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Women's *Full Loop* - Gooch's Crater Overnight Hike // 21st - 22nd September 2024

Our Larger Trips


Quick Overview of Goochs Crater Hike - The Scenic Route to a Natural Crater 

The Goochs Crater embodies everything that makes hiking in the Blue Mountains special. On this out-and-back 13km trail, you’ll discover spectacular pagoda country, creek crossings, ancient cave formations, and a natural amphitheater.

Exploring Goochs Crater feels a bit wild and untamed. There are no signposts or set paths, with sections of off-track navigation, huge pagodas to climb, a secret billabong to explore, and a gorgeous campsite.

The trail makes a strong argument for a bit more scramble, some off-trail exploration, little river crossings, and a whole lot of type 2 fun exploring. Recommended for women with prior overnight hiking experience and bushwalking or a great level of fitness for the full loop circuit - We suggest you try out our 6ft hikes first here!



WWA acknowledges that this adventure takes place on the traditional Country of the Dharug, Gundungurra, Wanaruah, Wiradjuri, Darkinjung, and Tharawal Nations, who have inhabited and nurtured these lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians.

Quick facts

  • Distance: 17.5km - circuit loop
  • Duration: 2 days
  • Trail: Uneven, off-track/bush trails
  • Grade: Moderate to hard
  • Nearest towns: Bell, Mount Victoria, Blackheath 

Note: We maintain a very strict Leave No Trace policy. This encompasses all aspects of our adventure, including bathroom practices (no human waste is to be buried). Your guide will provide detailed instructions on proper bathroom procedures, emphasising the importance of carrying out all waste. Additionally, each participant will receive a toilet kit to facilitate this process, ensuring compliance with our commitment to environmental stewardship.


Gooches Crater is tucked away on the Newnes Plateau to the southeast of Lithgow, offering one of the most breathtaking settings for an overnight hike. We provide two options for this trip: an out-and-back route and a this trip as a (harder loop option). Please note that this Loop Goochs Trip is recommended for more advanced hikers due to its increased scramble and longer distance. If you are fit yet a first timer to overnight hiking, this will still be suitable for you. 

Despite its name, Goochs Crater is not a volcanic crater but a natural depression surrounded by majestic stone pagodas, creating a truly dramatic landscape. Encircled by towering pagodas, reaching heights of 20-30 meters, the crater spans approximately 105 meters in length and 60 meters in width.

* All prices are per person and listed in Australian Dollars (AUD). All prices shown are GST inclusive where applicable.


Ridge Views

Meet your guide at Bells Train Station and park your car in the designated area (On Chifley side). Your guide will be equipped with group shared gear, such as mess kits, tents, and packs (if hired), as well as toilet kits. After a warm group welcome and sorting out of gear, we embark on our journey, starting with a walk along Sandham Road. The initial stretch is relatively easy, following the fire trail before veering onto a single trail. Hiking along the ridge, despite the absence of a bushwalking track, we pass by a few impressive sandstone pagodas. Our first stop is atop the ridge for morning tea, where we soak in the scenery.

As we continue, the trail begins to fade, but fear not – our guide will provide support in trail finding and navigation, offering opportunities to learn new skills. Descending towards the Wollagambe River, the trail becomes less defined, leading us over the creek and up a rugged side-creek mountain ridge.

  • Note: The Wollagambe River is renowned for canyoning further downstream. Originating in Clarence, just a few kilometers away, it remains relatively calm here, typically knee-height, making for an easy crossing.

Without revealing too much, after navigating the ridge, we embark on a descent through a narrow gap within the cliffs, flanked by towering pinnacles. The landscape transforms dramatically at the bottom, with lush scrub and captivating scenery. We meander through ferns until we reach the cave – a perfect spot for exploration, photography, and soaking in the surroundings.

There are multiple routes to Goochs Crater from this point. Depending on the day, we may opt for a scramble up a short yet steep rock face between two pinnacles, taking our time to ensure safety. From there, it's a brief descent into Goochs Crater, where we'll enjoy a leisurely lunch on the soft green grass, explore the area in the afternoon, and unwind.

In the evening, indulge in a delicious dinner prepared by your guide, rounding off a day of adventure and discovery.

Begin your day by awakening to the tranquil beauty of the morning, greeted by the breathtaking sight of the sunrise casting its golden hues over the pagodas. Indulge in a leisurely breakfast accompanied by a steaming cup of tea or coffee, savoring the serene atmosphere from a high vantage point.

After breakfast, we'll pack up our tents and continue the loop circuit of this hike. The trail veers off track once again, meandering uphill for a short period over the plains before leading into a section of bush. From here, we'll wind our way down the north side of the towering pagodas (a great spot for our morning tea), before reuniting with the Wallangambe canyon to cross (approximately a 3-meter river in terms of its width) at knee height. This section involves a steep descent to the river and back up again where no trail exists, so your guide will assist you in navigating this portion safely and taking it slow.

