Central / The Mountains Discovery

Enjoy a very spectacular and varied high mountain drive by following this discovery trail. One of the best places to see mountain rainforests and a botanist’s delight! The excellent complete circuit across Bowens Creek can be completed by bicycle. Highlights include the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah, Grose Valley lookouts and walking tracks, forests, lookouts and gardens.

Drive summary

  • 48 km (one way)
  • 1 hr to drive (one way)
  • Highway, narrow sealed roads, gravel roads, 4WD trail
  • Start: Berambing
  • Finish: Bowens Creek
  • Alerts: Narrow, winding roads through Mount Wilson and Mount Irvine.

This discovery trail takes in part of the main Greater Blue Mountains Drive (and the Botanists Way) along Bells Line of Road, almost completing a full circuit. From Berambing go westward along Bells Line of Road to the first optional diversion — 2 km down Valley Ridges Road on the left to Waratah Picnic Area.

Back on the Bells Line, the road climbs up onto the basalt top of Mount Tomah and the entrance to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah on the left (free entry). This is a ‘must-do’ stop to enjoy gardens of mountain and cool-climate plants from across the world, informative displays, great views and perhaps a picnic or restaurant meal. Further along Bells Line of Road glimpses of the stupendous Grose Valley begin to appear on the left. This section of the trail presents you with three different places to stop and take in this extraordinary view from varying perpsectives. Make sure to take them all in!

Mount Banks is the first, 9.5 km from Mount Tomah. The unsealed road leads through heathland 1.3 km to the carpark, picnic area, viewpoint and walks. The turnoff to Walls Lookout and Pierces Pass is another 1.5 km on along the main route. Pierces Pass picnic area and trackhead is 1 km down the unsealed road, while the walk to Walls Lookout starts from the carpark just off the main road.

Leave Bells Line of Road about 2 km further west and follow the Mount Wilson Road to the rich basalt cap of Mount Wilson. Beautiful garden estates (sometimes open to the public), tree-lined avenues and lush temperate rainforest on the edge of the scratchy sandstone wilderness make for a novel experience — especially during spring and autumn when the gardens are at their most colourful.

Don’t miss the two expansive look-outs — Wynnes Rocks (off Queens Avenue) and Du Faurs Rocks (turn off at the bush fire shed). On the way towards the sister summit of Mount Irvine is the Cathedral of Ferns — a lovely picnic area with tall gums and rainforest walks.

The sealed, winding road to Mount Irvine passes through superb wet forests of various types. Just before Mount Irvine (a residential area with no public facilities). An additional 4WD option is to continue straight ahead down the Bowens Creek Track, to the trail’s end at a small picnic site on the creek. The road across the creek and up the other side back to Berambing is closed to motor vehicles but lucky cyclists can continue on.