Blue Mountains Foothills

The Westward exit out of Emerald City used to be far more picturesque than the utilitarian highway that has since taken it’s place. Following the old route of the Great Western Highway, lies a seemingly unimpressive reserve that winds its way up into the hills of the Blue Mountains.

This reserve was the former route of the Great Western Highway before the formal completion of the M4 motorway in 1993. Today a seemingly unappealing roadway hides a pre-20th century engineering feat known as the the Knapsack Viaduct.

Built from local sandstone this landmark towers about 37 meters/121 feet above the bottom of the aptly named Knapsack Gully. There are a number of bush walking tracks in the area to various lookouts. Note due to the geography of the area there are a lot of stairs so comfortable shoes and reasonable stamina are recommended.

I trekked to route up to Elizabeth lookout. On paper it seems like a short run but it’s ascent is an unexpected surprise for the ill prepared walker like yours truly. The track rises about 100 meters over about 500 meters so be prepared for a lot of steps. There are a few narrow points where only one person can pass at a time.However, the views from Elizabeth lookout are worth it as you can see right across the Penrith Valley and possibly as far as Parramatta in the right weather conditions.

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