Leader: Joe Van Der Velden
Blue Mountains NP: Blackheath to Hanging Rock & return
6 June 2019
An 80 leaders walk
Photos top: Steven Sim
Some members ventured closer to the Hanging Rock
Magnify the top of the hill you can see our members
Photos below: Robert Lowman
Joe Van der Velden, Lindsay Paget-Cooke, Carol Henderson, Robert Lowman, Verne Mantova, Julie Rea, Gary Sheekey, Steven Sim, Bill Donoghoe, Adrienne Kinna, Lynne Outhred, Christine Loh, Kumiko Suzuki, Jenny Donoghoe, Rogo Owens and Prospectives Leisha Hay, Helge Sangkuhl and Rebecca Slaven.
Blackheath Station - Rhododendron Gardens - Burramoko Trail - Baltzer Lookout Hanging Rock & return. Spectacular views of the Grose Valley and Hanging Rock from Baltzer Lookout from where we will walk down to Hanging Rock - a large spire of sandstone precariously hanging out from the cliff. Plenty of time to explore this area during our lunch break. Map: Mount Wilson
A group of 18 walkers met on the Blackheath railway station platform at 9.35 on a sunny winter’s morning. After everyone had signed on, the group moved to the park across the road to form a circle for the usual welcome, introductions and description of the walk.
We then proceeded through a few back streets and laneways to arrive at the Rhododendron Gardens. We walked through the gardens and paused at a viewing platform which overlooks the area surrounded by the pond, the water level being rather low due to the lack of rain. During Spring, when the plants are in flower, there would be a magnificent display of colour from this vantage point.
Continuing down to the level of the lake we observed that Jack Frost had visited overnight and left a thin film of ice on the water, the sun not having yet risen above the trees to melt the ice. On we ventured, winding our way through the back of the gardens and then emerging onto Ridgewell Road we turned right to make our way along Burramoko Ridge to Baltzer Lookout. For most of its length, Ridgewell Road is a fire trail with some undulations and minor twists and turns, so there was no traffic to watch out for apart from some mountain bike riders. Morning tea was had at the locked gate at the Blue Mountains National Park boundary. The day was warming up nicely, so some who hadn’t already stripped a layer of clothing did so.
Crossing over the park boundary, we continued to the end of the fire trail where there are signs in numerous languages warning of the dangers of the cliffs ahead with graphics of someone falling off the edge into the abyss. A short foot track from here took us over a small rise and then the magnificent views suddenly opened up in front of us.
We had arrived at Baltzer Lookout from where the sheer cliffs of the upper Grose Valley make one feel so insignificant... the sheer scale of the surrounding scenery is just incredible with Mount Banks a very prominent feature being so close on the other side of the valley.
Definitely a wonderful feast for the eyes while we had our lunch break here, while some of us also ventured to have a close up look at Hanging Rock, a huge overhanging block of sandstone over 100m high jutting out into the Grose Valley, which has become detached from the main cliff. It has featured in many calendars and climbing photos, and was also the site of the main climbing scene in "The Edge" movie.
The early afternoon temperature was warm enough that many of us had rolled up our sleeves, as there was not even a breeze to cool us, before we commenced the return leg back along Ridgewell Road, this time bypassing the Rhododendron gardens and staying on the road until reaching the highway where we turned left. Then a short walk into the centre of Blackheath. As there were 30 minutes until the return train at 3.08 pm was due, there was ample time for cups of coffee, etc as the warmth of the afternoon was rapidly dissipating.
Thank you all for the great day.