Tag: katoomba

Malaita Point

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ABOUT: A varied lookout off cliff drive with a view across the Jamision Valley with the Three Sisters on the left, Mount Solitary in centre and Narrow Neck to the right, one of the few lookouts with this triptych. A few spots to explore. A nice rocky area with a bench at the top with nice foreground tree views, further down a railed area with good valley views, but my favourite is to skirt around the rail on the left out to a more exposed rock with clearer views. Great for all day views but comes alive at sunset more than sunrise as the three cliff features light up red.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A very high top part to these falls which means some distortion with ultra wide angle lenses. You could consider doing a vertical panorama stitch, meaning take landscape format images going up in stages and stitching them later, and adjusting the keystone effect. But a 16mm portrait format will capture them from head to toe, so to speak. It can get splashy here so a cloth before every shot worthwhile and of course a tripod for smoothe 1/5s to 3s shutters.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Simply follow Cliff Drive after you pass the Scenic World main entrance – after 100m you will pass Eagle Hawk lookout and on the next bend park on the big clearing on the right and walk through the gap in the barrier on the left out to the viewpoint – only 60m or so. The marker below takes you to Eagle Hawk LO first.


Veras Grotto Falls ~ Grade 3

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ABOUT: During heavy rain these falls come alive and are similar in shape to the falls on the same system, namely Witches Leap, about 100m above them. A single thin drop hits a bell like bottom section and is visually interesting. The access for shots is limited off a small platform, but you can walk to the left and down a short steep slope to get rid of unwanted foliage in the way.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A very high top part to these falls which means some distortion with ultra wide angle lenses. You could consider doing a vertical panorama stitch, meaning take landscape format images going up in stages and stitching them later, and adjusting the keystone effect. But a 16mm portrait format will capture them from head to toe, so to speak. It can get splashy here so a cloth before every shot worthwhile and of course a tripod for smoothe 1/5s to 3s shutters.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: This is at the bottom end of the Furber Steps route from Katoomba Kiosk or Scenic World access points. Easiest is to park at free Scenic World car park then walk down the wooden boardway to the left of the main entrance, then turn right after 100m or so following the Furber Steps sign. These falls are after the step main stone Furber Steps section as a short 50m side walk. You can walk back up about 150m or down another 15 minutes and cheat and get the Cableway back up at Scenic World ($16 ish and last one at 4.50pm).


Mid Katoomba Falls – Grade 3

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ABOUT: The mighty (in wet weather) Katoomba Falls is around 800ft or 250m high in three sections. There are various vantage points on the western escarpment under Scenic World but the best position is up close and personal with the top and middle sections. It is hard to get a good perspective correct shot of both sections from here as it is almost a 120 degree vertical sweep and you are only 10 meters from the main flow. The middle falls themselves are worth close ups using say a 50mm from the fence, but getting both will require a 14mm stitch. Go in wet weather when the mist and flow is good, summer midday not so good. There is also a classic panorama here sweeping to the view off to the right with Jamison Valley and Mount Solitary completing an amazing ledge vista. Also consider sunset when the last rays from the right make the area glow orange. Finally if you want reflections in the pool below the smaller section you can climb over the fence easily BUT stick to the left hand side as the drop on the right will mean certain death.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: You will be walking for about 35 minutes down and then back up so bring what you need only. Umbrella, sturdy tall tripod, and a mix of ultra wide and standard 50mm. Consider polarisers in dry weather and bring a lens cleaner as when windy the falls can dump a little on you.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: The quickest way down (approx 150m descent) is towards the Furber Steps. You can park free in Scenic World and walk down……


A Landscape Photographers Guide to Australia’s Blue Mountains

Introduction

Inspired by other guides for photographers in well known areas of the world (eg: Colby Brown’s Yosemite) I thought I would put together a page / few screens that (a) demystifies the Blue Mountains for visiting photographers and (b) acts as a nice upfront, illustrated walkthrough to my more detailed location-by-location guide on this site. This ‘hotspot’ photo location list also details best gear to bring and best times etc:). The general tourist or hiking sites tend to not consider the ‘photogenic’ aspects of the mountains, even though many come for that, so this site is also a response to that.

