Party: Martin (walk leader), Carina, Natalie, Ruby, and Kaylee
The weather forecast wasn’t looking too good in the days leading up to the walk, and the predicted conditions of ‘consistent rain all day’ turned out to be highly accurate. Two people dropped out, leaving four adventurous souls to join me at Wentworth Falls, unperturbed by my early morning SMS-warning to them that they should ‘expect to get wet’. As the trains were out for track-work, Carina kindly drove the group up. After obtaining essential coffee and cake supplies at Schwarz Patisserie, we discussed the day and decided to start and end the walk at the Conservation Hut, so as to have convenient post-walk access to a dry space and hot chocolate.
Spirits were high and rain-related songs were sung, as we headed off from the Conservation Hut towards the start of the ‘nature track’ that begins from West Street and follows the creek feeding Empress Falls. By the time we were approaching the falls themselves, the group was thoroughly damp and the singing had stopped, although spirits remained high. We were going to stop for a quick morning tea break just above Empress Falls, until Ruby’s perceptive eyes noticed a sleepy snake curled up in the scrub right in front of us. We decided to have morning tea later.
There is simply no better time to see the Valley of the Waters than during or just after rain, the beauty of the waterfalls in full force being our primary reward for braving the weather. At the bottom of the tourist section of the falls, we had to make a decision whether to continue with the original plan to follow the creek down on unmaintained track to Vera Falls and back, or chicken-out and stick to the tourist route. We chose the latter, heading off on the National Pass to Wentworth Falls, finding a sheltered lunch spot along on the way. The usually spectacular views from the track had been replaced by a uniform blanket of white cloud.
Barely visible through the low lying cloud until we were at its base, Wentworth Falls was in fine form in the rain. While the wind had (thankfully) been mild all day, there was enough reflecting off the end of the valley to be throwing (what felt like) a good proportion of the falls directly at us. After enjoying this horizontal shower, we headed to the top of the falls, up to Wentworth Falls car-park, and back to the Conservation Hut via the short-cut track. Highlights of the short-cut track were a pair of Lyrebirds and the numerous large puddles which served useful splashing purposes. Finally out of the rain, we enjoyed hot drinks and nibbles at the Conversation Hut, discovering (to our great surprise) that no-one had picked up even a single leech throughout our very soggy day.