National Pass - Blue Mountains - Australia

Restoring the National Pass

After 95 years service, the National Pass track was tired and fraying badly in places.

So the National Parks and Wildlife Service closed it in 2002 to start a $1.5 million restoration project.

NPWS helicopter

Helicopters deposited many tons of sandstone blocks and timber sleeper steps along the trail as a carefully chosen team set to work.

NPWS helicopter

Of major concern was the Grand Stairway, Australia's tallest outdoor staircase.
Its 173 stone-cut steps zig-zag up the face of a 90 metre cliff.

Heritage stonemasons perched on the cliff face to set sandstone 'inserts' into steps eroded over the years and 'dished' by walkers' feet.

View a trailer for the restoration documentary which can be bought online from Lysis Films.

After several years of painstaking reconstruction, visitors were astounded at the result – a much safer and stronger walking trail than the pioneer track builders could ever have achieved.

Heritage Conservation Awards

In 2008 the project won major heritage conservation awards from UNESCO and the National Trust of Australia.

On these firm foundations, the National Pass entered its second century of service for the enjoyment of discerning walkers from Australia and abroad.

Unesco Heritage Award

Building the National Pass

The National Pass hiking track was built with picks, shovels, crowbars and dynamite between 1906 and 1907. It involved cutting a zig-zag staircase into a cliff face and became a very popular walking trail.   Learn more

Restoring the Trail

After 95 years service, the track had to be closed in 2002. Bushfires, rain storms and landslides played havoc with fencing and wooden bridges. The $1.5 million restoration project won a National Trust award.   Learn more

Bushwalking Tips

Walking this historic trail will be more enjoyable if you prepare well. Bring a camera and binoculars if you can. Make sure you have adequate clothing should the weather change. Carry water and snacks. Don't stray off the trail.