For now though a broad sweep introduction to photographing Australia’s Blue Mountains – All text and images © Gary P Hayes 2017.

Print or Tablet friendly downloadable PDF version 1.8MB A Landscape Photographers Guide to Visiting the Blue Mountains, Australia

 


Narrowneck LO 0 – Grade 2

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ABOUT: Probably the main and easiest lookout from Narrowneck down into the Jamison Valley and it provides a great view of Landslide cliff (aka Dogface) on the left with a distant Mt Solitary ahead and a sweeping Narrowneck ridge around from the right. Although with good clouds it is a slightly SE facing ridge and so sunrise is a good possible it is much better at sunset when Dogface glows red in the fading light, and with clouds around offers great potential.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A short walk so big tripod is possible, and ultra wides are best to get a view similar to the above shot, this is 17mm. Real potential for vertical panoramas using a 35 or 50mm and definitely worth bringing graduate neutral densities as the valley floor spends a lot of time in shadow during the golden hours.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Drive down Glenraphael Road for about 1 minute only, and park on the left next to the crash barrier, which is the 2nd small shoulder on the side of the road. The trail begins about in the middle of the barrier, just to the right of an upright, it can be easily seen. Hop over the barrier and walk downhill for about 5 mins, be careful of the edge at the end if going in darkness before sun up or after sundown. On the map below, Lookout 0 is not marked but it is more or less just below and opposite the marked Narrowneck lookout car loop.


Witches Leap Falls – Grade 2

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ABOUT: These falls are a world away from the road, only 15 minutes walk down then back up some steep steps – or a nice loop taking in other viewpoints & falls. There is water running some of the time here, but it does dry up in hot weeks or for a week or so without rain – wait for a day or two after some strong rain – or during even as it does appear quickly. The photographic appeal is the lush foliage, sandstone outcrop & light coming from the open valley below & above, fantastic on misty days.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: There is a nice platform right next to the falls and an ultra wide 14mm approx: or perspective lens to capture the very steep walls required. A vertical panorama also possible as the wall is almost a 150 degrees angle from bottom to top. Tripod as the light levels even midday are very low and to smoothe the water flow.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park next to Katoomba Falls kiosk opposite Katoomba Park. Walk straight ahead following the Furber Steps signs which take you downhill quickly and to the right. This will take you past the ‘Leap’ after about a 10-15 minute descent. The Leap has a clear plague next to it.


Boar’s Head LO 3 – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: Another less trodden view from these rocks, LO 3 has a fantastic framing foreground overlooking the Megalong Valley. This lookout is between Lookout 2 and Cahill’s on the map, and you have to walk past lookout 2 area first.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Tripod essential as the sun goes down directly opposite, so grads or bracket blends critical. A 16-35mm will give good coverage, but panorama stitching is tempting. A 100mm good for spotting Narrowneck or interesting shapes up and down the ridge.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at Cahill’s and walk north on Cliff Drive about 30m, look for the trail hidden (you need to look into the bush) in the hedge on the right. It’s a rather overgrown 1-2 walk out to the rocky edges. Lookout 3 is around further to the right, it requires you to push through a couple of small trees.


Prince Henry Cliff Walk – Sunrise Grade 1

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ABOUT: This walk is a very popular just below the cliff top from West Leura to West Katoomba. It takes in many of the tourist central spots but at dawn or after sunset it is a great photographers playground. Most of the lookouts are large & look South into the Jamison with a variety of foreground & cliff orientations, plus there are some lovely gullys which on misty days become very atmospheric. Panoramas are spectacular from many of the locations.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: If you reccy the lookouts you can park only minutes away from most of them, so bring a full kit, unless walking the route. Tripods are critical for early hours and a good range of ultra to moderate wide lenses and graduate neutral density as it is a big sky in front of you from here.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: See detailed map below and scout the lookouts, but photographic friendly ones are Spooners, Lady Darleys and Lady Carrington. Car parking all the way along just above the trail.


