Clearly, Terrace Falls aren’t meant to be found. I checked my guide book. Lots of times. I followed my GPS. Clearly it really didn’t have a clue. There’s supposed to be a carpark but where in Hades it was located was a mystery to us all. The only thing I came across was a dead end with a locked gate blocking any entry into Terrace Falls Reserve and the main road going through it. So, when I came back there again after travelling all the back streets of southern Hazelbrook, I parked.
As luck would have it, there is just enough room for one motorhome. Any other vehicles and it would have been overcrowded.
It had spat rain en route so I put on all my wet weather gear and left the safety of the motorhome. I say safety because I must have been about a kilometre into the walk down the fire trail when the cracks and rumbles started. Thoughts that I was here on my own, about to be struck by lightning, no one knows where I am, all crossed my mind. I could not work out where I was and pondered going back but, when you’re stuck with the explorer gene, that’s hardly ever an option.
The first small fall I’d stopped to photograph, but I knew there had to be more and then, I reached it – the carpark. Actually, carpark 3. This was what I’d read about in my guide book. Only difference was they’d had access to get down here. As an added bonus there was an information map. Hallelujah! I photographed it for future reference which turned out to be the best decision I made, despite its numerous discrepancies.
Accordingly, I continued on, keeping a watchful eye for a trail that went right to the stream above the falls. Where it was supposed to be, there wasn’t anything, save for a track someone had bush bashed through that was about 15 cms wide. Virtually next door is a semi-famous loop walk with four drops with car parks and understandable directions. No wonder more people go there.
Not to worry, according to the map there should be another entry not too much further on. The sky rumbled once more, the rain, though slight, became constant. The next entry point was clearly defined and had another map on a post. It was all perched on a cliff, down which one had to follow a path hewn in the sandstone. I glanced over the edge, thank goodness I’m not acrophobic.
Though my knees didn’t enjoy the descent, my brain was overtaken by the roar of a waterfall somewhere unseen in the forest beneath me. It had to be Terrace Falls. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but, when they finally came into view, whatever expectations I had were exceeded. These were, indeed, a worthy destination in a Blue Mountains littered with such claims and, the beauty of this reserve is, you’ll never get a crowd.
No busloads here, just the occasional local or explorer with an enquiring mind. I was so glad Ian Smith the other had suggested them. Many photos and videos later I looked up the map I’d copied. According to it there should be a trail on the other side and I could just make one out. Lord it was hard to see. Ravaged by tree falls it clearly needed a crew with chainsaws in here for a couple of days just to make it realistic again.
Still, I stumbled, ducked and weaved my way along part of it to get some different angles and witness the falls beneath the main ones. Wow, it was spectacular and noisy all at once. I was on the path to Carpark 2, wherever that was.
I retraced my steps and finally found the other way out, this time to Victor Falls and Carpark 3. It’s definitely not overused, in places almost overgrown by ferns, but I found that part of the attraction.
Zig-zagging up the cliff side track the river seemed far away and I wondered where these other falls were just before I caught glimpses of them through the forest. Wow, another significant drop but where was the trail?
Then, a sign. Manna from heaven. Down to the falls and up to Carpark 3. All my destinations listed. It’s a steep but short walk down to Victor but they were roaring also with the flush of the recent rains. It was such an opportune time to visit, even if I was drenched to the bone. Luckily I was able to thrash around in the water because I’d cleverly remembered to put my gum boots on again and it proved to be an absolute bonus.
To stand before a roaring fall is to be at one with nature. The beauty, the power, the timelessness all resonate here and it’s food for the soul.
I clambered back up the slope, satisfied for the first time that I was, indeed, where I thought I was and heading in the right direction. No sooner had I reached the top than the trail veered off over to the stream above the falls and you had to wade across it. So glad I had the wellies on! This was the trail I’d sought so much earlier but the entry from the other side no longer exists in reality.
Here and there among the land of the flaky-barked Tea Tree and the hard-leaved Scribbly Gum, wildflowers showed their beautiful presence, some so tiny as to be barely visible but the variety of colours is something to behold.
Carpark 3 came into view and at least I knew the way back from here. One kilometre plus, uphill on a 4WD road, and it was all over, my knees ever complaining but my mind in seventh heaven. It’s the kind of day you hope the Blue Mountains can deliver, and I had been only too happy to receive.