Paradise Pool and Hanging Rock – Blue Mountains NP

It was a perfect day for our Saturday hike to Paradise Pool. It used to be something of a secret spot, requiring local knowledge to locate its whereabouts, but the Blue Mountains City Council have actually put up several signs now. My guess is that local residents grew tired of intrepid hikers finding routes through their properties in search of the rumoured swimming hole. It’s now much easier to find but has lost some of it’s mystery as a result. Of course, that doesn’t make it any less beautiful.

Paradise Pool – you can jump from a rocky ledge above the pool or sit on a shelf of rock directly beneath the waterfall. It’s a pretty special spot.

Hanging Rock was likewise spectacular. There was more evidence of this season’s abundant warratah bloom on the five km firetrail which leads you out to the viewing point. I could see splashes of red dotting the landscape everywhere I looked.This really has been a bumper year for wildflowers.Saw some sweet graffiti and some slightly doctored signs:

There are two of these signs now: one at the second gate, 4km back along the track, and one at the final approach to the lookout

People actually do all of these things: rope swinging, slack lining and base jumping (as though rock climbing and abseiling aren’t adrenalin inducing enough)! You can watch videos of some of these shenanigans hereย (warning: not for the faint hearted).

Hanging Rock itself never ceases to inspire and amaze. It is one of my favourite lookouts in the Blue Mountains. I can’t believe people risk their lives swinging off this ledge and penduluming into the valley below. It’s terrifying enough clambering down to a point where you are level with the rock from Baltzer Lookout above.

There used to be a tree growing right up on top, just before the final jutting section of stone (you can still just discern the stump if you look closely). The ledge narrowed so much that you actually had to climb through that tree if you wanted to get to the end

Hanging Rock as viewed from above. You can see how much it narrows from this angle. To get out to Hanging Rock itself, you have to jump over a metre wide crevasse. I think my days of climbing onto the rock itself are over but when I first visited in 2001, I did the jump, climbed through the tree of faith and sat right out on the end with a leg dangling over each side of the ledge and hanging onto the climbing peg for dear life! A friend convinced me to leap the crevasse again in 2009, but it took about 15 minutes of coaxing and I stayed behind what was left of the tree on that occasion ๐Ÿ˜Š

Looking back up to the point from which I photographed Hanging Rock below

Baltzer Lookout (with views across to Pierce’s Pass and Mount Banks) – we were hiking way down in the valley below a couple of weeks ago, along the banks of the Grose River (see my last blog post for pics), with views back up to these amazing escarpments

One last shot of Hanging Rock – you can see the remains of the tree stump more clearly in this shot. It’s a shame it’s been worn away (I’m guessing from overuse).

Hanging Rock, like Paradise Pool, never used to be signposted, in an attempt to minimise access (hence the addition of the two gates preventing visitors from driving directly to the site), but it’s so frequently visited now that it is deemed safer to warn about the dangers of extreme adventure sports than try to keep the location a secret. Not all rope swinging adventures at the rock have gone smoothly, as can be seen here, and there are yet sadder stories than this, but climbers know the risks they’re taking when they step off that ledge. And what an amazing way to see the valley!Happy to have my feet planted firmly on the ground… ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘ฃ

10 thoughts on “Paradise Pool and Hanging Rock – Blue Mountains NP

  1. Linden locals are mystified as to why Blue Mountains Council put up the signposts directing people to Paradise Pool. Bushwalking & cycling (though there’s really no cycling tracks) are permitted, but the water itself is part of Woodford Dam and is a Schedule 1 ‘no entry’ area. Several swimmers have been booked by NPWS rangers so far this summer, on-the-spot fine is $600.

    See WaterNSW information: http://www.waternsw.com.au/supply/visit/woodford-dam and http://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/catchment/manage/strategy

    There is actually a very good reason for not going in the water, that being the runoff from the numerous septic systems still remaining in Woodford and upper Linden which drain into the dam. As houses change hands, they are being required to connect to the sewer line but existing septic systems can remain in use for as long as current owners desire.

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    • Thanks Karen for the feedback. Your last point goes some way toward explaining the unfriendly smell emanating from the soil as the kids tried to make a sandcastle with moat at the water’s edge… As for your point about it being a no entry area, I have never seen any signs indicating that this particular spot is out of bounds, although I have walked the boundary line around one side of Woodford Dam, so am aware of the kind of restricted area you are referring to. I won’t go into details about my thoughts on a $600 on-the-spot fine for a location that is not actually marked ‘No Entry’, but is in fact signposted as a potential swimming destination here, but I will say that I share your sense of mystification regarding BM Council’s placement of signs pointing to the site, given the circumstances as you’ve described them. I’d say the Council would be your best bet for getting answers to the mystery.

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      • Hi Lou,

        There are (were) signs posted on the trail approaches from Woodford in 2009 which indicated the water was a Schedule 1 area, but you’re quite right, there’s no signage in Linden, beyond the sign at the intersection of Glossop Rd & Tollgate Dr which reads ‘No access to Lake Woodford or fire trails.’

        See Google Maps: https://www.google.com.au/maps/@-33.7185115,150.4954653,3a,27.2y,283.22h,90.55t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1szjx0N07RUrDRoxUT13ildw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

        I had a stand-up argument 3 weeks ago with a NPWS ranger who had just booked 4 young people- how were they to know? He said that it’s up to the visitors to make sure they were not going someplace they should not be and basically if there’s no sign saying you can, you can’t.

        Residents have had a red-hot go at council for posting signs leading to a ‘pool’ where it is not legal to swim- it just makes no sense. Council said NPWS made them put up the blue signposts, which sounds pretty fishy to me. I’m pending a chat with Trish Doyle about the matter after the holidays. Trish is the state MP & has authority over NPWS and can overrule BMCC, so we should get some clarification. Until then, WaterNSW is the last word on the uses of Woodford Dam.

        My greatest concern is someone’s going to get very sick or develop an awful infection in a small cut if they have been in the water. There really needs to be warning signs about the sewerage runoff hazard. When there’s an untreated sewerage discharge at beaches, it’s posted & publicised widely. Not so here.

        Sigh.

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      • Thanks again Karen. I feel your frustration. Best of luck for your meeting with Trish Doyle. I hope it brings the resolution you seek. Keep fighting the good fight.

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  2. Pingback: Paradise Pools – The Urge to Escape

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