Lady Darley’s LO – Grade 2

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ABOUT: Although positioned on the often busy-at-weekends Prince Henry Cliff Walk, Lady Darleys LO offers the most wide open vista from this cliff edge walk. Although the Three Sisters are not totally visible the wide panorama & great foreground rocky outcrop makes up for it. Go during mist, storms or Golden hours.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: You can bring your whole kit as you will be minutes from your car at the top of stairs directly up to Panorama Drive (approx 5 mins down, 10 mins back). Panoramas are great from the higher platform looking down onto the foreground rocks so stitched 35mm lens vertical images work well and worth bring medium 85mm approx telephotos for framing interesting distant cloudscapes against the distant hills.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: See detailed map below and either park on Panorama Drive and walk down the 5 minute steps, marked in the middle of the pavement railing, or walk to the spot (about 15 mins) from either Cliff Drive View (easy access) or Echo Point center.


Panorama Drive LO – Grade 0

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ABOUT: For the ultimate in lazy, antithesis of landscape photography try this view from Panorama Drive, just around the corner from Echo Point. You can literally take this from your car window if you park at the right spot. Seriously though on very bad weather days it offers some comfort if you are looking for panoramic lightning storm or heavy winter mist type shots.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: You can bring your whole kit as you will be seconds from your car or shelter. But consider a stitched panorama using a normal lens and/or zoom into the distant ruined castle and background hills using a 100-400mm range. Tripod position on the pavement so bring one.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park on Panorama Drive which has meters between 9-5pm so consider outside these hours for unlimited lazy location photography!


Juliet’s Balcony LO – Sunrise Grade 3

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ABOUT: This is the next lookout below Vanimans on the trail that goes from Scenic World down the Furber steps and offers amazing mid-cliff views of Katoomba Falls on the left to the sisters and a slightly obscured Mount Solitary. It’s attraction to me is the trees and foliage in the foreground that can be used to frame a perfect shot at sunrise. The sun often rises just above the distant sisters and in the mist the sun rays can be extraordinary.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A good tripod for sunrise, grad filters to match the valley to the sky (at least 4-5 stops as the valley is in complete shadow) and as wide a lens as you have. A 100mm is good for vertical shots of the falls or the sisters also.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: As for Vanimans, park in the scenic world car park and go up to the entrance. Follow the wooden walkway off to the left until a sign directs you down towards the Furber steps. Walk past Vanimans, keep going down for about 10 more minutes until Juliet’s Balcony is signposted – it is easy to miss it.


Landslide LO – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: Landslide Lookout itself does not give a great view of the vertical cliff face but on a small easy trail the left of the railed lookout there are some great natural viewpoints back to Narrow Neck,  around to the Three Sisters and Tableland and Mount Solitary in the distance – which are fantastic at sunset mists and sunrise. The railed small lookout is only 5 mins from the road but you can spend an hour or so on the outcrops off to the left if you are fit and careful.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A good selection of lenses on the ridges to the left of the lookout and tripod for dynamic light of course. Ultra wide shots on some of the gullies provides great foreground options but also a medium telephoto for valley shots is useful.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Landslide is a marked lookout on Cliff Drive with parking on the opposite side of the road. Walk down to the railed spot and then go through the gap on the left past the tree and walk out to the natural viewpoints, maximum you can go is 120 meters but lots of spots in between


Lady Carrington LO – Sunrise Grade 2

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ABOUT: This lookout is surround on both sides by trees but does offer a unique view of Mount Solitary with the ‘sisters’ ridge on the right and tableland stretching out on the left. It is great early mornings with mist when Mount Solitary rises in the distance so worth going if you see mist from easier vantage points.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A simple wide 24 or 35mm would do to capture the scene and light contrasts will necessitate a tripod of course.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: This lookout is one of the first on the Prince Henry Walk which you can access from Echo Park – walk towards the sisters bridge area and it is a signposted walk up some steps on the left before you get to the steep steps down onto the sisters. About 10mins to the trail and another 5 to this lookout.


