Hiking The South Lawson Waterfall Circuit, Blue Mountains

Practical guide and my own experience hiking the South Lawson Waterfall Circuit in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia.

One of the best day trips from Sydney is the Blue Mountains!

This rugged and breathtaking national park is full of mountains, valleys, caves, rivers, waterfalls, and so much more.

If you’re looking for a fun day walk to do in the Blue Mountains, definitely consider the South Lawson Waterfall Circuit.

This relaxing walk can be done in just a couple of hours, and it is packed with majestic waterfalls.

The South Lawson Waterfall Circuit is also the perfect hike for a rainy day. You don’t need to worry about clouds obstructing your views, and increased rainfall makes the waterfalls even more powerful!

So if you want a fun day trip from Sydney when it’s raining, the South Lawson Waterfall Circuit is perfect.

Read next: 5 Amazing Day Hikes In The Blue Mountains

South Lawson Waterfall Circuit, Blue Mountains

In this travel guide, I’ll answer all of your questions about this lovely forest walk. I’ll cover where it is, how long it is, how hard it is, how to get there, and more.

I also just want to note that the South Lawson Waterfall Circuit is free! Entrance to Blue Mountains National Park is free, parking is free, all of it.

As a budget traveler, I’m always looking for free things to do. So you’ll only need to pay for your transport and any snacks for the day.

Read on to discover more about one of my favorite Blue Mountains hikes!

Where Is The South Lawson Waterfall Circuit?

The South Lawson Waterfall Circuit is located in the town of Lawson in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia.

It takes about 1.5 hours to drive to Lawson from the Sydney CBD. So you could easily do this walk as a day trip!

If you don’t have a car, or you don’t want to rent a car in the city, you can take the train.

The Blue Mountains Line leaves from Central Station every day. You can ride the train all the way to Lawson Station, and from the station it’s a quick, 15 minute walk to the start of the trail.

You could also stay overnight in the Blue Mountains so you have an extra day to explore the area!

There are some amazing Blue Mountains hostels on Hostelworld that have hundreds of great reviews and are just as nice as guesthouses! You can stay in the Blue Mountains for just $20 – $40 AUD per night!

Where Does The South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Begin?

The circuit begins on Honour Avenue.

You can put “South Lawson Waterfall Circular Walking Track, 74 Honour Ave, Lawson NSW 2783” into Google Maps and it will direct you to the exact location.

There are two points on the road where you can begin the circuit.

The easiest option is parking at North Honour Avenue car park, as this is the first location you’ll pass while driving down the street.

It’s a small car park, but you can park anywhere along the road for free.

If that car park is full, continue along to the South Honour Avenue car park and begin the trail from there.

There are clear signs at the side of the road that mark the beginning of the trail.

Adelina Falls, South lawson waterfall circuit
Adelina Falls
federal falls
Federal Falls

Distance and Difficulty

  • Distance: 2.5km (Closer to 4km if you follow all of the side trails)
  • Trail Type: Circuit
  • Terrain: Mostly dirt track that is clearly marked and relatively well-maintained
  • Elevation Gain: 160 meters
  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate, some steep sections but mostly flat
  • Duration: 1.5 hours on average

South Lawson Waterfall Circuit In The Rain

The South Lawson Waterfall Circuit is the perfect walk for a rainy day. I think this trail is actually better in the rain than it is during dry weather!

All of the waterfalls are relatively small, so increased rainfall makes them more impressive.

The rainforest also comes alive in the rain. Expect to see vibrant green ferns, fragrant Eucalyptus forests, and butterflies, wildflowers, and more.

Because the walking trail is relatively easy, it isn’t dangerous in the rain. You may encounter more mud and maybe some slippery sections, so just wear sturdy, waterproof footwear.

Also beware of leeches! These suckers are more active in soggy weather, so just check yourself for leeches during and after the hike.

Find more waterfalls in the area here: 23 Stunning Waterfalls Near Sydney

Junction Falls, South Lawson Waterfall Circuit
Junction Falls

What Is The South Lawson Waterfall Circuit Like?

Lawson is much quieter than the touristy towns of Katoomba, Leura, or Blackheath. So this trail is often uncrowded or even empty!

We hiked the trail on a rainy weekend in November and we had almost every single waterfall to ourselves. It’s a magical place where you can surround yourself with the purity of nature.

During this short and enjoyable walk, you’ll pass 4 main waterfalls:

  • Adelina Falls
  • Junction Falls
  • Federal Falls
  • Cataract Falls

Each one is stunning, though I personally thought Junction Falls was the coolest!

There are also some smaller, unnamed cascades that you may stumble upon during your adventure.

waterfalls blue mountains
An unnamed waterfall that you’ll pass after Junction Falls
south lawson waterfall circuit blue mountains sydney
A small cascade that you’ll pass before Cataract Falls

Glow Worms at Cataract Falls

Fun fact about Cataract Falls: it’s home to a glow worm colony! Many tourists may not know about this, so it’s sort of like a local secret.

The Blue Mountains are home to a few glow worm colonies where you can see these special creatures light up blue in the darkness.

Cataract Falls is home to one of the more accessible glow work colonies.

Because it’s only a short walk from the South Honour Avenue car park, you don’t have to take on a massive nighttime trek to see them.

I personally haven’t been to Cataract Falls at night yet to see the glow worms. But you best believe it’s on my bucket list!

Cataract Falls

Thanks for reading my guide to the South Lawson Waterfall Circuit!

This is more of a walk than a hike, but it’s an incredible way to spend a few hours out in nature.

Check the NSW National Parks website for more information and local alerts and updates.

For more tips about traveling and exploring around Sydney, check out these articles:

1 Week In Sydney: Itinerary For The Outdoorsy Traveler

Best Things To Do In The Royal National Park, Sydney

Figure 8 Pools – 8 Best Tips For Visiting

NSW South Coast Road Trip Guide

12 Fun Things To Do In Port Stephens

25 Best Things To Do In Sydney: Free, Cheap, and Expensive

15 Best Things To Do In Wollongong


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2 thoughts on “Hiking The South Lawson Waterfall Circuit, Blue Mountains

  1. Hey there! Great post about South Lawson Waterfall Circuit. I love reading about people’s personal experiences with hiking and the Blue Mountains near Sydney sounds like an absolutely beautiful place to visit. I love that you mentioned the circuit being free, as a budget traveler myself, I always appreciate finding free things to do. I’ll definitely have to check out the South Lawson Waterfall Circuit next time I’m in Sydney, and I’m definitely excited to check out the glow worms at Cataract Falls. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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