Lyrebird Dell and Pool of Siloam Walking Track, Blue Mountains National Park, AU
Waratah (Telopea Speciosissima) Flowers
Red and green together always make me think of Christmas. Of course, in Australia, Christmas is in the middle of summer. Waratahs are a spring flower, and the magnificent flowers we came across on our walk in the Blue Mountains National Park near Leura early October made me think of the holiday season ahead.
You never know what you will come across on a walk in the Australian bush!
In October, my husband and I had a brief interlude in Katoomba, the principal town in the Blue Mountains, just a ninety-minute drive from Sydney. Our charming 1930s guesthouse gave us access to the myriad of local arts, boutiques, coffee shops and bistros, as well as endless walking tracks. We opted for a short walk to the Three Sisters land formation in the morning (see: Echo Point), and after a delicious lunch of genuine Brittany crêpes, we set off in the car for the five minute drive to the neighbouring town of Leura to the trail-head of a short walk.
We had decided on the Pool of Siloam and Lyrebird Dell Walking Track circuit simply because it looked easy, and we hadn’t done it before.
It was a delightful two kilometres of up-and-down: through rainforest and bird song; past waterfalls and Aboriginal heritage sites. The blooming waratahs and other flora were a magnificent bonus.
Do come along!
Pool of Siloam Track
From the Gordon Falls Reserve in Leura, it is a short and well-marked walk down to the Pool of Siloam.
The Australian bush is full of subtle colours and rough textures.
Leaf in the Dark
As the track continues down to the base of this cliff, it gets darker, and the plant-life changes.
Under the Falls
This lovely, shaded pool gets its name from Birkhat Hashiloah (Pool of Siloam) in the City of David, where Jesus sent a man to heal his blindness.
Pool of Siloam
Stepping stones lead through the ferny glen, across the trickling Gordon Creek, …
Path out of the Pool of Siloam
… and up the other side.
Gorse Bitter Pea (Daviesia Ulicifolia)
The vegetation changes again, as we rise up out of the glen.
Blue Mountains Ash (Eucalyptus Oreades)
Reaching up to 40m tall, the beautiful straight trunks of the Blue Mountains ash rise up to the sky around us.
Down to Gordon Creek
We climb back down towards the creek, under overhangs of weathered sandstone.
We cross the creek again at Lyrebird Dell – hoping (and failing) to see one of these long-tailed Australian birds as we pass.
There is plenty of interesting flora in the damp shadows.
Edges of the National Park
Back up towards street level, we are once again among the eucalypts: this one with a fabulously gnarly trunk.
There are about 360 species of evergreen flowering plants in the grevillea genus – most with unusual-looking, bird-attracting flowers.
Named for botanist Sir Joseph Banks (1743- 1820 ), banksia is another genus of plants unique to Australia, with around 170 species.
Into the Woods
We walked back through the woods full of birdsong, to return to our car.
Now, as we head into the holiday season, I’m reminded of the sublime red and green waratahs, and I think how lucky I am to have access to such magnificent wild places.
Here’s wishing you and all your family a wonderful Christmas – or a Happy Whatever-you Might-be-Celebrating this festive season – and a Happy New Year.