Spooners LO – Grade 1

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ABOUT: This is a rarely visited lower lookout to the sisters just off to the left of the tourist platforms in Echo Park and which offers some alternate compositions. Panoramas can be framed as in the image link, or just below a fan of eucalyptus trees can be captured with the sisters using a wide lens. A much lower horizon also enhances the composition.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Ultra wide or panorama lenses are great here, but a moderate telephoto will give you endless options of the sisters themselves or looking back to tiny people on the lower echo platform. Tripod only necessary in dynamic light.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Follow the paved trail to the left of echo park which goes down to the sisters and Golden Stairway and after about 2 mins you will see a trail that doubles back to the right. Follow this for 2 minutes.


Narrow Neck Plateau LO 1 – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: A majestic series of lookouts on the western side of Narrow Neck plateau that are ideal for a variety of amazing sunset shots. A steep view down into the more ‘farmed’ Megalong Valley and Kanimbla in the distance with Narrow Neck stretching to your left and Boars Head rocks area framing the right side. You can walk up to the right and along this unfenced ridge for even closer views of the Cliff Drive rock faces, but two or three lower lookouts at the bend in the fire track after the gate are fantastic for sunsets in themselves.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A good tripod and moderate wide plus some good telephotos for spotting distant mountains or interesting rock shapes on the right side – ideal is around 18mm for a good scene coverage.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park in the first obvious car park on the right as you come down Glenraphael Drive onto Narrow Neck – this is the one with a steel gate just past it on flat ground. Walk through the gate and downhill for about 3-4 minutes and two lookouts are visible through a slight tree canopy straight ahead before the trail bends sharp left.

Glen Raphael View, Blue Mountains


Cliff View – Grade 1

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ABOUT: This is probably both the easiest to get to lookout and also one of the most expansive. The paved, wheelchair friendly, trail is only 5 mins long and takes you to a view that takes in Scenic World area on your right (Katoomba Falls just out of sight and tropical valley) and the wide open Jamison ahead and left. Clear views of Mt Solitary and Ruined Castle plus narrowneck bending around from the right. Go early or late to avoid crowds.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A ultra wide 14-17mm range is great to get the whole scene or panorama stitching works great too. For misty mornings or sunrises off to your left, bring a tripod.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park in the Katoomba Cascades car park, just around the corner from Katoomba Kiosk area and follow the signs.


Echo Point – Sunrise Grade 1

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ABOUT: Echo Park / Point is the main tourist centre of the Blue Mountains and as such one has to be aware of the crowds at certain times and the fact that it has been photographed millions of times. That said very early or late and you can have the place to yourself when stunning sunrises, sunsets and changeable weather provides endless photo opps. The three sisters view or the wider Jamison panorama are always worth the early or late effort.

 

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: The sisters view can be done on a 35mm lens but bring a full range of lenses & try something different. There are lower viewpoints plus ones just behind the platforms that offer some interesting foreground. Tripods of course for golden hours.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Lots of paid parking near the park, or free just down the road a little towards Leura and a 5 minute walk back.


Devils Hole – Grade 4

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ABOUT: Devil’s Hole is a steep and rocky walk down through a gap in the rock face to the right of narrowneck. It provides great slot shots of trees and 100m high cliffs each side as you descend. The first part is through open bush but quickly turns into climbing down over some large rocks and fallen trees, so go only if you are fit & sturdy on your feet. Best views are underneath the trapped rock in the middle of the canyon like area.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Travel light as this is a quite difficult walk down & back out. A single ultra wide lens is best and a small travel tripod. The light in the canyon-like slot is very low and bright streaming light coming in so bracket shots on the tripod.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: This is actually signposted with the official Blue Mountains brown signs, from Cliff Drive near to the google marker below.


