One of the many joys of living in a national park is that there is always something to see. The sheer scope of the Blue Mountains National Park – 247,000 hectares – means there is a multitude of locations, features and views that are waiting to be explored. The time of year and even the time of day have an impact too; an outlook that is impressive during the day may look different at dusk. Looking out on an overcast day might bring attention to features overlooked on one of the bright, blue sky days drenched in sunshine.
The longer I spend in the area and the more I read about places and people, the more some spots mean to me. There is delight in coming across something that I haven’t seen before, as well as re-experiencing places that I’ve been to but with a different viewpoint.
Yesterday I stumbled across this lookout off the Narrow Neck Road. The lookout is simply laid out with a pathway leading down to staggered viewing platforms over the Megalong Valley. As you walk down towards the viewing platforms, there are sandstone cliffs on the right as the view opens up towards the valley.
This lookout had been closed for a couple of years following a bushfire, and there are still many signs of the ferocity of the fire in the scorched landscape along the western side of the lookout. There are a clutch of picnic tables which were empty on the late spring afternoon, survivors of the fire. The lookout has been reopened recently following extensive work and upgrading by the Blue Mountains City Council.
The first platform looks out directly at the Boar’s Head Rock, with glimpses of the Jamison Valley behind it. There are a number of different walks that can be taken from this point and looking down into the valley, the Six Foot Track is visible. This track goes from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves, taking three days to walk.
The lookout is one of several along the Blue Mountains Drive, and Cliff Drive in particular. It dates back to the 1930s when the road construction improved access to popular viewing spots. It is named after one of the Premiers of New South Wales, JJ Cahill, who opened the lookout in 1959.
Coming across places such as this reminds me of the magnitude of the wilderness around me, a strange mix of feeling insignificant yet grounded as well. Have you experienced this sensation?
[Photo: looking towards Boar’s Head, Cahill Lookout, Katoomba]