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Friday, 4 April 2014

CLIFF DRIVE LOOKOUTS, KATOOMBA NSW AUSTRALIA



Eagle Hawk Lookout
In September 1937 a section of Cliff Drive, Katoomba was declared open by the Hon Eric Spooner, Minister for Works and Local Government in NSW. Mr Spooner was involved in a number of other official openings around Katoomba around this time, so we can assume that he liked the place.
The Cliff Drive, constructed by the then Katoomba Municipal Council, opened up a number of lookouts in places which must have been reasonably difficult to get to before then.
Approaching from the Scenic World end, the first is Eagle Hawk Lookout, which offers one of the best views of the Three Sisters and the cliffs between Echo Point and Katoomba Falls. There is limited parking (only two or three car spaces, which might be all taken up by a tourist coach). The lookout is down a short flight of steps, but even from the top the view is quite remarkable.                                           
Orphan Rock from Malaita Point Lookout

Malaita Point Lookout follows soon after, also on the left. There is presently no sign, only a gap in the safety railing to indicate the beginning of the track. There is parking on the opposite side of the road; however as it is on fairly sharp bend drivers need to take special care when making the necessary U turns on what has become a busy road.
The island of Malaita is one of the Solomon Islands and gave its name to a well know steamship serving the Pacific islands in the first half of the 20th century. Malaita Point might have taken its name from the ship. Others have suggested that the name was given because of the presence of a group of Malaita islanders who were undergoing training with a mission society in premises nearby early in the century.
The view from the lookout is spectacular and includes a rare view of the back of Orphan Rock. The cliffs are popular with rock climbers and were the scene of a recent fatal accident. See this Sydney Morning Herald article for more information.
Landslide Lookout from Narrow Neck Lookout
Next comes Landslide Lookout, with parking on both sides of the road. The track to the lookout descends to a point looking towards the Narrow Neck. Standing there you will be quite unaware of the fact that you are standing on the brink of the great 1931 landslide, a fact which is brought home only when you look back from Narrow Neck Lookout.
The Cyclorama Point track is immediately opposite that to Landslide Lookout. When you read accounts of the views from this spot (eg this one from the Herald, 18th September 1937) you ascend the steps with great anticipation. Alas, the bush has grown to such an extent that the view is   
almost totally obscured today. The whole article makes good reading and may be read in Trove by clicking here.
Narrow Neck Lookout is several minutes further on. It has the best parking of all these lookouts and also a picnic table (not the shelter that used to be here). Tree growth is rapidly obscuring the otherwise fantastic view of the Narrow Neck. Don’t miss the view on the left of the cliff face remaining after the 1931 landslide.
Hilda’s Lookout (source of name unknown – perhaps she lived nearby) is relatively recent and is also suffering from obscuring vegetation.
My video of these places may be found here. My Blue Mountains You Tube playlist may be found here . I have three other playlists - on gem hunting/mining, Glen Innes and New Zealand. Please comment and subscribe.

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