A short walk along Narrow Neck Plateau in the Blue Mountains
The first weekend of June marked about 5 months since bushfire devastated some parts of the Blue Mountains . Two areas near Katoomba devastated by the fires are the Ruined Castle in the Jamison Valley and parts of the Narrow Neck Plateau. With the regrowth well on its way here, we set out on a discovery visit to see how our flora regenerates and recovers after a bushfire.
We began our visit by watching the sun set behind the Megalong Valley from a view point at Narrow Neck. The next day we returned for an exploratory walk. We found that the the bushfire affected areas were beautiful and astounding. The Banksia, grass trees, and eucalyptus are recovering well. Wildflowers were blooming and the New South Wales state flower, the Waratah, was sprouting. Look for these to flower in a few months.
After all the harrowing photos coming out of bushfire-affected areas, it’s amazing how the Australian bush comes back. It is remarkably resilient to fire.
There are many species of trees and shrubs that have evolved with fire and, so, have developed protections or even make use of fire towards regenerating. Some species of trees require the heat from fire for their seeds to germinate.
Positive signs of new bushfire recovery
Narrow Neck Plateau
Narrow Neck Plateau stretches from Katoomba south-westwards for about 25 kms. It divides the Jamison Valley to the east from the Megalong Valley to the west. There are good views of both valleys from the plateau, particularly in the narrower sections. It maintains the same altitude as the other Tableland areas of the upper Blue Mountains – about 1000 metres.
A road along this narrow plateau stretches for 12 kilometres, there is a gate about 2.5 kilometres along the road, limiting the rest of the road to walkers and cyclists.
The fire on Narrow Neck Plateau was the one which came closest to Katoomba, the largest town in the Blue Mountains. Residents with homes overlooking the valleys had a terrifying view of this blaze at its peak. On this trip, we haven’t seen the damage to other areas. Fire ravaged Wollemi National Park, to the northwest, we’d like to visit that area on another weekend.
Panoramic Views over the Jamison Valley and the Ruined Castle.
Castle Head is one of the best spots for views of the Ruined Castle and Mt Solitary in a straight line and Lake Burragorang in the distance. We’ll put together another blog post about this soon.
The Narrow Neck Plateau offers some of the best sunset views in the Blue Mountains. Not many lookouts face west but the one at Narrow Neck does. Here you have views across the Megalong Valley and beyond. Visitors to the Blue Mountains can enjoy quintessential sunset views from Echo Point overlooking the Three Sisters. Here the setting sun reflects from rock formations in vivid colours. Professional and amateur photographer have produced many stunning images at this time of day. There’s usually a chance compare notes with other photographers who often congregate at this popular lookout in the golden hour.
Blue Mountains Bushfire recovery, we plan to re-visit and update you
We’ll be revisiting various areas in the fire impacted nationals parks and wilderness areas around Sydney and posting more blog posts. We’re especially interested in seeing how various plants – such as the NSW state flower, the Waratah – rebound. As we move towards spring, we should see plenty of regrowth – August, September, and October should offer inspiring bush walks and bicycle rides.
Sydney Adventure Tours offers private charter tours to the Blue Mountains and this walk could be featured as part of your day. Tours are also available in the City of Sydney, the South Coast, the Northern Beaches, and the Hunter Valley. Bespoke tours can be arranged to meet your needs.