Grand Canyon of Australia


Capertee Valley, NSW

Capertee Valley  is know as the Grand Canyon of Australia and the towering scenery shows it all.

I came to know Capertee Valley when I was searching for a place somewhere in Lithgow to visit for a weekend getaway.  It caught my attention when my search in the web pop up with the word “Grand Canyon of Australia” and is just located north of Lithgow in New South Wales.  My curiosity as to how this place was named and actually look like resulted to a weekend trip to this place during April 2012

Aerial view reflects more how grand and significant the canyon is.

A man who resides in the area told us while we were looking for a direction that stunning views and rock formations of the Capertee Valley are  exposed in the Glen Davis.  With his articulate direction and convincing ideas we drove down and hit the narrow, dusty, unpaved Glen Davis Road of Glen Davis.

Capertee Valley at Glen Davis


The Capertee Valley at Glen Davis.

This is the Capertee Valley located in the Central Tablelands, a 30-minute drive north of Lithgow or a three hour drive west of Sydney.  The Capertee Valley is said to be longer than the Grand Canyon of USA by almost a kilometre and is the world’s second largest canyon.

Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki, a well-known Australian science communicator said that the Capertee Valley in Australia is wider than the American Grand Canyon but it’s not as spectacular, and because of Australia’s antiquity, not as deep.  Although the Grand Canyon is undoubtedly ‘grander’, Capertee Valley as a canyon is 1 km wider, and also longer than America’s Grand Canyon.  That is the interpretation of a great man.

Well, as pointed out by the man on our way, there were indeed significant views in Glen Davis, valley was awesome and invigorating with an atmosphere alluring visitors to visit the place and explore the hidden beauty.

Bordered by the Garden of Stone National Park, this valley is famous world wide amongst bird watchers, and also its beautiful rock structures- amongst which is its ‘pagodas’ are magnificent.

It is a stunning place which has its own monolith called  Pantoneys Crown, very visible when driving down to Capertee Valley.

Some visitors have commented well that the Capertee Valley was a stunning place, and of course, being west of the Blue Mountains has not generated the fame it should! Most Australians would prefer to travel to America to see the Grand Canyon, rather than drive 3 hours from Sydney to actually see the world’s largest canyon.


The Pantoneys Cown at Capertee Valley.

The valley first came to prominence in the 1930s, not for the landforms that rose from its floor but for the vast geological deposits that lay beneath. The Capertee Valley, it turned out, was far more than just escarpments, canyons and rugged, towering monoliths. It was also home to one of the planet’s largest reserves of high-grade oil shale.

The bitumen road that winds its way through the valley ends at the small town of Glen Davis, built in the 1930s to service an oil shale industry that ultimately failed to live up to its promise.

Glen Davis became a virtual ghost town in the 1960s but now is a kind of beacon that draws you up through the valley for no reason other than to see just how far you can go.


A close up view of the Pantoneys Crown.

Glen Davis Boutique Hotel

As we drove further down the road of Glen Davis, we were surprised to see that a hotel lies in the middle of the valley, beautiful hotel with the backdrop of a stunning mountain, complete with visible tennis court.

Well, this is the story of the hotel.  When built in 1939 the Glen Davis Boutique Hotel was described as the finest hotel west of the Blue Mountains.  The uniqueness of this one of a kind venue has seen it featured on the Great Outdoors and Sydney Weekender. The Hotel was also the accommodation selection for the promotional release campaign for Australia, the movie, and its national historic significance is illustrated in the 2011 publication `Great Australian Hotels`. The hotel can accommodate 40 guests and caters to weddings, functions, winery tours and conferences.

Facilities include 20 metre saltwater pool, tennis court, trampoline, private bar, pool table and separate function building. Children welcome.


A hotel at Glen Davis, Capertee Valley.

Capertee Valley, Glen Davis

The Glen Davis Boutique Hotel at Glen Davis.


The Capertee River at Glen Davis.

Wolgan Valley

After our trip to Capertee Valley, we drove back up and visited the Wolgan Valley.  We’re a bit lucky when we went to this place; weather was fine including the temperature.  Initially the road that leads to the valley is two lanes but as you go down it becomes narrower almost one lane and zigzagging, a precarious road with a cliff on the other side, so a bit of slow, careful driving is necessary, but once you reached the valley down, views are spectacular!

The valley is approximately 150 kilometres west of Sydney and just south of Glen Davis.  It includes sections of the Wollemi National Park and the Gardens of Stone National Park.


The narrow and zig zagging road leading down to the Wolgan Valley.


Wolgan Valley, NSW

This is a great place where photographers would surely enjoy shooting nature at its best.  We had a limited time left for the day when we reached the valley.  There are some interesting places to visit here, so if I had a chance, I would like to set foot once again into this picturesque canyon preferably for a longer period and probably will camp out at Glen Davis to further explore the place.

Sunset was about to fall soon that day and we hurriedly drove back up and headed for home.  By the way, commercial tourism came to the valley in 2009 in the form of the Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa.


Another view at Wolgan Valley, NSW



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