Date: 2/7/2023
Trip leader: Yessentay
Party: Aysha

Trip Report: Gooch’s Crater Hike from Old Bells Line of Road (near Clarence)

I recently embarked on an exhilarating hiking adventure to Gooch’s Crater with likeminded people, starting from Old Bells Line of Road near Clarence. The journey took us through gravel roads, fire trails, and off-track bush bashing, leading to fascinating pagodas, caves, and ultimately, the breathtaking Crater Lake. Here’s a detailed account of my experience.

Starting Point: Old Bells Line of Road, near Clarence

Date of Hike: July 2, 2023

Length: 12.4 km (approximately)

Duration: 4 hours moving time, Total time 5 hours

Trail Description:

Our hiking expedition began on the gravel Old Bells Line of Road, near Clarence. The road was easily accessible from the point we started the hike, and although unpaved, it provided a rustic charm to our adventure. After a few kilometres, we veered off onto a fire trail, immersing ourselves deeper into the untamed beauty of the Blue Mountains. Be wary that there are many trails in the area and not all of them are accessible via 2WD.

Off-Track Bush Bashing:

As we ventured off the fire trail, we decided to go off-track and delve into the wilderness. This choice allowed us to truly connect with nature and navigate through the dense bushland. The path was not well-marked, but with a sense of adventure and a reliable map, we were able to forge ahead. Bush bashing required some physical exertion, as we maneuverer through the undergrowth, but it added an element of excitement to our hike.

Pagodas and Caves:

During our off-track exploration, we stumbled upon remarkable pagodas and caves. The pagodas, with their peculiar rock formations, stood as majestic sentinels in the rugged landscape. We climbed atop these natural towers, offering us panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. The caves provided a welcome respite, inviting us to delve into their marvel at the intricate stalactite formations. These geological wonders added an element of discovery and awe to our hike.

Crater Lake:

The ultimate highlight of our journey was reaching Crater Lake within Gooch’s Crater itself. After navigating through the bush, we were rewarded with a stunning grassy lake nestled within the ancient sandstone walls. Crater Lake, with its serene turquoise waters, provided a tranquil escape from the outside world. We took a moment and took a lunch break with the peaceful ambiance surrounding us. The sight of the sheer cliffs encircling the lush vegetation thriving within created a captivating scene, leaving us in awe of nature’s power and beauty.

Challenges and Rewards:

The off-track bush bashing presented challenges, requiring us to navigate without well-defined trails and contend with uneven terrain and dense vegetation. However, the rewards far outweighed the challenges. The sense of exploration and discovery, coupled with the breathtaking sights of pagodas, caves, and Crater Lake, made every effort worthwhile. It was a truly immersive experience that connected us with the raw and untouched wilderness of the Blue Mountains.

Tips and Recommendations:

1. Prepare well by carrying a detailed map, compass, and/or GPS device to navigate off-track sections. Mobile reception is limited in the area.

2. Wear appropriate hiking gear, including sturdy boots, protective clothing, and insect repellent.

3. Pack enough water, snacks, and a first aid kit to sustain yourself during the hike.

4. Inform someone about your plans and expected return time for safety purposes.

5. Respect the natural environment and leave no trace behind, preserving the beauty of Gooch’s Crater for future hikers.


Embarking on the Gooch’s Crater hike from Old Bells Line of Road near Clarence was an unforgettable adventure that took us through a diverse and captivating landscape. From the gravel roads and fire trails. Definitely will be coming back to explore the area.