Once on the high ridge line, we'll follow a single trail that leads us back to the fire trail where we began yesterday. It's a trail of varying terrain, with a mix of steps and a slow incline.

We anticipate arriving back at our cars between 2:30-3:30 pm in the afternoon, where we'll unpack and celebrate the incredible wilderness adventure we've just shared.


  • 2 person tents - You can bring your single lightweight tent if it is compact. View example 
  • Waterproof pack liners and covers 
  • One breakfast, one lunch, one dinner and all snacks + day two morning tea/brunch prior to finishing 
  • Tea and coffee
  • Eating utensils and mess kits 
  • Group camping equipment included: stove, pots, tarp, etc
  • Emergency communications and first aid kits
  • NSW National Park Eco Pass Licensing and permits
  • Camping and National Park fees 
  • Photos of your trip posted in a private Facebook Page. Click here to join!
  • Sleeping mat 
  • Hiking pack ($40 hire option available)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Travel to and from meeting location
  • Pre and post accommodation (see our suggestions in the itinerary section)
  • Insurance 
  • Hiking Poles Strongly recommended


Grading: Moderate

This trip is designed for women with prior bushwalking experience and a solid level of fitness. We recommend against it being your first hiking experience. Expect to hike with a backpack, carrying your own gear, a portion of group food, and water, totallingaround 12-14kg.

In order to enhance your navigation skills, your guide may occasionally take a back seat, allowing you to discern the trail's direction. Many sections of the trail are unmarked, and you'll traverse dense scrub and encounter steep, uneven terrain.

We anticipate hiking for approximately 4-5 hours per day, with frequent breaks, rests, and opportunities for morning tea and lunch. We advise that participants should already be engaged in regular exercise routines at home, involving activities that induce sweating and breathlessness, such as climbing stairs several times a week. This trip should pose no difficulty for those with consistent fitness practices.

One notable feature of the trip is a main rock scramble section, which is steep. Rock scrambling entails navigating steep and rocky terrain without the need for ropes or specialized gear, though the use of hands and feet for climbing or descending may be necessary. While your hands and arms won't bear your full weight, they may provide balance and additional support during ascents or descents. We recommend participants to have good mobility on uneven terrain and be comfortable using their hands for support when needed. Expect steady climbing and descending on these trails, as well as bushwalking through varied terrain.

If you're unsure, please contact us


Almost everyone! Welcome to the community. Most women turn up individually to our trips to connect with others and make friends with like-minded women who enjoy getting outdoors. 

We're happy to accommodate vegetarian diets and gluten free and can also assist with food intolerances, provided we are advised in advance. Please let us know about your dietary requirements at the time of booking or 2 weeks prior to your trip, so we can make arrangements accordingly. However, we regret to inform you that we're unable to cater for FODMAP diets on our overnight hikes. We apologise for any inconvenience and encourage you to get in touch with us for further assistance.

Please note that only gluten-free options are available for individuals with moderate allergies or celiac disease.

The group will collectively carry group meal items and, at times, cooking equipment, with our guides typically shouldering the responsibility for the latter. We'll assist you in organising your pack, alleviating concerns about accommodating additional space, as we'll thoroughly review the packing process during the pre-trip briefing.

We maintain a very strict Leave No Trace policy. This encompasses all aspects of our adventure, including bathroom practices (no human waste is to be buried). Your guide will provide detailed instructions on proper bathroom procedures, emphasising the importance of carrying out all waste. Additionally, each participant will receive a toilet kit to facilitate this process, ensuring compliance with our commitment to environmental stewardship.

Practically speaking, our bathroom protocol involves using a receptacle akin to a zip-lock bag for waste disposal. Once used, the bag is then placed into a paper bag and sealed within a small, dry bag for transport. Despite any initial concerns, this process is remarkably straightforward and odor-free. All paper products, tampons, and waste are deposited into the zip-lock bag and must be disposed of properly at the trip's conclusion. Embracing this practice not only preserves the pristine nature of our surroundings but also offers an opportunity to acquire a valuable new skill.

There are no pit toilets at the campground. 

If you're traveling up to the area the night prior, we recommend staying in Blackheath. It's the closest town to our meeting location, just a 20-minute drive away. In Blackheath, you'll find a variety of accommodation options, including guesthouses like Rowan Brae Historic Guesthouse and The Red Letterbox, as well as numerous Airbnb listings. Another option is to stay in the nearby town of Katoomba, which also offers a range of accommodation choices.


Kate McCoy 30/04/2024
    5 / 5 rating

A-MAZING!!! Seriously beautiful!

WWA Guide Moni took me on this hike as part of the planning for the new overnight hike and wow, just wow! We went off-trail (there wasn't really one to begin), crossed a cute stream, and explored the caves. Mon also took me to Billabong Creek Canyon and further explored the area. Loved the pagodas, her cooking, and excitement about this trip for WWA. Goochs campground is pretty epic just in itself! It really is like an amphitheater! Highly recommend this hike!

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