Deputy Mayor Romola Hollywood and the Walking Volunteers group at the Great West Walk Opening

Sydney’s spectacular Great West Walk extended by another 80 kms


19 Aug 2022

Western Sydney’s longest recreational walking trail, the Great West Walk, has been extended by another 80 kilometres, making it possible to walk from Parramatta in the city’s west to Katoomba in the fabled Blue Mountains, through some of Australia’s most spectacular scenery and historic locations.

The length of the Great West Walk now totals 140 kilometres. Mapped out by members of The Walking Volunteers community group, the stunning trail winds through some of Western Sydney’s most iconic urban landscapes, protected woodlands, public parklands, local river systems, Australia’s oldest architecture, and on into the Blue Mountains past dramatic escarpments, down undulating valleys, by rivers, waterfalls and cascades, historic buildings, manicured gardens, charming villages, and unequalled mountain vistas.

Members of The Walking Volunteers group will undertake an inaugural nine-day trek of the new 80-kilometre stretch of the Great West Walk from Katoomba to Emu Plains, finishing at the Yandhai Bridge crossing at the Nepean River, Penrith, at 3:00 pm Wednesday 24 August 2022.

The NSW Minister for Infrastructure, Minister for Cities, and Minister for Active Transport, The Hon. Rob Stokes MP, joined The Walking Volunteers on day four of their walk and officially launched the new Katoomba-Penrith section at 3pm today at the Woodford Academy (90-92 Great Western Highway, Woodford).

“Whether you walk 30 minutes or 30 kilometres along this incredible trail, projects like this offer immeasurable community benefits,” said Minister Stokes. “This is a great way for families across Greater Sydney to get out and be active, while leaving more money in hip-pockets”.

Blue Mountains City Mayor, Mark Greenhill OAM said: “We are ecstatic that the Great West Walk now traverses the breath-taking scenery of the Blue Mountains. “The 80km walk through the Blue Mountains is the perfect end to a journey that starts in Parramatta – although walkers may decide to start in the Blue Mountains and head down, rather than up the 1,000m elevation. “Either way, the walk will offer an exceptional walking experience,” said Mayor Greenhill.

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) President, Clr Barry Calvert, said:
“The 80-kilometre extension to the Great West Walk delivers new links in Sydney’s Green Grid, an open-space interconnecting network that helps keep Greater Western Sydney cool, encourages healthy lifestyles, enhances biodiversity and promotes ecological resilience.

“With ongoing support from both NSW Government and local stakeholders, the Great West Walk has emerged as a significant piece of regional ‘green infrastructure’, supporting local active transport trips, recreational opportunities, and improving quality of life in the region through urban heat reduction and biodiversity improvements – and leaving a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.

“WSROC commends landholders Blue Mountains City Council and NSW Parks and Wildlife Services who made possible this latest extension to Great West Walk, and other landholders along the entire 80-kilometres of this glorious route including Blacktown, Parramatta and Penrith City Councils, Parramatta Parkland Trust and Western Sydney Parkland Trust, whose cooperation and dedication to this project has created a fantastic community asset that will promote active lifestyles and provide us with plentiful opportunities to explore some of the most spectacular landscapes Greater Western Sydney has to offer. “I would especially like to thank The Walking Volunteers for their tireless work in mapping the route and providing ongoing support in bringing this project to life,” said Cr Calvert.

The Walking Volunteers secretary, Bill Avery said: “The inaugural Great West Walk from Katoomba to Penrith is the fulfilment of a dream the Walking Volunteers have had for many years to proof-walk and provide online maps for a walking route from Parramatta to Katoomba. 

“This walking route is part of a 1,500 kilometre network of walking routes around Greater Sydney that The Walking Volunteers have proof-walked and mapped over the last eighteen years. “Over 900,00 people have accessed these maps since 2019 when we made them available to freely download onto smartphones, tablets and PCs. 

“We hope that our maps will encourage more people to visit and re-visit the Blue Mountains including the lesser-known sections that have so many reminders of our Indigenous and colonial history.”

For details of the Great West Walk - including interactive maps of the walking trails – go to: greatwestwalk.com.au  

For Maps see https://walkingvolunteers.org.au/maps

Image: Deputy Mayor Romola Hollywood and the Walking Volunteers group 

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