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Shipley Plateau
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On the south western side of Blackheath, past the tiny hamlet of Shipley, are two lesser known but nevertheless equally spectacular lookouts – Hargraves Lookout and Mount Blackheath Lookout. To get to Shipley from Blackheath, cross the railway line at the traffic lights and head towards Megalong Valley where you will turn into Shipley Road. You will drive through lovely mountain landscapes with beautiful apple orchards, gum trees and lush foilage on the way to the Shipley Plateau, passing by the Shipley Gallery showcasing local artists (open weekends 10am- 4pm) on the left just before arriving at a fork...

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Wind Eroded Cave
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From the same carpark as for the Anvil Rock, a sign to the left marks the way for a 400-metre, 5-minute walk to the Wind Eroded Cave. Wind Eroded Cave ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 4 Depending on the season, it is possible to see wild boronia, flannel flowers, Erica, mountain devil, banksia, grevillea, scribbly gums and other plant along the trail. The cave is more correctly a giant overhang, with extraordinary honeycomb formations in matching honey-coloured sedimentary rocks. As its name suggests, the formation was created by wind erosion, caused by particles in the air effectively...

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Anvil Rock
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Anvil Rock (GPS: 33.595487°S 150.339451°E) is an often overlooked attraction of the Blue Mountains. To get there, follow the mostly-gravel Hat Hill road from Blackheath. Any 2WD vehicle can traverse the road. On arriving at a fork, take the left turnoff to Anvil Rock. The right turnoff leads to Perrys Lookdown. The road continues for a further 500 metres to a small carpark. To the right, a sign marks the start of a short 0.5 km, 5 minutes moderate walk to the Anvil Rock overlooking the Grose Valley. Along this Anvil Rock Trail, you will come across a rustic...

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Perrys Lookdown
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Perrys Lookdown is located in Blackheath at the end of a 8 km dirt road Anvil Ridge beyond Hat Hill Road (GPS: 33.600139°S 150.346972°E). Perrys Lookdown ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 7 It is presumably named after Captain William Perry, the Deputy Surveyor General who worked under the leadership of Sir Thomas Mitchell. It offers grand views from the top of the escarpment into the Grose Valley and of the imposing sandstone cliffs of Mount Banks. A 5.5 hours return bushwalk to the majestic Blue Gum Forest brings experienced hikers in a steep 656 metres descent into...

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Evans Lookout
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Evans Lookout, located at the top of the escarpment at the end of Evans Lookout Road (GPS 33.647019°S 150.326796°E), provides an alternative vantage point for views of the Grose Valley. It is named after George Evans who discovered the lookout and the entry to the Grose Valley in 1882. There is a memorial erected to him at the site.   View of Grose Valley from Evans Lookout ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 10   The area consists of Triassic sandstones and underlying Permian sedimentary rocks. A number of basalt capped peaks dominate the area, notably Mount Banks...

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Govetts Leap
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From Blackheath town centre, a short drive to the east takes visitors to Govetts Leap (GPS 33.627926°S 150.311518°E), a lookout with spectacular views of the Grose Valley and nearby waterfalls. Govetts Leap was named after William Romaine Govett, one of the first surveyors of the upper Blue Mountains, who discovered this spot in June 1831. Govetts Leap Lookout ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 12   A horse and rider monument in the park beside the Great Western Highway at Blackheath village tells the story about Govetts Leap. There is a folklore legend that tells of an escaped...

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Blackheath
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Blackheath is located near the highest point (1065 metres) of the Blue Mountains, between Katoomba and Mount Victoria, about 120 km west northwest of Sydney CBD. With its lovely misty days when the clouds sit low over the mountains, Blackheath is reminiscent of a beautiful Scottish village.   History   The region was thought to be a summer corroboree meeting place for several Indigenous peoples of the Darug, Gundungurra and Wiradjuri nations. Following European settlement of Australia, the area was named Hounslow. After crossing the Blue Mountains in 1815 and returning from Bathurst, Governor Lachlan Macquarie renamed the settlement...

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Lakes Entrance
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Lakes Entrance is a tourist resort and fishing town in East Gippsland, 320 km east of Melbourne. It was originally known by Europeans as Cunninghame after a prominent squatting family in the area, with a post office of the same name opening on 5 Feb 1870. It was renamed Lakes Entrance on 1 Jan 1915. As its name suggests, Lakes Entrance is the gateway that allows ocean-going vessels from Bass Strait and the Tasman Sea access to the Gippsland Lakes, the largest  navigable inland waterway (400 km2 in area) in Australia. Lake Entrance Lookout   The original access point...

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Lake Tyers
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About 10 km east of Lakes Entrance are the lake, township and 5300-hectare forest park of Lake Tyers, all named after Charles Tyers, the first commissioner for crown lands in Victoria in 1843. Lake Tyers could refer to the lake itself, the township known as Lake Tyers Beach or an area known as Bung Yarnda by the Aboriginal Gunai people of East Gippsland.   According to Gunai legend, Narkabungdha, the sea, was tired from playing with fish, rushing over rocks and rolling backwards and forwards on the sand. He searched the coast for somewhere to rest. At last he...

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Nyerimilang Homestead
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Nyerimilang Homestead is a 178-ha property built in 1892 on a cliff top above the Gippsland Lakes, 10 km northwest of Lakes Entrance. Semi-formal gardens and lawns surround the homestead, which contain a collection of exotic and native species. Majestic Gippsland Blue Gums and Coast Grey Box on the cliff tops contrast with marshland in the valley of Maringa Creek. Nyerimilang attracts many species of birds including honeyeaters, black swans, pelicans and birds of prey.   The area was occupied for thousands of years exclusively by the Gunai or Kurnai people and known to them as “Nyerimilang” or the...