Narrow Neck Plateau LO 3 – Sunrise Grade 2

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ABOUT: This again is an un-fenced open cliff edge that looks directly into the Jamison with steep drops along its 30 meter or so length. I found this lookout back in 2006 on a weekend trip to the mountains and use it when too much mist covers the early part of Glen Raphael track. Fantastic on misty morning and some really interesting rocky foreground for sunrises directly opposite & a few eucalyptus trees too, but otherwise quite open. A good view of landslide with Katoomba in the background too from the right side, at the end of the ridge as it bends.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A solid tripod and if you are getting to the spot before sunrise, descent shoes & warm accessories. A 14mm-20mm gives good overall coverage of the valleys but medium telephotos are great for isolating Mount Solitary off on the right.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: A really easy spot, follow Glenraphael until the locked gate and park. Use the custom map below for specific location, but walk for about 5 mins mins on the easy fire track downhill. Just after it levels out look on the left for a couple of unmarked rocky steps and a small trail that takes you out to the ridge, which is only a 1 minute walk.

 


Vaniman’s LO – Grade 2

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ABOUT: Vanimans Lookout is another easy to get to fenced lookout with a fantastic view over ‘Scenic World’ – Katoomba Falls on the left, three sisters in the middle and the Jamison and Mount Solitary over to the right. Great in the early morning but throughout the day if cloudy and sunset lights the whole scene red from the right. A small lookout but on the Furber steps route to the valley floor so few people stop here long.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A 17mm can cover the whole scene but consider medium telephotos for great smooth shots of the falls when flowing well or a lower view of Three Sisters covered in mist.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Best parking free at Scenic World, walk up to the main entrance and follow the wooden trail off to the left. After about 5 mins take the sharp right trail (Round Walk) marked to the Furber Steps and down into the valley. The lookout is the first one about 50 steps down.


Katoomba Cascades – Grade 1

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ABOUT: Katoomba Cascades are more vertical & large than the name implies and are a delightful and photogenic quick to get to option if you need to get your waterfall fix. You can get various angles from the bottom and even risk some midway positions if not flooding. The flow of these cascades feeds the main Katoomba Falls so it can be heavy after a few hours of downpour as run off from the town streets higher up.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Definitely bring a good wide angle for side on shots but also close up to the smaller drops on the right side. Some nice standard lens verticals can be had from the front too, but try to get low with some of the small pools and rocks in the foreground.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Very easy to get to essentially ‘in’ Katoomba. Park in the car park at the start of the Prince Henry Cliff as in map and the falls are signposted about a 50 step down to an easy walkway and even a seat or two.


Nellies Glen – Grade 4

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ABOUT: Nellies Glen is a deep, wonderful vertical descent at the start of the 40km Six Foot Track. Walking down and back out can be done in an intensive 2 hours & good shots of small waterfalls, vertical steps & ferns & occasional ridges overhanging. Fitness must be high for the ascent.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A good wide angle and macro are best to capture the range on offer, but given it can be quite dark even midday a tripod to capture the deep red & green colours.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at the main Six Foot Trail carpark and follow the signs. A short diversion in or out is to Norths Lookout (through the metal gate just before the track turns to the right and descends rapidly).

http://garyphayes.photography/photos/nellies-glen-perspective-blue-mountains-c2176/


Therabulat LO – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: Therabulat lookout (or more correctly Dhurabulla, indigenous name) is a small fenced ledge just to the south of North’s Lookout but provides a much clearer view down Nellie’s Glen with fantastic cliffs each side to frame the shot down toward the Megalong Valley.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A good tripod as the glen below will mostly be in shade at sunset and the sky a brilliant red/orange (if you are lucky). A 24mm can capture a good view but 16mm or 14mm is better, and consider vertical pan stitches too. A grad for the sky or do 2 or more shot blends is critical here.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at the small T-junction at the end of Stuarts Rd (without blocking the road). Walk to the left and you will see a sandy track going off into the bush on the right after 10m. Follow this for approx 10 minutes and as the trail starts to go downhill and at a bend to the right with a fallen tree, you will see an obvious trail going off to the left (the only one). Follow this for about 3 mins to the lookout.

