easily to the top of the cliff if you want to practice your cliff diving. Down below the dam there is some great climbing on the ‘steep wall’ if you want to get your pump on or escape the sun.
For mountain bikers… Mountain Bike Trails, everywhere
The single track around the old tip at Blackheath is great if you want to bust out a quick lap, there is a good mix of technical and nice flowing trails. You can extend the ride out to Hanging Rock overlooking the Grose Valley. There are more trails to discover around North Katoomba and North Leura too. The classic ‘Oaks Fire Trail’, Woodford to Glenbrook ride is great for the views, nice fast fire trail riding with a little single track. Not too many hills to climb so its a nice easy ride and you can catch the train back up to your car. It is a good trail to do with people of mixed experience levels as everyone can enjoy.
For canyoning… Butterbox Canyon, Mount Hay
If you want to get really cold on a hot day get out and do a canyon. I always find being in these places spectacular to visit and a bit of a rush, I always end up near hypothermic (I’m not great in the water). It’s nice to get out and appreciate the sun and warmth again!
And if you’re feeling like you want to get your blood pumping… Che also takes people for tandem flights in Blackheath. Interested? For more info on where to explore in Sydney, check out our EXPLORE SYDNEY section, or sign up to our (amazing) newsletter!