Mount Victoria, NSW
10.0 km (3 hrs )
This walk follows Cox's Descent, the first road built over the Blue Mountains in 1815. This feat of engineering was built by a small group of men in just 6 months, running 101.5 miles from Emu Ford to Bathurst. There are a plethora of monuments to mark both the crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1813, as well as the various roads that were built shortly after. The return route follows Lockyer's Road, begun in 1829 to create an easier route up to the plateau, but abandoned a few years later to complete the Victoria Pass, now the route of the Great Western Highway.
The walk begins at the top of Mount York. There are quite a number of informative signs about the history of the early attempts at crossing the Blue Mountains, the 1813 crossing and the roads that followed. Close by are a number of lookouts with views of Hartley and Hartley Vale in the valley below. After a circuit of the lookouts, you follow the original road as it winds its way steeply down Mount York to Hartley Vale, a descent of around 260 metres. The road then follows the nature trail to the beginning of Lockyer's Road, a much more gradual ascent up to the ridge adjacent to the one you descend. There is a fairly long walk along the ridge back to Mount York Road, with some interesting rock formations along the way to see. The last 3 km follows Mount York Road back to the starting point. There are two historic wells to see along the way, as well as Bardens Lookout overlooking Mount Victoria Pass.
It was interesting to follow in the path of the early explorers, and the interpretive signs along both Cox's Road and Lockyer's Road provided some insights into the various features of these routes. This walk is quite long and of medium difficulty, with lots of unfenced cliff edges, so not the best for families with younger children.