 


Honeymoon Bridge Three Sisters – Sunrise Grade 2

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ABOUT: Rather than just take images of the Three Sisters and Jamison Valley from the top lookouts at Echo Point, walk down to the sisters themselves and take some amazing shots looking east and west with cliffs each side. At sunrise and sunset the place is ablaze with colour and atmosphere.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A fisheye lens is a great speciality one to open up the narrow gaps between the sisters, especially on the metal bridge between them. A 14-16mm range is good too. Getting the sky and darker cliffs balanced requires a tripod for blended exposures. Also a medium telephoto to shoot the echo point platform is fun.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Just follow the concrete trail which is left of the echo point complexes. The last bit is on a v.steep steel staircase, so beware with lots of kit. Don’t be tempted to do the Giant Staircase, just yet!

 


Cahills Lookout – Grade 1

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ABOUT: A very accessible concrete lookout with the Megalong ahead and Narrowneck Ridge to the left. It has 3 levels and the lower left one is best for images with Narrowneck and the lower right one for images of the cliffs overlooking the valley. Great at sunset but good on overcast days too and even sunrises if good broken cloud about.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Ultra wide lenses or wide and be prepared to stitch images for big panoramas. A long lens to spot interesting features or distant sunrise effects. Graduated ND filters very important

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: A sizeable car park and a 3-4 minute walk down the path. Avoid the centre lookout for photos as it has no obvious foreground. See custom map below for relative location.

 


Narrow Neck Plateau LO 4 – Sunrise Grade 3

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ABOUT: A ledge that has stunning views across the U shaped Cedar Valley, Lake Burragorang in the distance, a back view of Mount Solitary & weathered rocks make fabulous foregrounds. The sun comes up from the left, creates wonderful rays across the mist & trees in the valley and skim lights up the edges of the Mount Solitary ridges – castle head and ruined castle can also be seen from the reverse angle.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A solid tripod and if you are getting to the spot before sunrise, descent shoes & warm accessories. A 14mm-20mm gives good overall coverage of the valleys but some nice ridge layers can be had with a 35mm-50mm. Very long 200mm+ forLake Burragorang.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Follow Glenraphael Dr (the Tarros Ladder) until the locked gate. Use the custom map below for specific location, but walk for about 20-25 mins on the easy fire track. Just before the track goes very steeply up to the right you will see two stakes and a trail going off to the left. Follow this for about 5 mins up a small hill, keep at this level on the right hand trail through a bushy 2 minute walk out to the obvious rocky platform.

 


Narrow Neck Plateau LO 1a – Sunrise Grade 2

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ABOUT: A fantastic view into Jamison Valley with red glowing Landslide cliffs on the left and the tops of the cliffs around the valley framing a great shot, especially if clouds around. A tight platform for 1 or 2 people only.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A ultra wide and tripod a must, but a 20mm can work well.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: See the custom map below. Park on the first large rocky open area on right at Narrow Neck LO 1 then continue walking for about 50 meters until you see a gap in the bush at the dip in the road and short down slope (hold onto a tree for the big step) on the left, through the trees out to an un-fenced small outcrop.

Glen Raphael View, Blue Mountains


Narrow Neck Plateau LO 2 – Sunrise Grade 2

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ABOUT: A wonderful natural viewpoint on a rocky outcrop and especially good with mist & broken cloud for sunrise. It is possible to spend 3 hrs on the ledge if good broken cloud cover is around after dawn. Good for photo group of 3-4 people potentially.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A strong tripod for long shots & potentially some movement in the clouds, but to contain the dynamic range with bracketed shots. 14mm-24mm for wides & 85mm for nice cliff shots.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: See the custom map below for exact location. Park on the first large rocky open area on the left (about 5 mins after leaving Cliff Drive) & walk down through the obvious gap on the right, down a short rocky slope to an open platform (beware of the drop offs near the end of the 2 minute mini trail).

