Search This Blog

Sunday, 4 January 2015


If you’re travelling by train, then this is a pleasant round walk you can do from Wentworth Falls station. It’s on the opposite side of the line from the shops and actually closer than the better known walks on the Jamison Valley side. If travelling by car, then turn at the traffic lights, go past the shops and over the railway line. Take the first to the right (Railway Parade) and park in the commuter car park. My video on the walk (here) describes the route from the railway bridge.

Mountaineer Tourist Guide 1927

You can, of course,commence at the other end of the track, but it’s more difficult to describe how to get there. Incidentally, if it’s a clear day, you can see the high rise buildings in central Sydney from the bridge.

Railway Tourist Guide 1938
Just who gave the name “Water Nymph’s Dell” to this attractive rainforest gully and when, I don’t know. The earliest reference I’ve come across (using Trove) is from the Nepean Times (Penrith) for Saturday 25th August 1888, page 4. You can download the whole story here if you wish. The gist of it is that a committee of local residents is requesting that Water Nymph’s Dell be set apart as a reserve “as it is one of the most beautiful dells on the mountains”. This did indeed happen and the area remains a reserve to this day, though not part of the Blue Mountains National Park.
Track conditions vary from excellent to poor. There are some fine examples of nineteenth century stone steps, especially on the ascent up the other side of the valley. There is a solitary picnic
table under an overhang which I’m sure was there when I visited the place as a boy 60 years ago. The central feature of the dell is a small waterfall and associated pool, which, while not exactly suitable for swimming, looks like it ought to be able to entertain small children (under close supervision, of course).
We are lucky to have this place in as good condition as it is. Over the years it has suffered from neglect, threats from loggers, invasion by weeds and leaky sewer pipes. The Water Nymph's Dell Bushcare Group has done a fantastic job of rehabilitation and protection. You will find their website here. I’m sure they would be pleased to hear from you.

As I was gathering this information, I came across many accounts of tourist visits to the area, but none more interesting than one in the Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton) for 19th November 1901, page 2. 
How I would have loved to have known the mountains as they were then! Somehow, the growth of population and the management of the reserves by local and state government authorities (excellent though it is) can never be the same as it was in those far off days when everything was fresh and exciting and the local people through their Reserve Trusts were directly involved in developing, maintaining and promoting the sights in their immediate area. Read this article in the Examiner in full here. Yes, there are ferruginous stalactites there today, much like the ones at Fairy Falls, Lawson.
My Blue Mountains You Tube playlist may be found here. I have three other playlists - on gem hunting/mining, Glen Innes and New Zealand.

All New England and other Geology blogs and videos


  1. It's a place well worth a return visit, isn't it.

  2. It's a magnificent walk; so beautiful.
    Thanks for this write-up, John.