For the photographer, walker, adventurer/road trips
The Hunter Valley is conjoined with the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area which is one of the largest and most intact tracts of protected bushland in Australia. This deeply incised sandstone tableland covers over 1 million hectares spread across 8 adjacent conservation reserves. The area extends from the west of Sydney and extends almost 250 kilometers from the edge of the Hunter Valley to the Southern Highlands. It includes the Wollemi and Yengo National Parks, close to the Hunter.
An enormous variety of plants occur here, but eucalypts dominate the landscape: the area is home to 96 species (13% of all eucalypt species). Rare and endangered plants such as the Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis) also occur here.
An iconic feature of the Lower Hunter Valley is the Brokenback Range. The majority of the Hunter Valley’s most prestigious vineyards are located on the southern valley and foothills of the Brokenback Range, part of the Great Dividing Range. Surprisingly little is written about the Brokenback and its indigenous history, or its later story, despite this massive feature’s contribution to our landscape. Much is state forest and is logged, surrounded by rural land use and mining.
Lookouts you can access:
· Mt View
· Mt Bimbadeen Lookout
· Mount Bright Lookout
Sadly most of the roads leading to these features are poor, little awaits up at the summits except the wonderful far reaching views, with no facilities or interpretative signage to assist a visitor.
3. Mt Tomalpin
Tomalpin is a large flat-topped hill south of Abermain, in the Werakata National Park. Mt Tomalpin,or ‘Tumblebee’ is a familiar landmark in the district and is at the center of the 3112 hectares of woodlands which make up the Tomalpin Block. To its west was a coal mine which is no longer operational. It provides a good view from the top, mostly to the north. The tracks to the top become quite steep, making this a moderately hard walking track.
This area is of national significance due to these woodlands being frequented by the Swift Parrot and the Regents Honey Eater – both endangered but protected birds. There is an on-going threat to this significant habitat by development.
4. Mt Yengo
Yengo has spectacular views, remote wilderness, and unique Aboriginal cultural heritage. There is an abundance of Aboriginal sacred sites and rock engravings to discover. Visit the amazing Finchley Lookout or walk the Big Yango loop trail.
5. Mt Royal
Mount Royal National Park is at the southern end of the Barrington Tops Wilderness accessed via Singleton [Carrowbrook] offering a range of walks e.g. Pieries Peak which overlooks the Hunter Valley. It is home to various threatened and vulnerable species of wildlife such as the Hastingsriver mouse, parma wallaby, rufous scrub bird and paradise riflebird, and the glossy black-cockatoo.