At 1,564 m above sea level, Point Lookout is one of the highest places in NSW. From the Platypus Valley Lookout, you can glimpse the ocean on the horizon behind the bands of blue-tinged mountains and valleys. If you look carefully, you can work out where the Bellinger River is, and to the southwest, the cleared plain of the Macleay River is clearly visible. There are several walks in the area, and this week, I walked from Point Lookout along parts of the Lyrebird Track to Wright’s Lookout, which sits on top of a rocky plateau. (It’s actually a laminated trachyte dyke!)
The 360o view is jaw-droppingly beautiful. No photo or video will ever do it justice. The patchwork of various hues of green is interspersed by grey rocky outcrops, sheer cliffs and basalt columns. Birds twitter in the background while insects buzz around you. The warm sun is mellowed by a pleasant breeze, and the aroma of mint wafts up from the tee-tree shrubs. All this adds up to a peaceful and complete sensory experience.
Ancient temperate rainforest
Along the way, you’ll walk through Antarctic Beech temperate rainforest interrupted by sections of open eucalypt woodland and scrubby tee-tree. Among the larger plants, you can see various ferns, giant mosses, some fungi and little wildflowers. There are plenty of birds for the eagle-eyed and not many leeches! I encountered none, even though we had morning tea and lunch next to little waterfalls.
The whole area has a fascinating geological history for those of you interested in that sort of stuff, and it sits on the remnants of the exploded caldera of the long-gone Ebor volcano.
How to get to Point Lookout
Point Lookout is part of the New England National Park. The turn-off is about 70 km east of Armidale along the Waterfall Way (B78). There is an 11 km section of dirt road to the car park. There are toilets, BBQs and picnic areas here, but there are no facilities along the track itself. The walk is on a well-made, well-signposted track. Unfortunately, some of the Lyrebird track is closed due to rock falls. Therefore to get to Wright’s Lookout, you have to do a there-and-back walk rather than a loop. There are several sections with steep steps.
With all the meandering on top of the plateau, my step count for the day was just over 17,000 steps, and I covered around 11 km. On the road in/out, you’ll pass a trout hatchery where you can stop and buy smoked trout. There are also cabins that you can rent out it you’re keen for more than a day walk. The Chalet and the Residence as well as the Thungutti campground are managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Armidale Bushwalking Club
I walked with members of the Armidale Bushwalking Club. We were not in a hurry and stopped and looked at the view from various points, had morning tea sitting on rocks next to the quintessential burbling brook and lunch at another. We spent a long time looking at a weird rabbit-eared organism growing on the pathway. This was later identified as being an example of Cordyceps gunnii. All in all, a very pleasant day!
This post is the third in my Snapshots of Armidale series. You can read about another walk to Mt Duval and the historic Saumerez House by following the links.
2 thoughts on “Snapshots of Armidale – Point Lookout ”
How are you?
I ran into Stephen Orchard (at the shops in West Pymble) and he recommended I check out your blog. I am loving your recent posts of the hikes in Armidale: given I currently have a hamstring injury, I can enjoy them vicariously through you.
Btw, If you are planning any O/S trips, I can recommend a couple of women’s travel groups on FB.
Anyway, keep up the great posts. If you are ever up in Sydney, let me know if you feel like a coffee catch up.
Hi Margo! So great to hear from you!!! I’m glad you’re enjoying reading my posts and sorry to hear you can only join in vicariously at this point. I’m not planning any O/S trips in the short term. But I’f be happy to hear your recommendations. Yes, let’s catch up!