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Cape Conran
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Cape Conran Coastal Park is a coastal reserve located near Marlo in East Gippsland, 420 km east of Melbourne. It extends from west of Cape Conran and all along the coast to the neighbouring fishing village of Bemm River. The 11,700 hectare area was declared a coastal park under the National Parks Act in 1997. Salmon Rocks Lookout   Much of the area is covered by heathland and banksia woodlands which attracts nectar-feeding birds. Dolphins and whales (depending on the time of year) may be spotted off the coast. The abundant bird life includes White-bellied Sea Eagles and the...

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Marlo
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Marlo is a tranquil seaside resort and fishing town in East Gippsland at the mouth of the Snowy River before the river flows into the Southern Ocean. It is 15 km south of Orbost and 396 km east of Melbourne. To get to Marlo from Orbost, drive along Marlo Road which follows closely most of the Snowy River’s final journey through grazing land and pockets of rainforest to the open sea. Various picnic spots and river viewing areas can be found along this route. Snowy River   Just before entering Marlo, there is a sign to the Paddle Steamer...

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Cape Bridgewater
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I first heard of Cape Bridgewater from a Malaysian Chinese whom I met at Colac Botanic Garden last April. He was astonished by the beauty of the place, describing it as having a Martian landscape unlike any place on Earth. I was sold and decided that I must visit the place one day. Never did I expect this day to come so quickly. I was trying to book holiday accommodation for the Christmas to New Year period in Lakes Entrance, Mount Gambier, Warrnambool and Lake Hume, to no avail. Then I found a holiday house in Cape Bridgewater so...

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National Rhododendron Gardens
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The National Rhododendron Gardens are a spectacular cool climate botanical garden situated on a hilltop in the scenic Dandenong Ranges, along The Georgian Road, 500 metres from the Olinda township and about 40 km east of Melbourne.   The garden covers an area of 40 hectares and has a long linear shape. You can download a map of the garden here. At an altitude of 500 metres, the garden has a temperature about 5 degrees cooler than Melbourne and an annual rainfall of about 1200 mm, almost twice that of Melbourne. The soil is deep red, slightly acidic, volcanic...

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Serendip Sanctuary
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Serendip Sanctuary is a 227-hectare wildlife-protected area in Victoria near the You Yangs and the town of Lara, 22 km north of Geelong and 60 km southwest of Melbourne.   In 1856, the property of Lara, which included the area now occupied by Serendip, was sold by the Crown at auction. Since then, the property has been resold numerous times and used for everything from farming and sheep studs to a health resort for alcoholics (from 1907 to 1930). Lake Serendip   It was used as a research station for waterfowl and other native animals by the then Fisheries...

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Lake Hume
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I was seeking to spend my long weekend away from Melbourne during the last Easter and was fortunate to book a holiday house at Bellbridge besides Lake Hume only a month prior to check-in. I found Lake Hume to be the most scenic but yet only briefly-mentioned tourist attraction in the Albury-Wondonga region. This low profile may be due to the decade of drought making Lake Hume visually unappealing during periods of low water level. Due to time constraint, I have visited only primarily the Victorian portion of the lake. If I am to return there in the future,...

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Blue Lake, Mt Gambier
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I had originally planned a visit to just Nelson. But when I realized from the Nelson Information Centre that I had just missed a 3-hour Glenelg River Cruise and could only do a 1-hour track around Livingstone Island, I decided to visit Mount Gambier, which is just 35 minutes drive from Nelson, specifically to see its famous Blue Lake. Jens Hotel in Mount Gambier   Mount Gambier is the largest South Australian regional city, 450 km south of Adelaide and just 17 km from the Victorian border. It is renowned for its volcanic features and the Blue Lake, which...

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Tower Hill
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Tower Hill is an extinct volcano 275 km southwest of Melbourne, between Warrnambool and Port Fairy, on the Princes Highway (GPS coordinates S38.319084, E142.363028). A violent volcanic eruption 30,000 years ago created a funnel-shaped crater with a distinctive rim formed from deposition of layers of scoria, ash, limestone and clay fragments around it. Rim of volcano   Subsequent volcanic activity formed a series of small scoria cones within the main crater. These became islands in a lake when the crater filled up with water.   Tower Hill lies at the western end of a line of 30 similar volcanoes,...

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The Crags
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The Crags, located 12 km west of Port Fairy, features one of the most rugged, wild and scenic sections of the Victorian coast. From Port Fairy, drive west on Princes Highway and turn left into Crags Rd, which ends in a carpark (S38.37122 E142.11115), from which you walk about 2 minutes to the viewing platform.   An appreciation of why this area is named The Shipwreck Coast can be seen from the menacing rock formations jutting from the seabed as well as from the ferocious waves pounding the coast as seen in the following video.   120,000 year ago,...

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Cape Nelson
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Cape Nelson State Park is a 243-hectare state park, 12.3 km south of Portland’s city centre. Cape Nelson was named by British navigator Lieutenant James Grant on 5 Dec 1800 after the ship Lady Nelson he was sailing on along the Victorian coast. He also named most of the region’s coastal features, including Cape Bridgewater, Cape Grant, Lawrence Rock, Julia Percy Island and Portland Bay. The French renamed Cape Nelson as Cape Duquesne in 1802 but the name did not endure. The park features high rugged cliffs, a species of eucalyptus known as soap mallee which is found nowhere...

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