Summary: The only known indigenous occupation site in Blackheath, Walls Cave is both a sacred site and an impressively large shelter. The short walk to the cave passes a picturesque slot canyon.

The track to Walls Cave is relatively short and family-friendly, and passes some interesting scenery on the way. The area was off-limits for a long time as it’s in the water catchment area of Greave’s Creek Dam, and then the track was closed by both flooding and bushfire. The cave had a long Aboriginal heritage, before being “re-discovered” by Ignatius Wall who owned the land here around 1892.

The upgraded and refurbished trail starts from Evans Lookout Road in Blackheath, with the firetrail reaching a gate and NPWS track signage after a hundred metres.

From the gate the track starts to descend, through tall forest.

After 500m, a junction is reached, with the (signposted) Walls Cave track branching off to the right (continuing along the track takes you to the top of a small hill, which has a view over Lake Greaves). Walls Cave soon comes into view, on the opposite side of the valley.

The track now descends more steeply, and the vegetation becomes more rainforest-like towards the bottom of the gully.

Greaves Creek flows out of a narrow and photogenic slot canyon at the bottom of the gully, with the track crossing the creek via a timber bridge.

You can explore the canyon, but you’ll need to jump into the water and wade up the creek.

From the timber bridge, the track follows the creek along a set of stepping stones – this is the most picturesque section of the bushwalk.

Walls Cave comes into view at the end of the stepping stones. It’s more of a long shelter than a cave, which is underneath towering, semi-circular cliffs that were carved out by Greaves Creek. The creek originally flowed through the cave on its outer bend, until a landslide diverted the creek through what is now the slot canyon, leaving the cave floor as a dry terrace.

Walls Cave was a sacred women’s place for the Dharug people (there was a men’s site on the ridge) – it’s the only known indigenous occupation site in Blackheath. Excavations by Catholic priest and archaeologist Eugene Stockton in the early 1970s revealed that the terrace has been occupied, since the creek changed course, for at least the last 4.000 years – and most likely a lot longer.

The top 12cm of the dig revealed signs of European use, and then below a thin sterile strip, lay two levels of typically Bondaian material, the lower one down to 30cm dated from a buried fireplace 3360 ± 100 BP. Further down still the dig went through 50cm of fine white sand laid down under water before the landslip, and then through another 40cm of coarse brown sand with a higher clay content, in which we found a few chert flakes and another buried hearth providing a date of 12 000 ± 350 BP.

This early occupation had to take place in a very dry period when the waterflow was so reduced (or even nonexistent) that people could camp on its bed.

Eugene Stockton in Blue Mountains Dreaming (1993)
IMG 1212 LR Past a slot canyon to the impressive Walls Cave

A fenced platform marks the end of the track; being a sacred indigenous site visitors are asked to stay within this lookout / fenced area.

Getting to Walls Cave

The signposted Walls Cave Track starts at the end of Walls Cave Road, where there is parking area. It’s about 2km along Evans Lookout Road from the Great Western Highway, or 4.1km from Blackheath village and railway station.

More information

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hiking the World, and receive notifications of new posts by email. (A hike is added every 1-2 weeks, on average.)

Join 1,188 other subscribers

Featured Guides

A list of hiking guidebooks I've researched, purchased and used. Each is rated based on it's overall value.


Leave a Reply