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Saturday, 3 August 2013

THE KATOOMBA CASCADES AND REID’S PLATEAU, BLUE MOUNTAINS NEW SOUTH WALES AUSTRALIA


This part of the Blue Mountains was Katoomba’s first great tourist attraction and this 1894 map shows that the network of paths was well established by then. You can download your own copy of the map here .

The area is well serviced by public transport; for those driving, the normal route is via Katoomba Street turning right into Katoomba Falls Road. The Wild Walks map and information is downloadable here . Our video on this area approaches the walk from the old Katoomba Falls Kiosk, opposite the entrance to the sporting fields and caravan park.
Snow scene, Katoomba Cascades June 1958



Despite the large number of visitors to the area, the bushland is coping well, except when vandals light fires, which has happened several times in the past few years. Stay on the tracks, don’t light fires and certainly don’t pick wildflowers! I know, the Sunshine Wattle is very tempting in winter but please leave it alone.

"Cave" shelter, Reid's Plateau. July 2007
Reid’s Plateau has several excellent lookouts and an opportunity to observe the Skyway which goes back and forth across the view all day. There is an interesting old shelter shed, probably dating from the 1930’s when this style of construction was popular. Some people refer to them as “Uglies”, which is a bit unfair as they blend into the bush background better than a modern straight-sided shed could ever do. You can also visit this area at night when it is floodlit, though you’ll need a torch to follow the track alongside Kedumba Creek which is outside the floodlit zone.
This page from the “Mountaineer” tourist guide book lists a number of named features which no longer appear on modern maps. Where are Strangman’s Vista, Stawell’s Reach and The Princess Walk? And who were Strangman, Stawell and Reid anyhow? To me, this is an important part of mountain lore and we ought to at least have on record historic information like this. Please comment if you know where to find the answer to these questions.
·       After reading Brian Fox’s excellent book “Upper Blue Mountains Geographical Encyclopaedia” (2001), I can now state that Stawell’s Reach was named for Sir William and Lady Stawell, who visited Katoomba in 1888, and Reid’s Plateau takes its name from George Houstoun Reid, Premier of NSW 1894-99 and Prime Minister of Australia 1904-5. No word yet about Strangman or the Princess Walk. (Edited 27th August 2013)

In these days of easy internet access, every Blue Mountains visitor can easily download copies of some of the old guide books and photograph collections and I’ll make how to do this the subject of another blog.

You will find my You Tube video on this walk here . My Blue Mountains You Tube playlist may be found here.   My other playlists are about gem hunting/mining, Glen Innes and New Zealand.
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The top of Katoomba Falls. January 1963

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