There is something very bohemian about this little hidden gem tucked away between Jamberoo and Robertson.
A country road, the unassuming signage - blink and you miss it - taking you to a magical place.
Wandering around the area, you are transported to a time of picnics, drawing cascades in pastels and secret rendezvous and skinny dips in the afternoon sunlight in azure pools from a time gone by.
This walk is part of a suite of walks within the Budderoo National Park, and is easily accessible on Jamberoo Mountain Road at the Carrington Falls turnoff, 10 kilometres from Robertson.
There are a few options for parking in the area. Park and start your walk at either Blue Pool or Nellies Glen. We chose the Blue Pool car park because it's quieter.
There is deep water at this location, so be sure to keep a close eye on children - and maybe take a spare set of shoes and socks!
From the car park at Blue Pool, follow the signage for about 100m to find Blue Pool. There is a little creek crossing here which you can cross over with the help of a large branch that someone has positioned. If the conditions are not favourable, you could just take your shoes off and walk across. From here the path continues either straight ahead (to Missingham Lookouts) or to the left around the Blue Pool, which is very aptly named if you catch it in the right sunlight. Naturally, you won't be able to resist the temptation of the pool, so wander around the rather large pond. The Blue Pool is a tributary of the Kangaroo River which also feeds Carrington Falls, falling into the lower Kangaroo Valley River.
When the path stops, you can follow the creek down from Blue Pool, jumping from rock to rock, making your way downstream (tread very carefully as the exposed rocks can be very slippery, with algae on the submerged ones exacerbating the hazard). This is a great spot for kids to frolic in the small cascades and puddles watching tadpoles, listening out for the wonderful frogs in the area and the birds fluttering around the water source. Please note all creatures here are protected and cannot be caught or removed.
About 140 metres downstream from Blue Pool is Nellies Glen; approaching it via the creek is a lovely way to see it from above and gaze into the crystal clear waters. It's only a shallow pool so it's not suitable for jumping into from height. If you can arrive when the sun is higher in the sky, you will get the benefit of the lovely blue and green tones of the waters. There is a bit of a scramble to make your way down to the actual pool from the top of the waterfall, but by taking your time you can assist children down too without too much trouble.
For those who wish to brave it, it's a beautiful spot to swim year-round in the chilly Southern Highlands temperatures. While it does attract larger crowds in summer, you're likely to have the place to yourself in winter. It's a wonderful spot for the kids to explore - an overhang provides a fern 'cave' and splashing around the water's edge will keep them engaged for hours. For the adults, this traditional picnic spot - check the signage boards in the area for photos dating back 150 years - is still the ideal spot to have a romantic picnic, read a book or enjoy the sunlight and view.
Once you reach Nellies Glen, you have the option to continue from there to the other trails or return to the Blue Pool. We made our way back up to the Blue Pool and followed the trail along to Missingham Lookouts, an easy 4.2km return walk. The wide open trail takes you past farmland and returns to the eucalypt forest and heath habitats to take you to two amazing lookout points overlooking the Kangaroo Valley River. If you are not familiar with the area, it's a wonderful place to feel the scale of the size of the canyon and appreciate the colourful sheer sandstone rock faces, so majestic in the afternoon sunlight.
Missingham West and Missingham East lookouts, both provide different vistas of the area and are only 100m apart with ample signage and clear trails. In the same area, the Missingham Steps to Kangaroo Valley walk is heavily sign-posted as a Grade 6, five-hour return walk - but it's for the highly experienced or guided walkers that are heavily prepared, not a light stroll. The steps were named after John Missingham who, with the help of his workers from his local timber mill, decided to cut steps to join the top of the canyon to the valley below. One to add to the bucket list.
From the Missingham lookouts you can enjoy the loop walk back to the Nellies Glen area. We took the walk to Warris Chair, named after "Lady Warris". I found it difficult to find out exactly who Lady Warris was and would love to find out (I wonder if she knew "Nellie")? Regardless of the history, Warris Chair is a spectacular lookout, gazing back on the Missingham lookouts, also showing a beautiful vantage of the valley, providing a unique rock platform ideal for photos or sitting and pondering. Warris Chair is about 500m from the car park at Nellies Glen, so again not too far and an easy flat stroll for kids.
From Warris Chair, you can return back in the loop or continue back to Nellies Glen. It's really up to you which way you choose to do the walks, they are all interconnected with easy signposted trails so you can choose your own adventure for the day. There is a picnic table at Nellies Glen, so you can have a nice lunch and rest.
Once you've finished exploring you can continue onto Carrington Falls down the road for some more lookouts, or we decided to head straight to the newly renovated Robertson Public House for a warm lunch only about 10kms up the road.
Parking and Transport:
There is no public transport, car pooling is suggested. There is very limited parking, but there are two carpark options if one is full - one at Blue Pool, the other at Nellie's Glen.
From Wollongong you can either travel via Jamberoo Mountain Road or up Macquarie Pass. Jamberoo Mountain Road is a nice alternative and you can stop at Jamberoo Lookout for some spectacular views also. The turnoff is at the Carrington Falls signpost on Cloonty Road.
It is completely suitable for children of all ages however, there is significant water in the area and cliffs. Only take children that are responsible in taking direction in the bush. There is a high chance of leeches in this area after rain, so take adequate protection. Some areas are slippery underfoot with uneven ground, tree roots and mud so there is a risk of spraining ankles or falling, so take your time, check your footing before you put your weight down. In the warmer months, be cautious of snake danger on the open sections of the trail.
Various sections of the trail are suitable for those with limited mobility and suitable prams may be an option.
Signage and Track Condition:
This trail is easy to navigate with clear pathways. It is an easy walk and there is signage at most cross sections to provide you a clear direction.
It is very important that individuals do their best to stay on the main trail to avoid erosion and damage to the delicate environment. This is not too difficult and is critical to the ongoing integrity and future access of the trail.
Data & Cellular Coverage:
Phone coverage is fairly low and shouldn't be relied upon. Always carry a basic first aid kit in case of an emergency.
This track is ideal for birdwatchers, photographers or people with limited mobility or smaller children. In Summer it attracts lots of people so best to enjoy in the colder months. If you can go mid-week to avoid any crowds it is ideal. Further along at Carrington Falls, there is specific wheelchair access available.
The walks in this area are very easy, strolling pace is anticipated in most areas as you take in the sites. You can extend to the full loop which is mostly flat. A basic fitness ability is all that is required.
Hiking Grade: Grade 1
Long flat trails with ample signage. Perfect for tourists that are unfamiliar with the area and people with low fitness.
Distance and Time:
The track is a round trip being roughly a 6km walk, depending on route and side trails you take in. Time in the area is dependent on yourself, we took about 3hrs wandering and enjoying the area.
Pollution/Rubbish Status: Grade 1
This trail is pretty good for rubbish, not much around at all.
Please ensure you take a garbage bag to collect rubbish, and don't forget to take a photo of your collection and tag us in #bushwalkthegong #cleanupgongsbushland - let's spread the word that littering in or around our bushland areas is NOT OK!
All dogs (except for assistance dogs), bikes, fires, camping, smoking and alcohol. There is however designated camping areas very close to Nellie's Glen, reserve your spot here.
References and Resources:
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