Jamieson Valley Dawn, Blue Mountains cComp


EagleHawk LO – Sunrise Grade 1

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ABOUT: Probably the easiest lookout in the mountains but a nice alternate view of the Three Sisters, Mount Solitary and partial view of Katoomba Falls on far left and Narrow Neck on far right – good at both at sunset (red glow coming from the right) and sunrise (appears over the sisters ridge) and ideal with mist in the valleys.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: A 35mm lens provides good coverage, but a 14mm get the top of the falls, sisters and solitary. Also an 85mm will give a good tight perspective on the sisters. Foreground limited to just top of the canopy though.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: There is room for two cars on cliff drive near the lookout, and it is literally a 20 sec walk to the fenced lookout – even a bench there for your camera bag 🙂

 


Boars Head LO 2 – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: To the south of Narrow Neck and very close to Cahill’s Lookout are several hidden, but easy access walks out to the rocks around Boar’s Head Rock, with a fantastic foreground overlooking the Megalong Valley. This one is on the south side of Boars Head rock (looks like a horses or dragons head from this side), but better downward views into the valley and great with mist around.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Tripod essential as the sun goes down directly opposite, so grads or bracket blends critical. A 16-35mm will give good coverage, but panorama stitching is tempting. A 100mm good for spotting Narrowneck on the left or interesting shapes up and down the ridge.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at Cahill’s and walk north on Cliff Drive about 30m, look for the trail hidden (you need to look beyond the hedge edging) in the hedge on the right. It’s an easy 3 minute walk out to the rocky edge – be careful though on cliff edges. See lookout map below.

Megalong Valley, Blue Mountains, c2770


Minnehaha Falls – Grade 3

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ABOUT: An iconic 45 foot approx: waterfall which drops in two stages into a lovely green pool. Best after rain and good shots can be had right at the side of the drop pool only. Few shots on the trail on the way down. Not to be confused with the more famous Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis USA (The Song of Hiawatha by Longfellow) this was christened by a victorian settler in Katoomba, Australia in 1889 who was a fan of Longfellow – before that, the area was a sacred site and important for Aboriginal women. Another US reference is the fact that the source of this and other falls is called Yosemite Creek, in fact the region here is called Yosemite (I wonder if that same settler named that as well?). Any how, an lovely 30 minute walk down to the pool.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: For blurry soft water a tripod and a 16mm ish lens is ideal for full coverage and consider a vertical panorama using something like a 35mm.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at the Minnehaha car park and follow the designated trail for about 25-35 mins. The last section drops steeply on steel stairs and makes a sharp left turn into the gully, but make sure you go all the way to the pool. 2.7km return.

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Boars Head LO 1 – Sunset Grade 2

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ABOUT: To the south of Narrowneck and very close to Cahill’s Lookout are several hidden, but easy access walks out to the rocks around Boar’s Head Rock – a fantastic variety of rocky foregrounds overlooking the Megalong Valley. Lookout 1 is the best view of the ‘boar’s head’ shape looking over Megalong & Narrowneck Ridge. Many half jokingly take the sun or mist floating around or directly behind the ‘head’ for interesting but cliched effect.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Tripod essential as the sun goes down directly opposite these cliffs, so grads or bracket blends critical. A 16-35mm will give good coverage, but panorama stitching is tempting using a 35mm say. A 100mm good for spotting Narrowneck or interesting shapes up and down the ridge.

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park at Cahill’s and walk north on Cliff Drive about 100m, look for an obvious trail in the hedge on the right. It’s an easy 2 minutes walk out to the rocky edge – be careful though, steep drop-offs. See lookout location map below.

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North’s LO – Sunset Grade 3

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ABOUT: North’s Lookout is a less touristy location for sunsets but is spectacular with a broken cloudy sky. It provides a stunning view into the Megalong Valley with cliff walls on each side. The foreground is a deep gully called Nellie’s Glen – famous as being the steep descent start of the 40+km Six Foot Track from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves. It is a small 15m platform with steel railing as it is perched on the rocky cliff edge.

PHOTO EQUIPMENT TO BRING: Tripod, grad filters & moderate wide lenses, plus some telephotos for distant mountain views

GETTING TO THE SPOT/S: Park in the large car park just off Nellies Glen Road, see map link. Then follow the Six Foot Track signs for approx. 10-15 mins down a moderately steep incline. At the point you see the track veer sharp right to Nellies Glen steps, you will see a steel gate/barrier ahead. Go through this barrier & walk another 5 minutes to the lookout.